Rising prices of food items PDF Print E-mail
Monday, 27 August 2018 14:42

By Remedios F. Marmoleño

For years now I have done the family marketing chore in a local market. A number of stall keepers –selling vegetables, meat, eggs and fish have become friends I know by name and they too know me by name. I do not consider doing the marketing for the family as an unwelcome chore. In fact I look forward to each marketing day as a chance to share some tidbits of news with friends. I also get to see people I have known for years, doing their own marketing, and it is always a pleasant thing to say hello to them.

The economic reports in the newspapers mention about the higher than projected inflation rate. Early in the year the inflation forecast was something like 4.2% but in July it was recalculated to be somewhere in the vicinity of 6%. My own reaction is to say, “You don’t have to tell me. I know that from the cost of fish.” And this is one reason marketing is not as enjoyable as it used to be.

Pork has remained steady in price. Chicken is about P20 more per kilo than it was at the beginning of the year. The cost of eggs has also gone up. Vegetables –pechay and mustard leaves especially- are now P10 per bundle instead of the usual P5. But what has really gone up in my observation is the price of fish.

I am on a bantering relationship with most of the fish vendors in the market I go to. One teases me by saying he has to support three wives so I should no longer bargain to lower the cost of a kilo of tuna. If I tell one vendor I can’t buy from him anymore that day because I don’t have enough money he tells me to take the fish and pay next time I am in the market again. And I tease him saying I like the kind of “utang” that I don’t have to pay later. Perhaps my relationship with these friends in the market is on a very peripheral level but it makes me feel good to connect with them even at this level. I am still in contact with fellow human beings.

Friendly as I am to my various “suki” I can’t help but rue the higher cost of food items. A kilo of talakitok which I used to get for P160-180 a kilo now goes for P20 or P30 more per kilo. Caballas which I used to buy for P120 a kilo is now P160. The weather of course is also a causative factor in the cost of fish. I kid my fish vendor friends by telling them I may have to save money by eating chicken or pork instead, because both are cheaper than fish like talakitok.