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Posted: 4/15/2008 4:08:29 PM EDT
1. I grow wheat for hay on the side.  Twine for making square bails went up triple the price of last year.  Think about that.

2. I was in the seed store yesterday, and someone asked for a square bail, and the clerk said it was ten dollars.  TEN DOLLARS a bail!  I asked him if that was the price as in did I hear you right and he said yes.  last year RETAIL for one bail was four dollars.  He was selling last year's hay since we are getting ready to have the first cutting for this year.

3. The seed store was struggling financially.  if they go under, I will have to order my seed mail order or travel to get them.

4.  I have a 2 acre field which I plan to leave in place, in case I need to hand cut, thresh, winnow, and eat it this fall.  If I'm wrong, then good -the doves will eat well.

5. my 70+ yo neighbor said this was the last year he could afford to raise hay.  it cost to much and no one had the money to buy from him. chew on that folks.

Today, I shared not only the above, but all my other observations with some folks who REMAINED CLUELESS.  My "pals" are all active duty soldiers, and for them, it won't hit home till it is way too late.  

So I'm just really frustrated that all these signs are staring me in the face, and i feel like the world is blind to what is going on.

Now if you are inclined to come into this thread and make reference to tin or foil or hats, DON'T.

The rest of you, I'd love to get your perspective.
Link Posted: 4/15/2008 4:12:34 PM EDT
4. I have a 2 acre field which I plan to leave in place, in case I need to hand cut, thresh, winnow, and eat it this fall. If I'm wrong, then good -the doves will eat well.


Do you have any seed reserved for planting in the following years, or is this heirloom wheat?
Link Posted: 4/15/2008 4:21:52 PM EDT
My thoughts-Prepare, adapt and overcome.  Rude awakening for most people = not too far away.  Good for you, either bread for dinner, or roast dove, not a bad choice to have to make.
Link Posted: 4/15/2008 4:24:41 PM EDT
Link Posted: 4/15/2008 4:28:12 PM EDT

Originally Posted By lumper:
4. I have a 2 acre field which I plan to leave in place, in case I need to hand cut, thresh, winnow, and eat it this fall. If I'm wrong, then good -the doves will eat well.


Do you have any seed reserved for planting in the following years, or is this heirloom wheat?


I don't save from year to year, I don't have the equipment to do that but I sure wish I did and I'm not above threshing by hand to plant with.
Link Posted: 4/15/2008 4:30:00 PM EDT

Originally Posted By 45stops-em-quick:
My thoughts-Prepare, adapt and overcome.  Rude awakening for most people = not too far away.  Good for you, either bread for dinner, or roast dove, not a bad choice to have to make.


I guess one of my underlying concerns is that instead of "rude awakening" it will be frogs in a pot who NEVER realize what happened and instead blame something else...hard times plus racial friction over this election could lead to horrible things.
Link Posted: 4/15/2008 4:31:19 PM EDT
I can believe it!

Stack your pickup as full as you can get it with steel fence posts and the cost will scare you compared to 3 yrs ago. If you fence 5 acres it may cost more than the land did when you bought it 25 yrs ago.

Can you even buy seed without having to get on a list or bid on it?

Red
Link Posted: 4/15/2008 5:14:33 PM EDT
At some point the Fed is going to start jacking up interest rates to 1970s levels. They will have no other choice if prices keep going up. I figure at that point we will have a pretty bad recession which will bring prices back in line with historical inflation rates. I figure it will be the 1970s all over again. We might even have an incompetent dem in office that makes Carter look good.

I'm preparing for this by having 2 years money on hand. One year in CDs, and a year in safe investments. I've also stored up 3 months of food and just added a bunch more. I would like to have a year's worth by the end of 2008.

I also live way below my net check, and could support my family of 5 if the wife and I both made minimum wage.

I feel for the people that are in debt up to their eyeballs. It might get rough for a while.
Link Posted: 4/15/2008 5:14:54 PM EDT

Originally Posted By FordGuy:


I guess one of my underlying concerns is that instead of "rude awakening" it will be frogs in a pot who NEVER realize what happened and instead blame something else...hard times plus racial friction over this election could lead to horrible things.


Now you have hit on the way I see it.   A "long slow boil" that most won't even see coming.  "Frogs in the pot"     The main stream media sure won't explain it to them.

