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(The Consumerist)   A list of items for a Thanksgiving meal in 1929 cost $7.89 in 1929 dollars, or $107.35 in today's dollars. But to buy the exact same items in 2013, the total would only be $38.03. Enjoy your blown mind   (consumerist.com) divider line 89
    More: Interesting, Thanksgiving, meals, gelatins  
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9368 clicks; posted to Main » on 28 Nov 2013 at 2:46 AM (33 weeks ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2013-11-27 11:46:23 PM
It's interesting which items are comparable and which are much less expensive. Cheese being less expensive makes sense since the market for skim milk drives down the price, but I would have expected oranges to be much more expensive in 1929; instead, they're about the same cost today. And celery was twice as expensive. Dafuq is up with that?
 
2013-11-28 12:10:55 AM

Sudo_Make_Me_A_Sandwich: Cheese being less expensive makes sense since the market for skim milk drives down the price


Also, cows being grain-fed with loads of antibiotics vs. grass-fed. Artificial coloring is added to lots of cheeses because the beta-carotene from the grass isn't concentrated as a pigment into the final product.
 
2013-11-28 01:18:58 AM

Sudo_Make_Me_A_Sandwich: It's interesting which items are comparable and which are much less expensive. Cheese being less expensive makes sense since the market for skim milk drives down the price, but I would have expected oranges to be much more expensive in 1929; instead, they're about the same cost today. And celery was twice as expensive. Dafuq is up with that?


Supply chains. Oranges and other citrus fruits have been in easy supply since much earlier than 1929. They're not particularly perishable, and they transport easily.

Honestly, this list can pretty much be explained entirely by the fact that this dude didn't invent the refrigerated truck until 1935. If you'll notice, every single item on that list that's much more expensive than today is something that's quickly perishable. They had refrigeration in grocery stores themselves by 1929, but no way to keep things cold on the way TO the store, other than to keep things on blocks of ice. Once the modern refrigerated supply chain came into full swing by the 1940s, prices likely plummeted. I bet if you found a similar list from 1950, you'd see virtually no difference between then and now with the exception of the turkey, which was likely more expensive as America still lacked a system of high-yield factory farming in poultry.

Honestly, the most surprising thing about this list is that prices on the non-perishable goods have mostly stayed exactly the same. You'd expect them to drop because of great production efficiency that has surely occurred since 1929. I have two theories for why they haven't, both likely having an effect; (1) regulatory costs and safety monitoring is much more expensive now than in 1929, and (2) producers are taking a larger cut, viewing the price of certain foods as essentially inelastic for most consumers who aren't bargain-hunting.
 
2013-11-28 01:21:26 AM

ecmoRandomNumbers: Sudo_Make_Me_A_Sandwich: Cheese being less expensive makes sense since the market for skim milk drives down the price

Also, cows being grain-fed with loads of antibiotics vs. grass-fed. Artificial coloring is added to lots of cheeses because the beta-carotene from the grass isn't concentrated as a pigment into the final product.


Came here to say, if you wanted some of the same items like the actually somewhat free range, grain fed, antibiotic-free turkey it would easily cost that much in today's dollars.

However, it cost considerably more for everyone to be on the phone during dinner back then.  So there is some sort of trade off.
 
2013-11-28 02:52:48 AM
I dunno. I'd rather have my dick blown.
 
2013-11-28 02:56:51 AM
So quit complaining and go work your shiat retail job.  And no, you can't have Thanksgiving off, in fact here's a twelve hour shift.
 
2013-11-28 02:57:12 AM
When I was turkey shopping this year there was one monster that was $60, with the club card discount, so I was all ready to question TFA's pricing until I saw they were assuming an 8 pound turkey. The 14 pound bird in my fridge right now was $31, albeit fresh instead of frozen.
 
2013-11-28 02:59:33 AM

Rincewind53: Sudo_Make_Me_A_Sandwich: It's interesting which items are comparable and which are much less expensive. Cheese being less expensive makes sense since the market for skim milk drives down the price, but I would have expected oranges to be much more expensive in 1929; instead, they're about the same cost today. And celery was twice as expensive. Dafuq is up with that?

