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Monday, February 14, 2011

Do We Have Any Money Left?

One friend has asked if we have any money left after two weeks in Europe. Good question. "Not much," is the answer. The price of general living is a bit of a shock. We talked with the owner of one restaurant about his trips to New York City. He buys lots of clothing there to bring home. I don't blame him. I stopped in at one of the shops here and bought four pairs of socks and two sets of underwear. It is apparent why tee shirts and boxers are packaged by the "one" here. This is $70 worth of clothing.

Stop at an ATM for cash and it will be dispensed in 50 Euro notes. Just think of the machine as spitting out $70 bills to you.

Here, on a tour, we stopped in at a shop selling 89 cent Slurpees. But notice the price: 4 Euros. Yes, $5.60 for a lemon ice drink.

A few years ago, we had friends visit from Switzerland. We took them to a couple of restaurants that had free drink re-fills. It was the thing that their kids remembered most about their trip to America.

Of course, part of my problem with these prices may just be that I am getting old. I pick up a Coca-Cola like this, and think, "Oh, look, a nickle Coke!"

Of course, the real nickle Coke was actually a bit smaller than this. It was 6.6 oz. versus this 8.5 oz. Still, the price was stable at a nickle from 1886 to 1959. I can remember my total shock at having to place a dime in a machine instead of a nickle. And, I might add, the nickel Coke was still available as a fountain drink at the Rexall drugstore at 30th and Ainsworth in Portland until at least the mid-sixties. (For another old-timer's story of this price increase, see this site.)

So, when I pay 2.60 Euros here, (THAT IS $3.52) I can't help wondering if I should have bought some of that $32 per oz. gold back then and buried it in the back yard. If you are mathematically inclined, though, you will find that buried Coke would be a better investment.

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