Saturday, July 25, 2015

Whatever Happened to the 25 cent movie?

My four year old grand daughter, Bellamy, just came for a visit from Ft. Myers. There is only so much you can do to entertain a four year old for a week. After healthy doses of visits from cousins, dips in the pool, trips to the park, trips to Sweet Frog’s, etc. we finally decided on a movie. That is a nice cool way to spend a hot, July afternoon. So her Nana and I and Bellamy were off to AMC in the Tallahassee mall for a showing of Minions.

Now, Nana and Pop are senior citizens and as I mentioned Bellamy is only four. Cost of this two hour excursion? $30.00 !!!! Admission was $17 and refreshments came to a tidy $13. Only Bellamy had refreshments. A small popcorn, bag of M&M’s and a small lemonade. What the what ?!?

It is sometimes hard to keep abreast of the perception of time. However, in my recollection, I clearly recall going to the movie and getting 50 cents from Mom and Dad to cover the cost. That was more than enough. Admission 25 cents, candy bar 5 cents and a coke ten cents. Why I had a dime left over.

I suppose that I must sound sort of like Methusaleh, however, I am only 69 years of age. I clearly remember going to work at Kwik Chek for 75 cents an hour back in the 60’s. It was hard to spend all the money I made on that part time job. I thought to myself that if I ever could get to a point where I could generate $15,000 per year on some sort of job I could live like a king. I clearly remember going to work for DuPont in 1972. I started at $7800.00 per year with the chance to make another $1500 to 2000 in bonus money. I had a company car and my expenses were covered by a $15 per diem. For $15, I could stay in a Holiday Inn for $7.95 for a night, eat a nice dinner for $4-5 bucks and breakfast maybe $1.50. When I left DuPont I was making north of $100k per year. Expenses were all picked up via a corporate AMX card. A hotel was $100 per night, dinner $25 and breakfast $10 minimally. That was over a thirty year career. And guess what, I was definitely not living like a king. I had three kids in college all at one time, a mortgage, car payment, and a few credit cards.

Now that I am retired I just seem to watch the dollar go speeding by me at an advanced rate. I make 10 times what I made when I first started with DuPont and don’t even have to get out of bed for it. Guess what, I am still not living like a king. I am a Medicare participant. I swallow a bunch of pills which seem to keep me functioning. I went to get a diabetes med filled the other day. The normal co-pay has been $45 for 30 days supply. They tell me it is now $162 for the same supply. I have for the first time run into the phenomenon called the “donut hole” in my prescription plan. Seems that once you have spent $2900 in the plan year your coverage changes and you have to pick up more of it. Someone at my insurance provider explained it all to me and once I get to $4700 on the year the copays go back down again. Get out of town ! Do you realize that is about 60% of what my first job paid me? “ No sir, I do not realize that, however do you realize that it is now 2015?”

I started to rehearse the movie cost scenario to her but somehow I came to realize that she would be unimpressed. They tell me that our national debt is somewhere around $18 trillion dollars. Are you kidding me? First off how do you conceptualize one trillion dollars? I remember being a college junior and Colonel Andrews who taught me economics at Huntingdon College discussed how much one billion dollars was. He said that if Julius Caesar had a billion dollars in 43 BC and spent it at the rate of $1,000 per day that he still would not have spent half of it by our time which was 1968. He also said that if you were to stack it in $100 dollar bills that it would make 3 stacks the height of the Washington monument. Now I believe that one trillion dollars is 1,000 billion dollars. That is a lot of Washington monuments.

Oh well, I guess I will give up trying to take it all in. I would just like to figure out how I am going to make it when that national debt gets to $100 trillion. Maybe by that time Bellamy will be in a position to take her Nana and me to the movies. I am definitely having popcorn and some M&M’s on her.