Jerry.
Link Posted: 4/15/2008 5:28:33 PM EDT
Yup, my producers are backing off.  Fertilizer at, what, 500 dollars a ton, and not slowing down, hay is nuts, corn is off the chart, diesel is 4 bucks plus, most folks are so far in debt, there is no way they will pay it back with NO problems.  A week or two without a check, and there will be many who have to let thier 300K home go back.  

Interesting times.  I don't panic.  Just looking at it as a challenge.  Very interesting.

My kids will be learning some character.

Doc
Link Posted: 4/15/2008 5:29:06 PM EDT
The word is bale, not bail.
a bale of hay
bail you out of jail.
Just FYI

Around here, small square bales of grass hay have been 5+ dollars for years.  2 years ago, after it failed to rain in the spring, some places were getting 9+ dollars.  it's still 6 dollars a bale here and I doubt it goes down any, even with a good wet year with the diesel costs and fertilizer costs.

Fertilizer is double what it was 2 years ago.  Double!!!!.  The high phosphorus is almost 2.5X.  
chicken feed is $11.50/50lbs, it was under $10 last fall.

Hog food is $15/50lbs.  We're going to grow zuchinni and feed it to them all summer long.  The math still works on hogs even at $15/bag.  Of course, big farmers get tons of it for much less.  

Food prices aint' even started rising yet.  Next fall/winter is going to be much worse after the harvest.  
Link Posted: 4/15/2008 5:32:10 PM EDT
If the economy turned the corner right now and went on an absolute blasting run, the ripples that were set off by our current high fuel costs and inflation would still be felt for at least 24 months.  The bad thing is we are no where near a turnaround.
Link Posted: 4/15/2008 5:58:18 PM EDT
I set up past midnight talking with one of our Ag extension guys the other night.
Even he's nervous!

He expects meat prices to fall later this year as folks dump their hogs and cattle, flooding the market, when it no longer makes sense to buy feed, or feed grain/hay what you could otherwise sell for more than the livestock.

He's prepping hard now too.

 
Link Posted: 4/15/2008 6:38:25 PM EDT
So....big picture it for me.

Dollar is losing value = prices go up for everything (we being in a global economy and all), ergo, costs for everything will only go up at a faster rate, so buy what you can now?

Convert some dollars into foreign currencies, some into gold or silver (or copper pipes!), some into tools, fuel (oil, lubricants, kerosene, propane, butane, gasoline), cut and split wood, buy as much bulk staples (rice, flour, beans, etc) as we can now....

Renew or make friends with folks in Canada, EU, Mexico, etc. in case a sudden vacation abroad needs to be indefinitely extended -at least for the kids....

then ammo and start piling up rocks and other stuff around the home


Link Posted: 4/15/2008 6:45:02 PM EDT
I like to hear this from you guys who farm.

My local Safeway is selling a single, solitary cucumber for .79.
That's outrageous.
They have organic cukes priced at $1.79, each!
That's obcene.

Some dumb yuppie hipster might be paying that but I just did a double take at it.

I have 18 cukes coming up under lights. They're about 5" tall right now.
I think that .79 worth of seed is going to buy me 150 cucumbers.
Link Posted: 4/15/2008 6:45:49 PM EDT
all I can say is,

wow.
Link Posted: 4/15/2008 6:52:36 PM EDT
So because of farmers growing more corn for ethanol the price of all grains are going up?
Link Posted: 4/15/2008 7:03:55 PM EDT
Fordguy, I went to get my yearly seed and a couple sacks of cracked corn. The seed has doubled from last year and the cracked corn almost 3 times what it was a month ago. Square bales are around 6.50 but I was told it would go up again next week.
I didn't even ask about wheat, didn't want to ruin my day any more that necessary.
I sure am glad I have food enough for awhile.
Scares the hell out of me.
Link Posted: 4/15/2008 7:20:46 PM EDT
This morning during an interview on CNBC the AG. Secy. did not contest the fact that with increased feed costs farmers and ranchers are sending their animals to market as they can no longer afford to feed them. The prediction of $7 a pound hamburger within a year was not contested. Guess I'll be doubling my canned goods in storage.
Link Posted: 4/15/2008 7:24:34 PM EDT

Originally Posted By AirframeMech:
So because of farmers growing more corn for ethanol the price of all grains are going up?


Yes and no.  There's lots and lots of reasons, here's a brief summary.

Yes, more fields are being planted for ethanol, etc.  It's more profitable than other crops.

