Wisconsin News

We the People: Dealing with the Rising Price of Goods

VIROQUA, Wis.-- High gas prices continue to dominate headlines. The issue has even become one of the main arguing points in the presidential election.

We continue a new month-long series called "We the People Wisconsin: Economy 2012." The statewide project takes a look at a variety of issues from the perspective of people from all different backgrounds around the state.

The person WKBT will be following over the next several months leading up to the November election is 71 year old Palmer Hoffland of Viroqua. Palmer is a retired banker who lives at home with his wife, Martha. He has two grown children and four grandchildren. We recently caught up with Palmer to get his thoughts on the rising price of goods.

A trip to the grocery store or to fill up a tank of gas just isn't the same any more.  "Gasoline, of course you talk to any old timer and they'll remember 25 cent a gallon gasoline," says Palmer.

Gone are the good old days. For retiree Palmer Hoffland of Viroqua, it's hard to know who to blame for the rising prices. "I've always heard, felt, a part of the problem with the prices of commodities is there's a fair amount of speculation going on. I doubt very much that the major oil companies are sitting there oh lets raise the price 2 cents a gallon today. I don't think that happens."


But blame aside, it stings the wallet nonetheless.  Palmer says, "well, you don't like it. I find myself going to get gasoline and figuring ahead a week and what am I going to be doing and if I'm not going to be driving a lot, what's the point of putting 60 bucks worth of gas in the tank and let it sit there."

The higher prices at the pump are also translating into some sticker shock on grocery store shelves. "It's funny how that happens, you don't really pay attention to it and then all of the sudden you look at a box of cereal and think my gosh, I can't believe that price. A lot of the basic things are the ones that are up the highest; the meat, the cereal and the dairy products," says Palmer.

And while he admits dishing out the extra cash really hasn't forced him to change his spending habits, he's not one to turn his head at saving a buck or two. "I like oatmeal so the grocery store out here, their brand of the oatmeal is about $1.50 less than the name brand oatmeal. To me it tastes the same so I'll save the $1.50."

But Palmer worries these higher prices we're all paying for goods, especially gas, may be the new norm. "We always used to think, oh they'll come down again, there was always this cycle, up and down, up and down, but boy I'm almost wondering now if up is where we're going to stay and then the next sep will be a little higher.  I don't think we're going to see that big drop down."

We'll continue to follow Palmer over the next several months to get his thoughts on a number of other issues. If you would like to hear what the other participants in the "We the People" project have to say, check it out right here on news8000.com's politics page.

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