Supply chains. Oranges and other citrus fruits have been in easy supply since much earlier than 1929. They're not particularly perishable, and they transport easily.

Honestly, this list can pretty much be explained entirely by the fact that this dude didn't invent the refrigerated truck until 1935. If you'll notice, every single item on that list that's much more expensive than today is something that's quickly perishable. They had refrigeration in grocery stores themselves by 1929, but no way to keep things cold on the way TO the store, other than to keep things on blocks of ice. Once the modern refrigerated supply chain came into full swing by the 1940s, prices likely plummeted. I bet if you found a similar list from 1950, you'd see virtually no difference between then and now with the exception of the turkey, which was likely more expensive as America still lacked a system of high-yield factory farming in poultry.

Honestly, the most surprising thing about this list is that prices on the non-perishable goods have mostly stayed exactly the same. You'd expect them to drop because of great production efficiency that has surely occurred since 1929. I have two theories for why they haven't, both likely having an effect; (1) regulatory costs and safety monitoring is much more expensive now than in 1929, and (2) producers are taking a larger cut, viewing the price of certain foods as essentially inelastic for most consumers who aren't bargain-hunting.


"producers are taking a larger cut"
DING DING DING!
 
2013-11-28 03:03:07 AM
So, you're tellin' me that foodstuffs have gotten cheaper, and that inflation stats are based off of the CPI, which adds and removes shiat all the time, and rightly so given that human demands change with progresses in technology?

Nah, you're pullin' my leg!
 
2013-11-28 03:06:40 AM
But what whiskey goes with it?
 
2013-11-28 03:13:01 AM

Ex-Texan: But what whiskey goes with it?


Eagle rare 10 year bourbon
 
2013-11-28 03:16:12 AM
 
2013-11-28 03:19:26 AM

WeenerGord: The Wall Street Crash of 1929, also known as Black Tuesday, and the Stock Market Crash of 1929, began in late October 1929 and was the most devastating stock market crash in the history of the United States, when taking into consideration the full extent and duration of its fallout. The crash signaled the beginning of the 10-year Great Depression that affected all Western industrialized countries.


Your point being?
 
2013-11-28 03:19:43 AM
Mind you, Thanksgiving 1929 was just a few weeks removed from Black Tuesday, when the economy went to hell in a matter of hours, triggering the great depression. It's really no wonder that prices were a little skewed.
 
2013-11-28 03:21:20 AM
and of course, in the time it took for me to make sure I had the right dates and everything, this happened --

WeenerGord: The Wall Street Crash of 1929, also known as Black Tuesday, and the Stock Market Crash of 1929, began in late October 1929 and was the most devastating stock market crash in the history of the United States, when taking into consideration the full extent and duration of its fallout. The crash signaled the beginning of the 10-year Great Depression that affected all Western industrialized countries.

 
2013-11-28 03:23:01 AM
Interesting that a month after the stock market crashed prices were kind of high.
 
2013-11-28 03:26:16 AM
You guys do realize there was severe deflation after the stock market crash in 1929, and that one month was nowhere near enough time to skew prices by any more than (at most) 2.5%?
 
2013-11-28 03:37:13 AM

video man: You guys do realize there was severe deflation after the stock market crash in 1929, and that one month was nowhere near enough time to skew prices by any more than (at most) 2.5%?


and food packages are smaller today to offset perception of higher prices.
 
2013-11-28 03:50:25 AM
I call complete and utter bullshiat on this article.

I work in grocery retail and it would NOT cost only 38$

HELL, a cheap turkey alone is 20$.

I CALL 100% PURE BULLshiat!
 
2013-11-28 03:52:49 AM
oh 8 pound turkey WHICH YOU CANNOT BUY. The price per pound is stupidly off as well. Just no. Whoever wrote this article is so full of shiat.
 
2013-11-28 04:01:30 AM

wallywam1: "producers are taking a larger cut"
DING DING DING!



Who do you define as 'producers'?  Farmers?  Processors?  The distribution company?
 