What's also going on is the American dollar is falling.  This makes our exports "cheap" to other countries.  


If they can get more money for say, wheat, outside the US, they sell it there, rather than here in the US.  

Also production costs are going up as noted above, fertilizer, fuel prices, etc.  That has a lot to do with it (Diesel prices especially, costs more to run the tractor, costs more to truck it where its going, etc.)

There's also a wheat fungus (stem Rust) going around affecting foreign growers.  Foreigners can't grow it, so they have to import it, which drives up the price some more.

Growing demand for grains in developing countries is contributing, etc.

Shitty weather last year...Hopefully its good this year.



So, no it's not just because of ethanol.
Link Posted: 4/15/2008 7:24:52 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 4/15/2008 7:25:56 PM EDT by Gamma762]

Originally Posted By AirframeMech:
So because of farmers growing more corn for ethanol the price of all grains are going up?

Between the rising costs of fuel, poor weather & growing conditions, pretty much all grains and crops like hay for feed are going up.  Ethanol demand has diverted a large amount of corn toward fuel production, this has driven up costs for other agricultural and food uses as well.  The costs for all agricultural producers of grains and animal products has skyrocketed. Agricultural products IMO are at the extremes of the supply and demand system, as prices do not rise as much as they should based on demand.  This creates additional distortions in the economic system around those commodities, and is bad for producers because in many cases their costs rise much faster than increases in income - the middleman agribusinesses are making money, but the producers end up losing money.

IMO the ethanol craze is going to amplify, not alleviate, the economic impact of high fuel prices by pushing large price increases into many other segments of consumer goods.

We've put a huge amount of emphasis on using corn as a fuel source based on a high-cost-of-fuel economic model.  Unfortunately the reality of corn growers not being able to afford to produce that corn crop didn't occur to the whizkids that came up with this idea.
Link Posted: 4/15/2008 7:58:46 PM EDT
Think about this.

The more the U.S.A. has to pay for oil, The more The U.S.A. will charge the world to access its' bread basket.

Unfortunatly, we have to pay as well. Just not as much as say Hati or Egypt.

Link Posted: 4/15/2008 8:08:47 PM EDT
The folks who have been living on the teet will not react well.

It could get real interesting.
Link Posted: 4/15/2008 8:46:12 PM EDT
It will be interesting to see.  I just filled my freezer after hearing every small rancher I know talk about cutting the herds in half.  They think that it's a good time to try to breed in some more fundamentals (Lowlines and Galloways seem to be attracting interest where I am), but they are cutting the numbers hugely.  And then beef will be a lot scarcer.
Link Posted: 4/15/2008 8:57:06 PM EDT
I work in the horse business as a farrier.  I've had to raise my rates to cover the cost of gas.  Other farriers have already gone out of business because they were fired for doing the same.

Hay is $12 a bail now, if you can find it because of the drought last year.  Cost of feed is getting ridiculous for all livestock.  

If my clientel were to start spreading out their schedules in a effort to save money, I'd probably be out of business too.  I'm not sure I could pick up enough work fast enough to backfill my schedule if that starts happening.

I've been thinking about going to school for a new career anyway.  The current economic climate just may be the push to make me do it.
Link Posted: 4/16/2008 1:07:14 AM EDT
Tomatos are 4.50 - 5.00 / lb here, have been for a couple months.  Most folks I know are not doing any preps, just complaining.  I just don't get it.  Time for the Earth to purge itself.  
Link Posted: 4/16/2008 2:28:10 AM EDT
i pass this old gas station once in awhile... it has the  03/04 (pre-hurricane) prices on its sign...across teh street is a new  fancy gas station..... wanna know the contrast

3.34 vs 1.45$

depressing at times


foods gonna keep going up,,cost of normal goods ,will keep going up. services will keep going up... wages wont.....
Those on the .gov tit will suffer, tax payers will suffer more for that.....

get what you can now guys...
Link Posted: 4/16/2008 3:44:22 AM EDT
thanks for the heads up fordguy.  by the looks of the fields around this area, the locals over produced hay.  many fields still have a lot of large round bales stacked in them for sale.  helps that the winter was relatively mild.  i think we paid $35 or $40/1000lbs round bale last october.  

i've said this before, but i'll say it again.  this year is a pivotal year, we sit upon the precipice and at this point could fall either way.  if wheat and rice harvests tank again this year, then our prices will continue to soar while the now ongoing rioting in third world countries will only get worse, and possibly destabilize governments.  don't want to be anywhere near what rolls down that side of the hill.  

tighten the budget, increase the preps, and make damn sure you can cook and shoot what you've got.
Link Posted: 4/16/2008 3:46:46 AM EDT
Yes things look shitty, but look at it in perspective. We Americans eat better then just about any other place on Earth (Maybe not healthier...)

