There’s so much other financial bad news lately that inflation has not been getting much attention, but I’m here to tell you it’s alive and well. Since I buy the same items for Scarlet Quince over and over (envelopes, labels, ink, etc.) I have the opportunity to notice prices going up. (In “real” life I tend not to notice until things reach a pain threshhold and then I don’t know for sure what the price used to be, though I’d swear that mushrooms used to cost a whole lot less than $5 a pound.) Since I’m trying my best not to increase Scarlet Quince prices (and I do feel like a lone voice in the wilderness) my shopping process is this: I go to the last place I bought, say, envelopes; notice that the price has gone up; spend a bunch of time looking for someone with the same thing or maybe an equivalent for less; buy the envelopes someplace else and still pay more. I never gave any thought, all the years I worked for companies big enough to have a purchasing department, how much work went into keeping that supply closet stocked. All these price increases mean that reordering something, which should take 5 minutes, usually takes several hours.
Fortunately the internet makes it much easier to comparison-shop, although one of my vendors, a big office-supply chain (I won’t name them but they’re one of the big 3) has an irritating way of having drastically different prices in their store than on their web site. Although their store is only 4 miles from here, I often end up ordering online from them, because their store prices can be 30% higher than their online prices. What sense does that make?? Maybe they figure that anyone who shows up at the store is desperate and will pay whatever they have to. They used to have free shipping on orders over $50 but now they add a fuel surcharge to all orders (they claim it is “some” orders but no matter what I’m getting, there it is). I wouldn’t mind if they changed the minimum for free shipping to $75 but this double-talk of still having free shipping and the fuel surcharge is somehow not a shipping charge drives me crazy. (Not that the shipping was ever free; it was and is built into their prices.) I shouldn’t complain because even WITH the fuel surcharge, my online orders cost less than if I picked them up at the store. But I hate that kind of weaseliness. (This is the same place that was out of my ink one time, suggested I drive to a much farther distant store to get it, and when I asked what good their in-stock ink guarantee was, I was told that it wasn’t a GUARANTEE guarantee, more like “if we’re out, we’ll be really apologetic”.) Weasels!
Last week I thought I had found a good deal on cover stock (for pattern covers). I felt a positive glow all weekend that not ALL prices were going up. Well, yesterday it arrived, and — yep, you guessed it, I ordered the wrong thing. Actually the price of floss labels has held steady since I started offering them, and while the shipping charges have fluctuated, they have been fluctuating down (only a little, but it’s something). So that is one tiny bright spot.