A Bitter Spice to Swallow

Well, here it is, January 1, 2022.  A brand new year with the same old worries plus a few more that have recently cropped up. Where to start is the big question. First there is the China Syndrome and the Covide-19 pandemic that they launched upon the world. Then there is their test launch of hypersonic missiles that circled the globe as a show of strength that they could easily annihilate any major U.S. city at will. Now they are rattling their sabers about invading Taiwan. But I am not going to talk about that.

The Russia problem never seems to go away. So what is wrong with them massing 100,000 troops along the Ukrainian border as a threat to keep the Ukraine from joining NATO? But I am not going to talk about that.

The current administration single handedly in one short year stripped us of our hard earned energy independence and is now begging OPEC to produce more oil as a solution to mitigate record fuel price increases. The solution offered was to release 55,000 gallons of oil from our strategic reserve – a whopping 3 day supply considering our daily use is around 20,000 barrels a day.  But I am not going to talk about that.

Crime is increasing at unprecedented rates in our major cities. The national debt has ballooned to $30 Trillion with the progressive administration trying to pile another $2 trillion on top with their social agenda. It seems that parents have no right to weigh in on what their children learn in school. But I am not going to talk about any of these things.

What I am going to talk about is something a little more personal. While I pride myself on staying up with the latest in technology, I am clearly old school in a lot of ways. So, what I am going to talk about is Old Spice. For you lesser-informed millennials, Old Spice is not a Captain Morgan spiced rum knock-off, but rather a line of personal care products reserved for and coveted by the baby boomer generation.

So, what I am going to talk about is the current rate of inflation not seen since the 1970’s during the storied presidential career of Jimmy Carter. I will spare the readers a rant and rave critique of the current administration economic policies because I am not sure that they deserve all the blame. Well – maybe most of it, but that is not the point I want to make. The point is that corporate America is using the current inflation headlines as a free pass to raise prices at will. This is worth repeating. Corporate America is raising prices faster than their cost inputs just because they can do so without impunity. Despite all the gloom and doom that they are shoveling upon the American consumer, profit margins are soaring along with their stock prices. Witness, the Dow, S&P 500 all closing 2021 in record territory.

Strictly Old School

Now back to the Old Spice story. As recently as one year ago, I paid $3.97 for Old Spice body wash at my local Aldi supermarket. Last week, the same item was priced at $5.97. I find it difficult to believe that a price increase of over 50% is justified based on raw cost inputs. Old Spice is owned by behemoth Procter and Gamble – a company well known for its ability to control prices in any way that they see fit to boost their own bottom line.

Follow up quotes from Proctor and Gamble press release on January 19,2022

The Cincinnati-based consumer-products company said sales increased 6% in the quarter ended Dec. 31 compared with a year earlier, fueled in part by the company’s largest average price increases since the spring of 2019.

Executives on Wednesday said its price increases will continue throughout 2022, and predicted higher profitability and improved margins in coming quarters even as labor, freight and raw-materials costs continue to balloon due to the global supply-chain turmoil.