2013-11-28 04:05:47 AM

video man: WeenerGord: The Wall Street Crash of 1929, also known as Black Tuesday, and the Stock Market Crash of 1929, began in late October 1929 and was the most devastating stock market crash in the history of the United States, when taking into consideration the full extent and duration of its fallout. The crash signaled the beginning of the 10-year Great Depression that affected all Western industrialized countries.

Your point being?


He just discovered Wikipedia.
 
2013-11-28 04:07:34 AM
The Waltons could care less.
 
2013-11-28 04:08:00 AM
Mmmm...

Modern agriculture and logistics.
 
2013-11-28 04:08:32 AM
Interesting idea, sloppy work. Fail on transcribing the 1929 prices accurately, fail on including all the ingredients in her comparison, fail on being consistent with measurement units and quantities. And she and her predecessor both forgot the coffee.

Most people paid almost no income tax in 1929, so multiply those 2013 numbers by about 4/3 to figure out how much you actually have to earn to buy that food.
 
2013-11-28 04:26:47 AM

viscountalpha: oh 8 pound turkey WHICH YOU CANNOT BUY. The price per pound is stupidly off as well. Just no. Whoever wrote this article is so full of shiat.


Meh, you can get 9 lb turkeys at places like Whole Foods. Sure, you might pay as much as you would for a 12 lb anywhere else, but it'll cook faster and you'll throw away less.

Hoopy Frood: Most people paid almost no income tax in 1929, so multiply those 2013 numbers by about 4/3 to figure out how much you actually have to earn to buy that food.


Because everyone in the US pays a roughly 33% income tax.
 
2013-11-28 04:32:02 AM

foxyshadis: throw away less.


You don't understand how men deal with meat in the house, do you?

12 lbs of turkey is like 3 days of turkey eating, tops.

1 lbs of lettuce is mulch.
 
2013-11-28 04:35:58 AM

wallywam1: "producers are taking a larger cut"
DING DING DING!


Because supply and demand didn't exist back then, and business owners weren't greedy.

/rolls eyes.
 
2013-11-28 04:46:03 AM

viscountalpha: oh 8 pound turkey WHICH YOU CANNOT BUY. The price per pound is stupidly off as well. Just no. Whoever wrote this article is so full of shiat.


The two 11-lb frozen turkeys I picked up yesterday (to put in my chest freezer -- we've got a fresh bird this year for Thanksgiving) at Publix, at $0.49/lb, beg to differ. Yep, just over $5 a bird, and they're not too gigantic.
 
2013-11-28 05:26:57 AM
Either TFA is cooking the data, or Safeway here in my state is grossly overpriced. (I suspect it's probably somewhere in the middle.)

A random sampling, i.e. a few items that weren't too hard for my lazy arse to look up:
Turkey: frozen $0.99/lb, fresh $1.99/lb. (100% higher)
Grapes, not prepackaged: $5.98/lb (278% higher)
Gelatin: $2.19 (65% higher)
Quart of milk: $1.79 (29% higher)
16 oz butter: $3.49 (41% higher)
8 oz cheese: $2.99 (99% higher)
1 lb sugar: $1.59 (112% higher)

For that matter, in several places they also ignore the fact that goods are cheaper when you buy a larger quantity/size prepackaged and divide to get the price. If I'd calculated based on buying a 4-lb bag of sugar ($4.29), as they did, it would have only been 43% higher. Though to be fair, these days you often can't find smaller quantities since everything is prepackaged.
 
2013-11-28 05:30:54 AM

foxyshadis: Hoopy Frood: Most people paid almost no income tax in 1929, so multiply those 2013 numbers by about 4/3 to figure out how much you actually have to earn to buy that food.

Because everyone in the US pays a roughly 33% income tax.


Depending on your state, 1/3 isn't abnormal for a median income, give or take a couple of percent. Make $50K in California and you pay more than 1/3 between state and federal, not counting sales taxes on what you actually spend.
 
KIA
2013-11-28 06:28:10 AM

Hoopy Frood: Most people paid almost no income tax in 1929, so multiply those 2013 numbers by about 4/3 to figure out how much you actually have to earn to buy that food.


