“Shoppers running out of money”

Wal-mart shoppers, but really it’s all of us. From CNN Money:

Wal-Mart’s core shoppers are running out of money much faster than a year ago due to rising gasoline prices, and the retail giant is worried, CEO Mike Duke said Wednesday.

“We’re seeing core consumers under a lot of pressure,” Duke said at an event in New York. “There’s no doubt that rising fuel prices are having an impact.”

Wal-Mart shoppers, many of whom live paycheck to paycheck, typically shop in bulk at the beginning of the month when their paychecks come in.

Lately, they’re “running out of money” at a faster clip, he said.

“Purchases are really dropping off by the end of the month even more than last year,” Duke said. “This end-of-month [purchases] cycle is growing to be a concern.

It’s not just end of the month. It’s difficult not to notice the breathtaking prices of what used to be everyday items.  Have you noticed this?

A woman at Costco wondered aloud to her husband about the Kirkland brand bacon earlier this week. I vouched for its tastiness. She thanked me, adding that bacon at Wal-mart was now over $5 a pound. “At Wal-mart!” she exclaimed. I nodded and said we felt the same pinch.

I heard much of the same this morning at a handful of yard sales while hunting for clothing and book bargains for pjToddler. “We can’t afford to buy new clothes anymore” is a common refrain.

An Instapundit reader reports:

As a PA resident I can attest to the sea change in attitudes towards Barack Obama here.

It’s public, it’s palpable and it’s entirely due to inflation.

It’s astonishing to me that a bunch of guys who are supposed to be so smart think that women aren’t going to the grocery store and leaving in a state of shock, disbelief and, occasionally, panic.

And a Democrat who frightens women cannot win anything. Period.

I just started playing a sort of instant citizen poll at stores. It began a week or so ago at Sams’ Club:

I was in one of THOSE lines and ended up chatting with a well dressed middle aged woman with a cart half full of grocery items.

I made mention of the fact that while I didn’t normally make the hike to Sams’ that with prices going up I figured I had to make the effort.

She exploded: Prices are sky high, she’s feeding three kids, eating store brands and sale items but can’t afford to stock up, on and on.

Then the lady in front of HER piped in: if prices keep going up she doesn’t know what she’ll do, their budget is already at the breaking point, trying to keep a daughter in college, off she goes.

Then a man in the next line over heard them and HE jumped in: this is ridiculous, Washington is killing us, economy broken, he’s off to the races.

I thought maybe this was just a coincidence, so I’ve started the same conversation in store lines twice more in the past week and it’s exactly the same: people are frightened and EVERYONE wants to talk about it out loud.

The interesting thing to me is that everyone used to be very reluctant to speak out in public against Obama. You were always afraid some leftie whackjob would hear you and tear into you. You know what I mean.

But now the gloves are off, people are freaking out and Obama can raise FIVE billion dollars for his campaign and organize until the cows come home and call everyone in the country a racist until he turns blue but it’s not going to convince anyone that they’re not paying an arm and a leg for half a cart worth of food.

There is no more basic thing to people, and it’s off the hook.

I don’t see how the Republicans could possibly mess this up. Then again, after a lifetime of watching them do just that, if there’s way they’ll find it.

Ain’t that the truth.

Do you have grocery line conversations? How do you extend grocery dollars? If you’re one of those for whom beans don’t agree, try kombu and longer soaking times. I had read kombu (a sea vegetable, look in the Asian aisle) helps aid digestion before, but I never knew why: it contains the enzyme to help digest a sugar found in beans we’re incapable of digesting on our own (oligosaccharides if you’re a geek and need to know). Cool beans, eh?

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