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Here comes Kool-Aid! And Otter Pops and …

Submitted by on Monday, 9 June 2008 No Comment

“Either Bill Sharp was being facetious or he has way too much time on his hands. Not to mention a nasty soft-drink addiction.

In a letter to the editor published in The Modesto Bee, Sharp complained about high soda prices — $11.26 a gallon if you buy 20-ouncers at a convenience store, he calculated.

Forget gasoline — soda gouging is causing inflation. “”So who are the real robber barons of our society?”" he asked. “”Those who control oil or those who control the soda industry?”"

First off, I have trouble relating to anyone who buys anything at a convenience store these days. I’ve been toting a Thermos for almost three years to avoid outsourcing my coffee.

Secondly, food banks are so short on stock nationwide that many are asking local gardeners to plant a little extra and donate it. It’s not a new idea by any means, but it’s needed more this summer, as food costs and demand soar.

And this guy is frosted because it’s costing him more to do the Dew.

All of which makes me wonder yet again, when did we become entitled to daily sodas and lattes and such?

When I was a kid we had soda during the summer holidays when Shasta was on sale, a case for a couple of bucks. Otherwise, it was Kool-Aid and Otter Pops and be happy to have it.

I eyed the Kool-Aid longingly Saturday as I shopped for groceries, the old commercial slogan running through me head the whole time. “”And at pennies on the gallon, it’s much cheaper than soda!”"

It’s not quite pennies on the gallon now, but it’s still a bargain. Five packs for $1. Five packs for $1! Sure, you have to add sugar, but that’s still not going to cost anywhere near Sharp’s $11.26-a-gallon soda. I wound up skipping it because I couldn’t find any without Red Dye 40 or Yellow Dye 5 — two things Big Guy avoids because it makes his asthma worse.

No great loss. Though they drink juice a few times a week and soda even less than that, the guys prefer milk or water.

The Otter Pops were another story. I found a box of a hundred for $5.84. A hundred for $5.84! The assortment includes blue and orange, which I know Big Guy can eat. Sold!

The guys were overjoyed. They’d never seen that big a box of Otter Pops in their lives, and it was theirs, all theirs!

There are a lot of things we simply can’t afford anymore. We used to eat out every Friday but have switched to coffee or smoothies after work. It’s the difference between spending $15 and $5 a week. We used to go back East in the spring and fall each year, but we’ve cut one of the trips.

The guys — Big Guy in particular — noticed the changes and were disappointed, but adapted quickly.

That’s why it was nice to find a cheaper version of a treat– a hundred Otter Pops for under $6 versus 12 Popsicles for $4 — that the guys actually like better than the pricier product.

And I keep emphasizing to them that Otter Pops are treats, just like their Friday smoothies are. They’re not entitlements, and they’re not necessities.

That doesn’t guarantee that they won’t grow up to whine about $11.26 soda. But I hope it increases the chances that they’ll keep things in perspective.

Copyright 2008 Debra Legg. All rights reserved.

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