Expensive nonsensePosted: 9 September 2010
>Has anyone else noticed how prices on pretty ordinary things have been shooting up lately? I really don’t eat out very much because we’re both poor, busy and attempting to be healthy. When I do buy prepared food, I feel like I’m often shocked at the price. I don’t think I’m a cheap person by any means and I will most certainly spend $30 for an entrée at a nice restaurant and I’ll buy plane tickets for friend’s weddings and I’ll even splurge and buy Senor a nice painting for his birthday. I do, however, get pretty annoyed when things that I think should be reasonably priced are seemingly outrageous.
I think there are a few places where these inflated costs are most obvious. One is Noodles & Co. Another is ballparks. And the final one is grocery store sushi.
Noodles & Co. kills me with how expensive they are. It’s supposed to be a Chipotle of noodle dishes right? Except at Chipotle you get a lot of meat in your burrito. Plus beans and cheese and rice. Chipotle isn’t ‘cheap’ compared to say, McDonalds, but I appreciate the fresh produce and the well-raised meats and the variety they have available and there really is a lot of good stuff in those burritos. I understand that meat and fresh produce is expensive. Noodles though, noodles are cheap! Noodles are just water and flour right? And sure, some of them come with fancy things like bean sprouts and such. But for the most part, unless you order meat to go along, you are served a plate of what is 90% flour and water, tossed in some sauce. Noodles are possibly the cheapest food on earth, so why am I paying the same amount for a plate of them as I would for a burrito stuffed with meat? And if you do add meat to your noodles, you’re now paying about how much you would at a ‘real’ (as in not ‘fast food’) restaurant. And the real restaurant would probably offer a salad along with your noodles. It just sort of drives me crazy that there’s like, a 1000% price mark up on flipping noodles. Real restaurants mark up pasta too but I think what bothers me with Noodles is that it’s by all rights, a fast food restaurant. It just seems like they should not be charging that much. I think the last time I was there I had the Bangkok curry with chicken and it was like $11. Yikes. I can get a giant vat of take-out pad thai from Gangchen for less than that people!
Ball parks are obviously notoriously bad for pricing. Last night I went to a game and paid $8.50 for a thing of nachos. They were delicious though and I figured it wasn’t much worse than what I’d pay anywhere else for a quick dinner. They were the kind with meat and onions and such, not just cheese and tortilla chips so it was worth it. But then a few innings later we went for ice cream. I was planning on a twist cone, my staple. Our friend suggested some delicious root beer floats, so we went to the place that had them. They were really large. Like, they came out in giant frosted mugs and they were really good. But they were $14! We each had half of one and honestly, it was still too much. But holy crap! $14 for soda and a scoop of vanilla ice cream? For reals? I kind of wanted to cry when I looked at the bill because I knew I wouldn’t be able to eat out for lunch today. I’d also been hoping to keep my whole evening under $15. That, obviously did not happen. Sad face. Also, the water I ordered was $3.75. Come on!
Okay, on to grocery store sushi. Why so expensive? I know, sushi has fish in it. Sometimes very exotic fish. But there’s probably less than 1 oz of actual fish in your sushi. It’s mostly rice, seaweed, cucumbers, and if you’re lucky one or two other veggies. Sushi has got to be one of the cheapest things ever. I totally understand a restaurant with really good, fancy sushi. I totally get that. But really? Really grocery store?
I know in the end I’m mostly paying for convenience and novelty. But seriously, the profit margins on some of that stuff must be astonishing. If I can make a giant pot of pasta with chicken and veggies and cheese for under $10, I can only imagine how cheap it is for a company with a supplier and bulk orders. I sort of wonder if we’ll eventually be paying $10 for a latte, $20 for a bowl of noodles, and $17.50 for a package of grocery store sushi.
And more to the point of my frustration, why do I keep buying these things? I mean, I don’t buy them very often. But when I do I feel so annoyed with myself. What’s weird is I will spend more money on food from the grocery store to make sure that it was grown responsibly and raised with compassion and that nothing I’m eating was treated with hormones or pesticides, etc. I’m okay paying more for that. But god do I hate paying more for things that I can easily make myself and often make better on my own and do it for pennies. I’m not sure if that makes me cheap, frugal, or just annoyed with money.
I know for the most part that my annoyance is probably pretty irrational and I’m just going to have to deal with it. Still, there are just a few things that really get my goat.