This.
 
2013-11-28 06:30:43 AM

foxyshadis:

Because everyone in the US pays a roughly 33% income tax.




Well, technically if you include all taxes, fees, etc throughout the system, the average American pays 50% of their income into the tax system, regardless of income bracket.
 
2013-11-28 06:32:43 AM

wallywam1: Rincewind53: Sudo_Make_Me_A_Sandwich: It's interesting which items are comparable and which are much less expensive. Cheese being less expensive makes sense since the market for skim milk drives down the price, but I would have expected oranges to be much more expensive in 1929; instead, they're about the same cost today. And celery was twice as expensive. Dafuq is up with that?

Supply chains. Oranges and other citrus fruits have been in easy supply since much earlier than 1929. They're not particularly perishable, and they transport easily.

Honestly, this list can pretty much be explained entirely by the fact that this dude didn't invent the refrigerated truck until 1935. If you'll notice, every single item on that list that's much more expensive than today is something that's quickly perishable. They had refrigeration in grocery stores themselves by 1929, but no way to keep things cold on the way TO the store, other than to keep things on blocks of ice. Once the modern refrigerated supply chain came into full swing by the 1940s, prices likely plummeted. I bet if you found a similar list from 1950, you'd see virtually no difference between then and now with the exception of the turkey, which was likely more expensive as America still lacked a system of high-yield factory farming in poultry.

Honestly, the most surprising thing about this list is that prices on the non-perishable goods have mostly stayed exactly the same. You'd expect them to drop because of great production efficiency that has surely occurred since 1929. I have two theories for why they haven't, both likely having an effect; (1) regulatory costs and safety monitoring is much more expensive now than in 1929, and (2) producers are taking a larger cut, viewing the price of certain foods as essentially inelastic for most consumers who aren't bargain-hunting.

"producers are taking a larger cut"
DING DING DING!


But is he wrong about why?

I'd assume it was more branding than price inelasticity. Particularly since people are buying more prepared foods.
 
2013-11-28 06:35:55 AM

viscountalpha: I call complete and utter bullshiat on this article.

I work in grocery retail and it would NOT cost only 38$

HELL, a cheap turkey alone is 20$.

I CALL 100% PURE BULLshiat!


Meh. Only if you buy into the idea of cooking up a monster turkey. I picked out one that's slightly over 8 lbs at the local Wally World, and it only set us back about $9. They don't sell too many of the smaller ones, but they're still in there.
 
2013-11-28 06:39:23 AM
Cool Story Bro time.....

My Mother-in-law always cooks Thanksgiving dinner for her family of 10 and she always biatches about it.
So when I joined the family a few years back (I used to be a chef), I offered to help and was quickly turned down.
This year I made a deal with her that if she cooked the turkey, I would do everything else and do it for under $150.00, she laughed and said "go for it".

Menu:

Twice Baked Potatoes with smoked ham chunks (16 ct)
Mashed Potatoes (3lbs)
Dressing (2lbs)
Bacon seared Corn (1 ½ lbs)
Cranberry sauce (2-12oz bags of berries)
Apple cabbage salad (2lbs)
24 Rolls
Stuffed Acorn Squash (stuffed with glazed Granny Smith Apples with a Pistachio crust topping) (8ct)
1 apple Pie
1 pumpkin Pie

Everything made from scratch, Total bill: $128.00
 
2013-11-28 06:43:43 AM

jedikinkoid: Either TFA is cooking the data, or Safeway here in my state is grossly overpriced. (I suspect it's probably somewhere in the middle.)

A random sampling, i.e. a few items that weren't too hard for my lazy arse to look up:
Turkey: frozen $0.99/lb, fresh $1.99/lb. (100% higher)
Grapes, not prepackaged: $5.98/lb (278% higher)
Gelatin: $2.19 (65% higher)
Quart of milk: $1.79 (29% higher)
16 oz butter: $3.49 (41% higher)
8 oz cheese: $2.99 (99% higher)
1 lb sugar: $1.59 (112% higher)

For that matter, in several places they also ignore the fact that goods are cheaper when you buy a larger quantity/size prepackaged and divide to get the price. If I'd calculated based on buying a 4-lb bag of sugar ($4.29), as they did, it would have only been 43% higher. Though to be fair, these days you often can't find smaller quantities since everything is prepackaged.


