Wednesday, August 30, 2017

There have always been people seeking to save a penny or two on pop buys

I can’t help but wonder what my late mother would be saying these days, what with the Cook County tax on sweetened beverages that has boosted the price of pop significantly.
Outrage! Really?. Photographs by Gregory Tejeda

There are the people who are getting all hysterical about the fact that some people are choosing to shop at supermarkets and other stores just across the Cook County line – giving a boost to stores in suburban Lake and Will counties and even over in Lake County, Ind. (which is the only surrounding county that actually borders Chicago proper).

BUT THE IDEA of making a trip to stock up on pop was nothing new for my mother. It was an idea she had been doing for decades.

I can remember as a small child having to accompany my mother when she and a friend (who owned a truck) would make special trips to those shops that exist right on the Illinois/Indiana state line.

They’re the ones that boast you can avoid paying Illinois taxes when you stock up on your cheap cigarettes and fireworks, along with assorted carbonated beverages.

For my mother, the latter was always the attraction. We’d stock up on several cases which usually would last several months. My mother always felt the cost savings made the trip worthwhile.

EVEN IF IT meant one had to get used to generic brands of pop to drink. Although when one is a kid and pop is mostly something sweet that gives you gas, it doesn’t really matter too much.

But I suspect if my mother were confronted with the people who now are behaving as though they have discovered a new concept by traveling to a place like Highland Park or Hammond, Ind., in order to buy pop and avoid paying the penny per ounce tax, she’d snicker at them.

They’re merely doing something she (and people like her) had been doing for years.
People have been coming for decades to places like this for cheap pop

About the only difference is that these shops (which still exist) deal in those generic brands. If you want to buy the name brands of carbonated beverages with sugary taste to them, you need to find a full-fledged supermarket. Although even some of them are trying to score points amongst would-be pop shoppers.

PERSONALLY, MY THOUGHT is that some people are determined to claim they saved a few cents on their purchases, no matter how miniscule the savings turn out to be. It might be over-stating it to say they’re just cheap, but there would be truth to that attitude.

The idea that if Cook County were to rescind this pop tax that they’d suddenly stop making such shopping purchases elsewhere is silly. Besides, the county has financial obligations it must meet – the public outcry would be worse if county health services were slashed due to a lack of revenue. We're likely stuck with the pop tax!

If anything, I’d be more interested in seeing if anyone is keeping track of fast-food joints and other restaurant-type places that provide pop as a drink to go along with their meals.

As recently as Tuesday, I stopped off for lunch at a White Castle. Three cheeseburgers and a Coca-Cola – and my receipt indicated that the pop had a $0.21 tax added on to the total bill because of the pop.

SHOW ME EVIDENCE that people are now demanding water or some other non-sweetened beverage to go along with their fast food and maybe I’ll be convinced that this tax is having an impact.
How much would people whine if Cook Co.cut services?

Particularly if it persuades people to eat less last food. Although that might actually be something for their own good, and that of society's public health, to tell you the truth.

But until that occurs, I’m going to be convinced that the people most outspoken about the pop tax are the ones amongst our society who are just inclined to complain about everything – particularly how much more things cost now compared to their childhood.

My mother was doing this years ago, and she didn’t have a pop tax to complain about.


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