Tuesday, April 29, 2008

It's everything

The rising costs, the shortages, the crises. It's been a barrage of bad news daily, which for the most part seemed mostly inconvenient (to me personally), but dealable. Gas prices are high so I drive less. Food prices are high so I'm more careful and cut back on the extras. But now it's everything.

"What's that got to do with the price of rice?" I don't know. It's all connected. I headed over to my supplier to buy the usual buckets of coconut and palm oils that I use as the base of my soap. I was there just a month and a half ago, and it was just like it always is. The prices had gone up just a few dollars here and there over the last decade, but mostly stayed pretty even. Nothing to worry about, it raised the cost per bar just a few cents over time, still doable.

Yesterday the cost of each of those oils jumped 30%. For today. By the next time I need to buy them - another couple months - they will be a LOT higher they all assured me. Nobody knows how much, just a LOT. Rising costs of processing, rising costs of transporting, and now they are being used to produce bio-diesel so there is a shortage and that costs more too.

Gah! How can you anticipate these things? How can I possibly plan ahead if I don't know whether the costs will double next time around or just 10 percent? That's my bottom line, and I've scrimped and cut back and whittled it all to the bone already. Obviously I can raise prices at some point. There's probably no way to avoid that this year. But I was waiting until the summer got under way, and I had a chance to evaluate the postage increases that happen mid-May too. I just wasn't expecting this. At all. I guess that was dumb. Everything is going up, and fast this year. Except spending. That's going DOWN, and fast.

I stopped by the Spring retail show over the weekend at Pacific Market Center and retailers are really crying. They seem to want to blame internet sales as much as the economy, but that's splitting hairs. It's pretty much lack of money and fear of the future that's hurting everyone. Doesn't matter what you do, or what kind of business, or where.

Anyway, I didn't want to post another hand-wringing, the sky is falling, post again today. I'm tired of thinking about the whole thing. I'm depressed, worried and confused about how it all happened so fast without any signs that the world was about to self-combust on us. Well, there were probably lots of signs, but we weren't paying attention. I was watching Dancing with the Stars instead, or who knows what.

I'm going to enjoy the sunshine today. And carry on as usual with what I had planned for this week, and next month. And later, when I've got a clearer picture, hustle up some new schemes or new plans to make it all work. Because that's all we can do, really.