Archived Story

New Year’s Resolutions for 2014

Published 7:11pm Friday, January 3, 2014

We’ve got hoarders here in Alexander City.

I know this for two very simple reasons: you can’t buy nice looking, cheap +2.00 reading glasses at any drug store in town and you can’t buy a .22 caliber bullet here either.

Let me restate that – “can’t” may be a little too strong – you may be able to buy them for short periods of time, like immediately after the delivery truck is unloaded but before it leaves the store parking lot. But on any given day, I can drive around town and search hard and find neither.

Sometimes if you ask, you’ll find that there is a spare box of either in the back behind the counter somewhere, but that’s certainly not a given.

I know our fine store managers are trying their best to stock up on $9 readers and .22 bullets. It’s not their fault.

The problem is that so many people want these two items, and they’re afraid to let them sit on a shelf when they see them.

So they buy them.

Immediately.

As many as possible.

And then the +2.00 readers and the boxes of .22 long rifle bullets sit on a shelf at their house until they need them.

That’s pretty much the definition of “hoarder.”

Most people have hoarder tendencies. Next time a hurricane’s heading our way, just check the shelves for white bread, milk and orange juice. But that’s a temporary hoarder mentality, based on a short-term threat of Mother Nature causing an empty belly.

In the long term, the basic laws of economics – supply and demand – are supposed to take care of these shortages. That’s what I learned in college. As hoarder demand increases, so does manufacturing until the hoarders’ shelves are sagging under the weight of reading glasses and .22 bullets, and then we buy-‘em-as-we-need-‘em shoppers will find both items on the shelves and manufacturing will begin to slack off.

I mean, a guy can only wear one pair of reading glasses at a time, and while you shoot more than one bullet when you go hunting or have target practice, most folks won’t shoot more than a pocket-sized box or two at a time.

The demand just shouldn’t be that great.

I understand that those of us who are losing our up-close vision also run the risk of losing some memory power. Still, after you have two spare pairs in your glove compartment, a pair for every jacket and a couple for your desk drawer, why do you need more?

For some reason, standard economic theory just isn’t working with cheater glasses and bullets. We’re in the midst of a long, long shortage.

So in response, I think I’ll have to change my buying habits.

Shoppers be warned: from now on, I’m going to buy all the .22 bullets and +2.00 reading glasses I can get my hands on.

If you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em.

I just hope my eyes don’t get any worse after I’ve got a shelf full of No. 2s.

Boone is publisher of The Outlook.

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