No one eats hay. Thats used to feed cows so we can have hamburger and steak. We throw away a lot of food every day.

We as a whole have a lot of sliding to do in our diet before things are truly "bad". People are bitching because they cant afford the good food, that doesnt mean they cant afford to be full.

You'll see a drastic shift as to what type of food is on the table, but for most in this country there will still be some food on the table.
Link Posted: 4/16/2008 3:56:39 AM EDT
I work in the agriculture industry (cropduster pilot ) we are owned by a very large co-op.

They are giving us the word that things are going to get real tough in the ag business, we have been told by the end of this season 2 out of 3 small co-op's will be out of business and most flying service's that only run 1 or 2 aircraft will be out also !

The SHTF situation is getting VERY real for everyone in the good old USA , I just pray we can keep our head's above water as time goes on !
Link Posted: 4/16/2008 4:26:19 AM EDT
Big round bales of hay are $15 each here, $17.50 delivered if you buy 8 or more.  They are advertised as being good for erosion control.

Link Posted: 4/16/2008 4:31:25 AM EDT

Originally Posted By Bitmap:
Big round bales of hay are $15 each here, $17.50 delivered if you buy 8 or more.  They are advertised as being good for erosion control.



Here in Ohio they are selling for $100.00 start trucking them up here.
Link Posted: 4/16/2008 4:33:05 AM EDT
42% of ALL THE FED BEEF IN THE UNITED STATES live within 200 miles of where I am typing this. The two largest feedlots in the country are within 50 miles...one family operations puts out over 200,000- yes, 200,000 cattle a YEAR. For spring break this year one of the field trips I took my sons on was to the livestock auction. They had never been to a sale.....

All the buyers and sellers were talking about was the bad prices for cattle. They are literally LOSING $100 per animal with the high feed costs. So...they are selling...which drives down the prices....and means that replacement animals will be scarce in the future....you figure it out.

Plan on eating alot more Tofu, beans and rice....like the rest of the peasants of the world.
Link Posted: 4/16/2008 4:40:16 AM EDT

Originally Posted By Will:
42% of ALL THE FED BEEF IN THE UNITED STATES live within 200 miles of where I am typing this. The two largest feedlots in the country are within 50 miles...one family operations puts out over 200,000- yes, 200,000 cattle a YEAR. For spring break this year one of the field trips I took my sons on was to the livestock auction. They had never been to a sale.....

All the buyers and sellers were talking about was the bad prices for cattle. They are literally LOSING $100 per animal with the high feed costs. So...they are selling...which drives down the prices....and means that replacement animals will be scarce in the future....you figure it out.

Plan on eating alot more Tofu, beans and rice....like the rest of the peasants of the world.



How long until you think the lower prices will reach the consumer market? I am buying a side of beef and might wait a little longer if prices will be dropping.
Link Posted: 4/16/2008 5:32:58 AM EDT

Originally Posted By DocGP:

Interesting times.  I don't panic.  Just looking at it as a challenge.  Very interesting.

My kids will be learning some character.

Doc


good point doc, i don't have kids but todays youth needs something to change it
Link Posted: 4/16/2008 5:33:25 AM EDT
Yeah its looking scary.......Im planning on zero major purchases and complete debt free status by feb. I dont like my neighborhood but no way im gonna take on a new mortgage with things the way they are.........for love of pete a bag of dog food is up 5.00 from two months ago
Link Posted: 4/16/2008 5:34:22 AM EDT

Originally Posted By FordGuy:

Originally Posted By 45stops-em-quick:
My thoughts-Prepare, adapt and overcome.  Rude awakening for most people = not too far away.  Good for you, either bread for dinner, or roast dove, not a bad choice to have to make.


I guess one of my underlying concerns is that instead of "rude awakening" it will be frogs in a pot who NEVER realize what happened and instead blame something else...hard times plus racial friction over this election could lead to horrible things.


