I’d like to know what is going on here. (No, not the SDMB).
In 1973 or 4 the major oil crunch hit and gas prices soared. There were big sots on TV informing us what crude oil was used for besides making cars go and the numbers were impressive. Prices of many things went up, but, interestingly, only things directly related to automobiles, like oil, tranny fluid, and such. Other price increases were generated by businesses requiring lots of fuel, like trucking, and power companies. Those two alone cascaded other price increases right down the line, as expected.
We learned that we needed to conserve and recycle. So, how come the prices of things which use the most petrochemicals, like plastics never went up? They churned out disposable plastic razors by the ton during the worst of times and never increased the cost. Plastic utensils, like sporks and picnic items, again produced by the ton, never went up in cost and neither did the cost of bubble packaged toys or items.
Manufacturers were asked to not out an item the size of your pinkie in a bubble display with a 8 inch, colorful card on it or pack a single item like a shot glass in a 10 inch box, but they ignored people, counting on the visual psychology to make you think you’re getting your money’s worth via the packaging. Like selling you discount toilet paper and making it look good by loose rolling it on the tube to puff it up. Like the grocery store changing the sticker on out of date chicken and reducing the price to make you think you’re getting a healthy bargain.
Nothing made of plastic, with the exception of the car industry parts, went up in price and they all use byproducts from crude oil. So, why was this? In fact, during the crunch years and even now, companies are developing more and more plastic based disposable items.
Like lady disposable razors, plastic lined diapers, soda in plastic bottles, Tuna in metallic plastic sacks, disposable, plastic cameras, disposable lighters, though 1 brand sells a refillable, disposable plastic lighter. I own two.
Plastic razors are hard to recycle, and only a portion of the plastic food containers are also, and both do not deteriorate readily when tossed out. Styrofoam, using petrochemicals by the shipload, never went up in price, nor did plastic covered disposable drink cups. Plastic ‘paper’ and plastic picnic plates never went up and Walmart has become the King of cheap plastic tableware from utensils to mugs, even table cloths.
Book prices jumped, why, I don’t know unless the printing ink uses petrochemicals like newsprint does. Gasoline did not jump in cost and it is mainly petrochemicals. The cost of tires jumped up across the board, and, interestingly enough, the price of synthetic oil has come down. Plastic children’s toys did not jump, but every gallon of fuel did.
Now, either these companies producing plastics are making such enormous profits that they chose not to increase their costs or somebody was lying to us about the seriousness of the crude shortage.
What do you think?