Thursday, May 22, 2008

Quartered & Dollared to Death

[Cost of Living] When I notice a business starting to price gouge, I tend to think, “That’s it, I’m done patronizing that place.” And I stay away.

But it’s getting harder to do that.

For example, a while back, Utah Transit Authority raised its monthly pass to $50, the same amount we City Weekly plebes paid to park our cars each month. So I said, “Up yours, UTA. I’m now driving my car to work.” With gas, and wear and tear, I paid more to do so, but it gave me pleasure not to drop my coins into UTA coffers.

But then the parking lot—let me be clear: the Diamond Parking lot—behind the old Zephyr Club raised its rates to $90 (!) in January 2008. So I said, “Up yours, you thieves at Diamond Parking. I am migrating with the rest of City Weekly to the more reasonably priced Ampco lot east of Squatters.

In the meantime, prices at the pumps began their breathtaking ascent. And I wanted to show my outrage at Big Oil, but to do so, I had to come crawling back to UTA. Only now, a monthly pass costs $58.50. And if UTA gets its proposed “surcharge,” it will go to $66.50 in July.

So where does that leave those of us who vote with our pocketbooks? It leaves us to save up for a decent pair of walking shoes and to get real interested in alternatives to the internal-combustion engine.

Oh, I hear you, bike people! Yes, I could pedal and have done so. But bikes aren’t an everyday mode of transport in light of the riotous Wasatch Front weather we live at the mercy of. Plus, we all have appointments across town, trips to the grocery store and children to schlep around. It’s nice when it works out to ride but you can’t depend on it.

Thus, we’re waking up to thrilling and freaky times. Since everything we consume is highly oil-dependent, everything we consume will soon cost a lot more than it does today. And since it’s not practical or meaningful to boycott all businesses, it might just be time to take that wild leap and figure out how we’re going to live in a post-$5/gallon world. Any suggestions? (Jerre Wroble)


  1. Do you have any choice? Watch it crumble - deal with the aftermath.

  2. I agree that with kids to schlep around, it's really hard to do the alternatives -- but I think we're going to have to "adapt or die".

    Right now I live in SLC and I pay more in rent, but am closer to everything I need -- and here's hoping I don't get priced out of the city.

    I currently have it set up so that I can walk my child to daycare (1 and a half blocks) then walk to work (about 9 blocks) and do the reverse in the evenings. This took some doing as I was paying quite a bit less for a daycare that I had to drive to.

    Where we currently live, I can easily walk to Whole Foods (about 3 blocks), to Trax (about 2 blocks), and to many downtown events (5 to 8 blocks). We could survive without a car if we had to, but as it is we get by nicely with 1 small and old car for 4 people and don't fill up more than once every two weeks for our 10 gallon tank.

    As a blogger put it in response to your request -- it's going to be a whole lifestyle change.


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