I agree that your scenario could happen, in that case, we all have preps to deal with that type of SHTF as well.  My father, who spent his career in emergency services, told me when I got involved, "We don't go to emergencies, we go to work.  If we're going to an emergency, everybody is f'ed"  I view prepping in the same light, we should prep with the expectation that someday we may have to use those preps.  No, I don't think any of us will ever feel completely prepared, but we must have confidence that we have done the best we can given our own circumstances, and react accordingly.  Don't panic, just follow the plan you've laid out for you and your family, pray, and let your training take over.  I don't prep for, or stock anything for any event that I haven't already come grips with happening.  I'm not saying this is it or not, but if this current crisis is the proverbial "balloon going up" that we've all talked and thought about when socking away a little extra money for rice or ammo or tools, then we have to act accordingly and move on.  Again, this may be the beginning of the end, and if it is, worrying won't help.  I hope it's not, but if it is, then let's get on with it.
Link Posted: 4/16/2008 5:42:08 AM EDT
"Mrs. H" is a family friend of my in-laws. She's 97 years old and is still living by herself in the house (with no air conditioning) that her mother raised her in. She's as sharp as a tack, still drives around town for basic errands, is in better health than many people half her age, manages the bulk of her own finances, listens to news radio frequently and still reads the paper.

Mrs. H was over for Easter lunch at my in-laws and after dessert and coffee, the conversation turned to what was going on with the economy.

I asked Mrs. H what her thoughts were on the state of our country and of the economy. Her reply was "I'm more scared for our country and for our economy now than I have ever been... even during the Great Depression..."

She went on to explain that, during the Great Depression, her family had a farm. The farm provided food to eat and food/goods to barter with and they never went without the basics. In a round-about way, she also explained that, during the Depression, people knew how to scrape by and live on little to nothing... and that there was a sense of community where people would help other people out if they had extra to give. People knew how to grow food, bake their own bread, etc.

My wife and I have put in a small garden in our back yard as well as several fruit trees. Mrs H says she can't wait to see how it all turns out. She HATES coming into town (Houston) but has said that she REALLY wants my mother-in-law to bring her up once we get some fruits and veggies ready for harvest. She is pretty excited that we have planted a garden... She'd probably have her own garden if she was physically able to manage it. We'll likely give her some of our extra produce.

Anyway.. back to the economy issue:

Mrs H thinks things are going to get VERY bad before they get better. And she thinks that the idiots in Washington are running this country into the ground.

I'm hoping to get to pick Mrs H's mind a bit more when she's invited over to future gatherings.
Link Posted: 4/16/2008 5:47:04 AM EDT


How long until you think the lower prices will reach the consumer market? I am buying a side of beef and might wait a little longer if prices will be dropping.



They already have. No steep decrease in price BUT no INCREASE like everything else. At some point it WILL increase but right now it's holding steady due to the increased supply. When that "rat" gets through the python....it will go up. Understand also that most of the money in cattle is NOT made by the farmer/rancher...it's all the middle men- the butcher/packer, trucker, super market etc.....

Try to cut out as many of them as you can. Me...I buy my beef directly from the rancher, on the hoof. I'm buying my beef for $1 a pound essentially...at the store, you pay $3 and more...depending on cut much more! Now, I'm paying for hooves and hide and other stuff I don't eat but there's still a hell of alot of middleman money involved.
Link Posted: 4/16/2008 5:50:13 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 4/16/2008 5:51:57 AM EDT by EPOCH96]
Sadly, the ag business will effect the restaurant industry.  A few of my friends are waiters and tell me they have noticed decreased business in the last few months.  Seems like I'm not the only one choosing to not eat out and saving some money

If meat/food prices climb after this selloff others are predicting, the restaurant (many of which are small businesses) industry will be in a tough spot.

<------ looking to purchase a deep freezer and learn how to garden
Link Posted: 4/16/2008 5:56:23 AM EDT
I read the Wall Street Journal alot. Some great articles in there about the "food crisis". First, several articles about commodities- beans, corn etc... Then several articles about the rice issue.

Last one I saw was talking about how there is a boom in restaurants buying new plates and flatware. Why? They are buying smaller plates to make their new smaller servings look bigger/the same! The new flatware, can't remember if it was bigger/smaller/ lighter/heavier but essentially it was to "fool" people into thinking they were eating more. Restauranteurs are experimenting with different ingredients, cheaper ingredients etc....they are giving you TWO 4 ounce fish filets instead of one 10 ounce filet....very interesting stuff....

