I know “what the hell” a Blizzard is unlike Donald Trump.
For the past 108 weeks — except during week-long hiking trips as I’m not that far gone I’d drive 2 hours one-way from Death Valley to the nearest Dairy Queen outside of Las Vegas — I’ve partaken in a large mocha chip Blizzard on Wednesday evenings.
That’s right around 18 gallons worth of Blizzards based on 21-ounce servings in just over two years and 54 hours on a rowing machine to negate, but who’s counting?
The current 108-week streak — with an asterisk for vacations in places that make up for the lack of Dairy Queens with black bear encounters and fresh mountain lion tracks — is my longest yet.
I have a tendency to be overly predictable at times.
I’m the guy that a Save Mart cashier years ago told me she could recite my weekly purchase by heart — 60 yogurts, seven bagged salads, four boxes of Boca Burgers, three cans of almonds, seven apples, and seven bananas.
She nailed it.
I’m fairly rigid in what I eat. And while some think — queue up the laughter — it is “eating clean” or healthy, I’m human. I have my indulgences.
And one of them is a 21-ounce mocha chip Blizzard every Wednesday unless the equivalent of high water and wild horses keeps me away.
It’s why I might be an authority of sorts on Blizzardomics.
That’s not to be confused with Bidenomics.
Polls say people aren’t buying Bidenomnics.
But they sure are buying Blizzardomics.
Case in point.
A large Blizzard on Aug. 4, 2021 cost $6.82, including tax.
It jumped to $7.03 on Sept. 1, 2021.
It then went up to $7.24 on April 21, 2022.
Next it was at $7.35 on Sept. 6, 2022.
It reached $7.57 on May 17, 2023
And this week it reached $8.64.
That’s just north of a 20 percent hike in two years.
The last jump wasn’t a price increase per se.
Apparently, the umbrella Dairy Queen company hired a United Airlines financial executive.
There is now a 99 cent add on fee for switching out an ingredient for an available ingredient such as coffee syrup.
It’s because it is not on the software program for entering transactions.
Thanks to modern banking apps that allow you to go back to the dawn of Bidenomics and before to pull up digital records of your transactions without having to rifle through paper statements stored in shoeboxes, we all can get a timeline of expenses.
Some call it easy banking.
It’s an apt description given you can get an overall view of the concept of “easy come, easy go” with a few taps on a smartphone screen.
Most of us know things cost more.
The luxury of buying one item with an ATM card is that you can track it.
When eggs closed in on $7.50 a dozen in California, everyone was talking about it.
If it wasn’t for the huge surge in the price, eggs wouldn’t have stood out in the rising tide of product costs when damages are tallied at the cash register.
As an aside, since I do not buy eggs, when I saw them last week in WinCo for $1.83, I jokingly wondered outloud if that was per egg.
A nearby shopper, without missing a beat, said “give it time.”
That said, it is clear the $10 Blizzard is on the way.
And it may be sooner than one might think.
Right now, I’m not going to be denying myself a mid-week pleasure.
Corporate America, though, can rest assured there is a psychological price point somewhere hidden in my head.
An example, if I felt uncomfortable with my monthly financial cushion after on-going expenses, the pending $16 a month increase in my garbage bills coupled with PG&E and other such costs may make me rethink by Blizzard habit.
I could, as an example, handle it as I did the trim my pocketbook took on haircuts at Scores.
Prior to the pandemic, I’d get my haircut monthly for $16 and toss in a $4 tip.
Now I go no more often than every two months.
The inability to see a licensed barber/stylist during the pandemic without risking a jail term helped me come to peace with wearing my hair a tad longer.
And it has really helped my bottom line now that Scores is charging $30 for a haircut.
Given I appreciate it when people pay attention to what they are doing with my hair, I toss in a $5 tip.
It sounds like I’m spending like a drunken sailor, but I’m not.
Even with tips, what was costing me $20 on a per month basis is now costing me $15 given the doubling of time between cuts.
I am not whining.
I am living within my means. In a few months when my last car payment is made, my only reoccurring debt will be the last nine years on a mortgage.
I do not live in another universe. There will likely be a point in the future I will need a car loan or some unexpected large expense pops up.
Experian reports the average car payment is now $725 a month.
Of course, that’s because Kelley Blue Book reports the average car price as of January has topped $49,500.
Rest assured, if I buy new again decisions by Ford, GM et al to eschew sedans and low-priced vehicles will likely push me toward Toyota or Kia.
That’s the danger of price increase for companies.
They have to recover their costs.
They have to make a profit.
But they also have to keep customers.
Sometimes the strategy with automobile manufacturers is to forgo the lower end and concentrate on higher cost items where buyers add on bells and whistles that provide bigger profit margins.
Kind of like the large Blizzard with add-ons for the Mocha chip switch out.
There is a point — I just don’t know what it is yet —— when a Blizzard is no longer worth the price.
And when that happens I doubt I’d reduce the frequency of Dairy Queen trips.
Given there is nothing else on the menu that would get me to keep going to DQ on a regular basis, I’m more likely to find another weekly vice to indulge in.
Jack in the Box — as an example – has killer large strawberry milkshakes with whipped cream and cherry for $5.99 before tax.
I once drove fully loaded versions of a Firebird, Volvo 760, and a Datsun 280ZX.
I now drive a Ford Focus.
Jack in the Box may be my replacement for Dairy Queen.
For now, the weekly large Blizzard indulgence is worth every penny,
But based on experience, if there are too many more pennies added on I’m likely to move on to something else.
Everyone has their own threshold of pain when it comes to how they manage to live within their means based on their circumstances.
It is why Blizzardomics — and whatever personalized micro-economics that are employed by 131.2 million American households — is more relevant than Bidenomics and whatever Trump declares his economic vision might be.