Those are closer to the prices I pay too. The article writer must be listing loss-leader sales on meat and dairy.
So the real conclusion should be, "Thanksgiving dinner costs roughly the same as it did in 1929, adjusting for inflation."

Oh, and quality? In 1929, did they sell meat with "up to 15% solution of saline" added? And did it taste like salted chalk?
I'm betting the produce is better now though, due to improved storage and shipping, so maybe it evens out.
 
2013-11-28 06:45:09 AM
Forgot to add the 18pack of Heineken..... was included in the $128.00
 
2013-11-28 06:51:14 AM

viscountalpha: oh 8 pound turkey WHICH YOU CANNOT BUY. The price per pound is stupidly off as well. Just no. Whoever wrote this article is so full of shiat.


I love your passion for turkey
 
2013-11-28 06:55:13 AM

tshauk: Cool Story Bro time.....

My Mother-in-law always cooks Thanksgiving dinner for her family of 10 and she always biatches about it.
So when I joined the family a few years back (I used to be a chef), I offered to help and was quickly turned down.
This year I made a deal with her that if she cooked the turkey, I would do everything else and do it for under $150.00, she laughed and said "go for it".
...
Everything made from scratch, Total bill: $128.00



You Rock.

My philosophy is, holidays were meant to be enjoyed. When it's at my place, I cook as much as I can while remaining cheerful, no more. If that's a roasted bird, mashed potatoes, pan gravy and canned versions of everything else, so be it. Somebody wants to bring a pie or side dish? YES, please.

/ Heard enough from holiday martyrs growing up. Enough!
 
2013-11-28 07:02:11 AM

E5bie: tshauk: Cool Story Bro time.....

My Mother-in-law always cooks Thanksgiving dinner for her family of 10 and she always biatches about it.
So when I joined the family a few years back (I used to be a chef), I offered to help and was quickly turned down.
This year I made a deal with her that if she cooked the turkey, I would do everything else and do it for under $150.00, she laughed and said "go for it".
...
Everything made from scratch, Total bill: $128.00


You Rock.

My philosophy is, holidays were meant to be enjoyed. When it's at my place, I cook as much as I can while remaining cheerful, no more. If that's a roasted bird, mashed potatoes, pan gravy and canned versions of everything else, so be it. Somebody wants to bring a pie or side dish? YES, please.

/ Heard enough from holiday martyrs growing up. Enough!



I totally forgot I made 2 Gravies.... Sawmill Gravy and a Mushroom Gravy.
 
2013-11-28 07:29:17 AM

video man: WeenerGord: The Wall Street Crash of 1929, also known as Black Tuesday, and the Stock Market Crash of 1929, began in late October 1929 and was the most devastating stock market crash in the history of the United States, when taking into consideration the full extent and duration of its fallout. The crash signaled the beginning of the 10-year Great Depression that affected all Western industrialized countries.

Your point being?


Obama Time Machine
 
2013-11-28 07:36:48 AM

jedikinkoid: Either TFA is cooking the data, or Safeway here in my state is grossly overpriced. (I suspect it's probably somewhere in the middle.)

A random sampling, i.e. a few items that weren't too hard for my lazy arse to look up:
Turkey: frozen $0.99/lb, fresh $1.99/lb. (100% higher)
Grapes, not prepackaged: $5.98/lb (278% higher)
Gelatin: $2.19 (65% higher)
Quart of milk: $1.79 (29% higher)
16 oz butter: $3.49 (41% higher)
8 oz cheese: $2.99 (99% higher)
1 lb sugar: $1.59 (112% higher)

For that matter, in several places they also ignore the fact that goods are cheaper when you buy a larger quantity/size prepackaged and divide to get the price. If I'd calculated based on buying a 4-lb bag of sugar ($4.29), as they did, it would have only been 43% higher. Though to be fair, these days you often can't find smaller quantities since everything is prepackaged.