On a personal note I have found that at Texas Roadhouse here in town where we eat maybe once a week, the salads have gotten smaller with fewer tomatoes and other add ons...etc...Just a little thing, but noticeable.  
Link Posted: 4/16/2008 6:11:55 AM EDT
On the restaurant note........I am not only a cropduster pilot but I also own a seafood restaurant . I seat 157 people , so it's not such a small place.

I have been in business for 21 years and everyday it gets harder and harder to keep my door's open . My food cost has risen 42% in the last year , you have to pass the food cost to the consumer but they don't have to come eat !.........
Link Posted: 4/16/2008 6:18:22 AM EDT
You're a regular friggen Renaissance Man! Lol. Good on ya.
Link Posted: 4/16/2008 7:32:57 AM EDT
Not EVERY active duty person is oblivious, my friend.
Tag
Matt
Link Posted: 4/16/2008 7:56:06 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 4/16/2008 8:00:40 AM EDT by Will]
Could of swore I saw this in the Journal but here it is in the Wash. Post...which I do NOT normally read....oh well here it is-

by David Segal
Washington Post Staff Writer
Sunday, April 13, 2008; Page A01

SWEDESBORO, N.J. -- In the last year, a few dozen chefs have come here to the test kitchen of Rastelli Foods, a wholesaler based near Philadelphia, in search of tips about how to trim portions -- preferably in ways that diners won't notice.

Like many in this business, Rastelli has developed an impressive bag of tricks, and one recent morning staff consultant John Roehm is sharing a few of them with the owner of Conley Ward's Steakhouse, a restaurant in Wilmington, Del. Roehm focuses on the chops, which will soon be downsized in subtle ways, but he's got an idea about the shrimp cocktail, too.

"What you do is skewer the shrimp before you boil them," Roehm says. "It straightens them out so that when you serve them, they look bigger. Now you can buy a smaller, less expensive shrimp."

Pinched by soaring food costs on the one hand and a recession-fearing public on the other, the restaurant industry is getting crafty. Chefs are tinkering with recipes, swapping out expensive ingredients for cheaper ones. Managers are using behavioral science research to rejigger menus -- putting high-profit items in the top right-hand corner, for instance, where diners tend to look first.

And many restaurants are putting the great American portion -- a monstrosity by the standards of international cuisine -- on a diet, as surreptitiously as possible. Lots of restaurants are buying smaller plates to make the reduced servings look just as large, or lighter silverware so that even if there are fewer bites per serving, each bite feels heavier than usual on the fork. A la carte portions of high-priced dishes -- steaks, for example -- are getting pared back and surrounded by low-cost starches and vegetables.

"We've advised a lot of clients to switch from an eight-ounce filet to two three-ounce filets," says Rastelli Foods owner Ray Rastelli, who sells to 6,000 restaurants in the New Jersey, New York and Delaware area. "They reduce their cost by 25 percent and they change the plate presentation, adding some strategically placed accouterments. It looks like more food and it actually costs less."

Some restaurants aren't bothering with the sleight of hand. At Lucky Devils in Hollywood, the toasted pecan shake recently went from 18 ounces to 12 ounces, though the price didn't budge. At the Plumsted Grill in Cream Ridge, N.J., the filet mignon recently went from a 10-ounce to an eight-ounce portion.

"We also bought more small plates," says Plumsted co-owner Stacy Maul. "Our chefs were using these large platters for dishes like the chicken marsala, and they felt like it didn't look right unless the whole plate was covered. You give them smaller plates, they cook less food."

Fret not, gluttons. There is little risk that portion shrinkage will cause anyone to lose weight anytime soon. That's because the point isn't to slim us down or lower our cholesterol. It's to save money in a business that many owners and consultants think is already in recession. A recent National Restaurant Association survey found that 46 percent of members reported declines in traffic in February over the previous month, not to mention "a record-low reading in restaurant operators' outlook and expectations." Smart owners, of course, have always carefully watched their costs, but when every bill comes with a "gasoline-price surcharge" and fewer people are walking through the door, it's hocus-pocus time.

The risk is that patrons will notice and get annoyed. (One Lucky Devils regular recently fumed online that the restaurant had "done something unforgivable. They have toyed with the toasted pecan shake.") A lot of restaurants prefer to charge more rather than fiddle with the food, on the theory that customers think of menu prices the same way that drivers think of a gallon of gas -- they hate to see it get more expensive, but don't blame the gas station when it does.

