Pop Goes the Weasel

First week of the first month of Spring and it’s time for Random Fancies! Today, I’ll link barber shops and movie tickets and inflation, something I am doubly unqualified to do1.

My first real job (it had a paycheck and withheld taxes and everything!) was as an usher in the Warner Theater six miles from home and I whiled away some of my college hours managing the Lee Theater about six miles from school. I have good memories.

I got a raise to a buck an hour when the Warner’s maintenance man retired and the ticket price rose to a buck about the same time. (Minimum wage had jumped to $1.25/hour by then.)

Having Love Story at the Lee for 14 weeks, then getting transferred to the Criterion for the New Year’s Eve premiere of Nicholas and Alexandra was enough for my movie career. I have been to the movies since then but I don’t go very often. I was blown away when I saw that tickets to Les Mis cost $12.50 each.

People may complain more about the cost of popcorn (movie popcorn prices have popped disproportionately to average theater ticket prices over the last almost-100 years) but ticket prices make the better indicator.

My first haircut was, well let’s just say I had pretty, long hair at the time. And not a lot of language skills. And I got a lollipop. My folks believed in the “butch” cut, so the barber never had much trouble performing, other than to get me to sit still.

I rebelled the summer before I went away to school. OK, I told my mom I was too busy to get it cut. At any rate, it had grown out to almost an inch long by the time I got to Hoboken. And it kept doing so.

I haven’t been to a real barbershop since about 1967. One of my roommates taught me how to trim and more-or-less shape it in the mirror. Later, I taught SWMBO how to trim and shape it quite well. Even she stopped cutting it in 2004 when I ripped the kitchen floor up in Renovation, v. 2, the Sequel. I’ve kept it pretty short using the mirror again since I shaved my head for Cap Cancer in 2009. I was blown away when Rufus told me a $15.00 haircut was a bargain.

Those prices have climbed faster than the CPI which Federal Government uses to figure inflation. Or the PCE which the Federal Government uses to report inflation when they don’t like the CPI. Or the Chained CPI which the Federal Government uses to obfuscate inflation when they don’t like the CPI or the PCE.

There’s no hyperinflation if you believe the official statistics.

We need a better indicator.

Youtube is crowded with Quick Belly Inflation guides, most of which use air compressors.

We really need a better indicator.

The fact that hamburger “sale” prices have quadrupled while Uncle Sam tells us inflation is flat shows that Harper’s new Inimitable Impressive Inflationary Indicator is practically perfect.

Haircuts and movie ticket costs tell us
more about the economy than the BLS’

Here it is. The Harper Inimitable Impressive Inflationary Indicator, occasionally known as the Dick Stick:

HAIRCUT + MOVIE                                             
—————————     >     A GALLON OF GAS

1 Unlike, of course, the majority of economists today.
In 1965 a six-pack of your average American beer cost just 99 cents, too.


4 thoughts on “Pop Goes the Weasel

  1. Funny! I went to the HB Warner theater yesterday ~ $3 for a normal movie ($5 for 3-D specials). They show older stuff. Saw Night at the Museum 3, which was great. Highly recommend. Occasionally I’ll pay $10+ to see a first run, but not that often, maybe once every couple months. I also buy movies at Bookoff or Amazon for $5.

    My haircuts cost $30 (and I leave a $6 tip). Tank o gas this morning cost me $48.

    So 33/2 > a gallon of gas, by about 4x.

    • SWMBO agrees about the first sentence.

      I used the price for a man’s barber, not for a salon cut or a Salon cut or a hairdresser cut, because the Interwebs have examples of $800 haircuts and that’s just wrong, even for NY City. And the first run price for the movies.

      That said, Paula’s $3 movie and a $10 haircut for Rufus’ still comes in at more than a gallon of gas in San Francisco.

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