Occasionally, I'm somewhere that it seems like a quick trip into a Safeway or an Albertson's seems like a good idea. I spend just a few minutes walking down the ailses, and end up leaving. Their prices are so high it makes angry that they think they can get away with charging them.

2 quick CSB's:
1.) I have a friend who is a carless, disabled, single parent. She gets a certain amount of food stamps per month, and walks to the Safeway down the street. Buys the same groceries every month, doesn't eat for the last 4-7 days, so the kid can eat. I took her to Winco a few years back. When she was done, she had $80 left. She cried. Now I have to take her shopping every month...

2.) Daughter's dating a guy that's a bit of a food snob. They moved in for a while, I take him to Winco & Walmart for groceries, instead of the food snob stores. At first he was really disgruntled about it. He's recently commented that not only do they have most of the same brands, but they way cost less...
 
2013-11-28 07:41:14 AM
Doh!:
ailses=aisles
Their prices are so high it makes me angry
 
2013-11-28 08:01:41 AM

Alonjar: foxyshadis:

Because everyone in the US pays a roughly 33% income tax.

Well, technically if you include all taxes, fees, etc throughout the system, the average American pays 50% of their income into the tax system, regardless of income bracket.


Because let's include estate taxes, which normal people aren't exempt from. Let's ignore sales tax exemptions, like groceries. Let's include property tax without weighting, which is only paid by at best 66% of people since the housing crash. In fact, let's just include every indirect tax from anyone you do business with, like corporate taxes, because that's not disingenuous at all.

And most of all, let's use the average, instead of the median, because the steady transfer of wealth to the top earners over the last two generations hasn't at all thrown off the amount "average" people pay versus the median. The "average" American in those terms hasn't been Joe the Plumber in decades, it's now fund manager Madoff.

This tax analysis scaremongering is a load of bunk. I pay a solid ~20-25% depending on the year, including sales tax, and that's annoying enough. But I'm already above the median income, there's no way the median can be taxed over 50%.
 
2013-11-28 08:11:47 AM

jedikinkoid: For that matter, in several places they also ignore the fact that goods are cheaper when you buy a larger quantity/size prepackaged and divide to get the price. If I'd calculated based on buying a 4-lb bag of sugar ($4.29), as they did, it would have only been 43% higher. Though to be fair, these days you often can't find smaller quantities since everything is prepackaged.


Yeah but why wouldn't you use the quantities most people actually buy?  Except for people who have no means to store food or never cook at all (who are probably not cooking Thanksgiving dinner anyway) the 1/4 of a 4 lb bag price is what most people are actually paying for sugar.

He's got all sorts of other problems though.  A quart of water is about 2 lbs so there's no way a quart of potatoes is 5.  Any turkey and cheese you can find for those prices I don't want to eat.  1 squash or 1 apple are pretty ambiguous measurements - what kind, how big?

And it would really be better to adjust the whole thing to median incomes instead of inflation.
 
2013-11-28 08:21:45 AM
Do those numbers factor in subsidies and modern farming techniques?

DNRTFA
 
2013-11-28 08:43:36 AM

ecmoRandomNumbers: Sudo_Make_Me_A_Sandwich: Cheese being less expensive makes sense since the market for skim milk drives down the price

Also, cows being grain-fed with loads of antibiotics vs. grass-fed. Artificial coloring is added to lots of cheeses because the beta-carotene from the grass isn't concentrated as a pigment into the final product.


Cheddar cheese was never orange and it is not dyed that way because of factory farming.  It was a marketing effort to distinguish it on store shelves.  It worked too because now when I see orange cheese I don't buy it.
 
2013-11-28 08:44:13 AM
So, how much would todays shopping cart cost in 1929 dollars?
 
2013-11-28 09:08:20 AM

viscountalpha: oh 8 pound turkey WHICH YOU CANNOT BUY. The price per pound is stupidly off as well. Just no. Whoever wrote this article is so full of shiat.


Frozen turkeys at my local chain are 59 cents/lb. Didn't buy one, but the prices aren't really off.
 
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