But eating out is optional in a way that driving isn't, and there's only so much that a typical customer is willing to pay for a plate of fried calamari. And though risky, the financial upside to smaller portions is greater for a restaurant than you might think.

Take that 10-ounce filet mignon. At $20 per pound, it costs $1.25 per ounce. Start buying eight-ounce filets from your supplier instead and you spend $2.50 less per dish. A restaurant that sells a modest 100 filets a week will save $13,000 a year on that item alone.
Link Posted: 4/16/2008 8:57:13 AM EDT

Originally Posted By FordGuy:

I guess one of my underlying concerns is that instead of "rude awakening" it will be frogs in a pot who NEVER realize what happened and instead blame something else...hard times plus racial friction over this election could lead to horrible things.


I just happened to be thinking about this yesterday...

If the doo-doo hits the fan during the Dem convention, how wide spread do you think the "racial thing" would be?

For example, the Rodney King story was a national story. However, when the verdict came down, there were no riots in NYC or PHI or BOS....etc.

Let me know what you guys think.
Link Posted: 4/16/2008 10:00:39 AM EDT

Originally Posted By Torqued:
"Mrs. H" is a family friend of my in-laws. She's 97 years old and is still living by herself in the house (with no air conditioning) that her mother raised her in. She's as sharp as a tack, still drives around town for basic errands, is in better health than many people half her age, manages the bulk of her own finances, listens to news radio frequently and still reads the paper.

Mrs. H was over for Easter lunch at my in-laws and after dessert and coffee, the conversation turned to what was going on with the economy.

I asked Mrs. H what her thoughts were on the state of our country and of the economy. Her reply was "I'm more scared for our country and for our economy now than I have ever been... even during the Great Depression..."

She went on to explain that, during the Great Depression, her family had a farm. The farm provided food to eat and food/goods to barter with and they never went without the basics. In a round-about way, she also explained that, during the Depression, people knew how to scrape by and live on little to nothing... and that there was a sense of community where people would help other people out if they had extra to give. People knew how to grow food, bake their own bread, etc.

My wife and I have put in a small garden in our back yard as well as several fruit trees. Mrs H says she can't wait to see how it all turns out. She HATES coming into town (Houston) but has said that she REALLY wants my mother-in-law to bring her up once we get some fruits and veggies ready for harvest. She is pretty excited that we have planted a garden... She'd probably have her own garden if she was physically able to manage it. We'll likely give her some of our extra produce.

Anyway.. back to the economy issue:

Mrs H thinks things are going to get VERY bad before they get better. And she thinks that the idiots in Washington are running this country into the ground.

I'm hoping to get to pick Mrs H's mind a bit more when she's invited over to future gatherings.


What does Mrs H think about people who rat out their neighbors for not paying their proper property taxes? Should people be taxed out of their homes when times are tough?
Link Posted: 4/16/2008 10:05:33 AM EDT

Originally Posted By Will:
Last one I saw was talking about how there is a boom in restaurants buying new plates and flatware. Why? They are buying smaller plates to make their new smaller servings look bigger/the same! The new flatware, can't remember if it was bigger/smaller/ lighter/heavier but essentially it was to "fool" people into thinking they were eating more. Restauranteurs are experimenting with different ingredients, cheaper ingredients etc....they are giving you TWO 4 ounce fish filets instead of one 10 ounce filet....very interesting stuff....


Personally, I see reduced portions as a good thing. I often can't believe how much food often comes in a "single" serving. It's no wonder we're getting fat as a nation. It's not uncommon for my wife and I share to share a single meal.
Link Posted: 4/16/2008 10:09:40 AM EDT
I just bought hay for my daughter's thoroughbred around the corner for $5.00 a bale.

Link Posted: 4/16/2008 10:13:01 AM EDT

Originally Posted By COZ_45:
I just bought hay for my daughter's thoroughbred around the corner for $5.00 a bale.



Prices are all over the place on everything.

It's all so regional.

Some people are reporting paying $5-6 for a gallon of milk while it's still $2.69/gallon here.
Link Posted: 4/16/2008 10:13:42 AM EDT

Originally Posted By Boomer:
What does Mrs H think about people who rat out their neighbors for not paying their proper property taxes? Should people be taxed out of their homes when times are tough?


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