So I took the boys to see Doctor Strange, a movie I’ve been waiting to see for 40-years! It was AWESOME! Now, I’m having to dig-out my old comic books for them to see. Anyway, I’m reminded of my (much) younger days growing up in Florida. I remember walking in bare feet to the 7-11 with nothing more than a dollar bill in my pocket. The year was 1975, and that dollar was a veritable goldmine for a 12-year-old kid.
Comic books were a whopping 25¢! In fact, 1975 was the year prices rose from 20¢ and I railed to the heavens about the way Marvel and DC were extorting me. A Slurpee in a collectible Marvel cup was about 35¢ and penny candy was 2¢ (why we still called it “penny” candy is beyond me). So that dollar bill would buy me a comic book (or two), a Slurpee, and a bagful of penny candy. Sales tax was 4% then, so I essentially had 96¢ of purchasing power (Not that I ever thought of the tax on items back then. After all, I had a dollar and should be able to purchase a dollar’s worth of goods. I always felt a little ripped-off when I had to surrender 4¢ for a “tax” that produced no noticeable benefit for me).
Anyway, this happy reminiscence got me thinking: What would that dollar buy me at the 7-11 today? Let’s assume I went to my 1975 neighborhood 7-11 with my dollar and purchased:
- 1 comic book (normally, “Doctor Strange” in those days): 25¢
- 1 cola-flavored Slurpee (in a Marvel Comics cup): 35¢
- 18 pieces of penny candy (Zotz, Pixie Sticks, etc) at 2¢ a piece, that’s 36¢
- and 4¢ sales tax
Today’s comic books are $3.99, Medium Slurpees are $1.50, and penny candy is 20¢. In 2016 dollars, my 1975 7-11 shopping spree would cost $9.09 plus 64¢ sales tax or 9.73 (an increase of 897%). Considering the buying power of my 1975 dollar in 2016 is only $4.49* (an increase of only 349%), it’s apparent that the value of my dollar hasn’t come close to keeping up with inflation. Today’s dollar would only be worth 22¢ in 1975.
It’s sad to think that my 2016 dollar wouldn’t even buy me a 1975 comic book.
*241.428 (2016 CPI)/53.8 (1975 CPI)