site stats WhizGidget Wonders...
Thursday, April 24, 2008
Shortages and Rationing...
...The price of everything is rising these days - gas, milk, bread. And we're allegedly running out of water in the East Bay so rationing is going to come into effect this summer they're saying. We've already gone through gasoline rationing in the 70s and I hope to never have to go through that. If farmers keep changing crops over to corn in order to make money on the ethanol situation, then I suspect corn prices will rise exponentially - or rationing will come into play.

But apparently something that used to be in somewhat plentiful supply is now going to undergo rationing. Something that you wouldn't normally think of.

Rice. Yes, rice.

Rice rationing has actually come to the Valley. You see, the price of rice has been increasing steadily over the last year or so due to increased demand on a supply that hasn't really changed for the better. There's been a drought situation in one part of the world that has affected rice growth. There have been trade restrictions that have come into play.

All this leads to a lack of rice. So, wouldn't you think that a decrease in the supply would just normally lead to an increase in the overall price of the product? Basic economics at play, right?

Rice *has* increased in price. In some cases, like jasmine and basmati, the price has doubled. Standard long grain or calrose grown in California hasn't suffered as significant a change. It's mostly the aromatic imports that are suffering here. As someone who grew up eating long grain and graduated to calrose in college it's not as much of an effect on me, except that I love basmati rice and always make sure to have some on hand.

Here in Valley we have a huge Asian population (roughly 30%) and rice is a staple in that cuisine. Costco is rationing bags of rice based on your prior purchase history - I knew that that was going to come in handy for them someday for things besides marketing purposes. Makes me wonder if there's money in being able to purchase a 50 pound bag of rice or two because we have *never* bought rice at Costco. 20 pound bags will last us a good 6-12 months, so why 50 pounds? I can see the need when you're a family that eats it daily as part of the diet.

Now I sit here and wonder why I didn't just buy that 50 pound bag of basmati last time I was there. And I was tempted to as well because I love basmati rice. We're in a situation in my household where we need another bag of rice. And I'm thinking that stocking up in case of something large like an earthquake that we've been told should happen any week now wouldn't be a bad idea. But the price is just going up and up now.

A comment in the newspaper I read mentioned that the price of a 50 pound bag of jasmine rice was $20 and now it's $34 - a $14 change in two weeks. That's free enterprise at work there more than anything else because there's nothing that would warrant that sort of increase in so short a time.

What really hurts is that the price of rice is going up at restaurants now. Local restaurants are either increasing their prices, or considering rice surcharges. So if you have rice as a side dish, you might get charged a little more. Or if your rice bowl needs refilling at your local Chinese food joint, it's going to increase there too. Makes me wonder if the fried rice is going to be filled with more vegetables and meat now instead of rice because of the rationing that's going on, and what kind of food rationing we're going to see show up next. Will it be tomatoes? Garlic? Asparagus? Cauliflower...

...go ahead and ration cauliflower. Anyone want my share?