Basket Cases

Each year the Retail Prices Index and the Consumer Prices Index are given a spring clean, to ensure that they truly represents what the country is buying and consuming. Anything that has proved particular popular in the last year – racking up sales of about £400 million enters the list of 650 products and services. Items that have fallen out of favour with consumers are quietly dropped.

What sort of representative shopping basket is that?  Why don’t we have a “650 Items or Less” Queue?

We’re all moving up, much more refined, it seems, and so much lonelier… smartphones replace mobiles, oven-ready joints replace non oven-ready ones, sparkling wine replaces six packs of beer, MDF replaces hardboard.  Out go the fags and sterilising the cat, in comes the hair conditioner and the dating agencies.

Every year I peer into this ‘basket’ of consumption and wonder if it shouldn’t be the other way around.  Me there in the basket consumed by all that stuff that I MUST have to take part in this game of monitised identity…

Changes to the inflation basket 2011

IN
Smartphone handsets and their apps
Dating agency fees
Hair conditioner
Oven-ready joint
Dried fruit
Sparkling wine
Medium density fibreboard (MDF)
Craft kit

 

OUT
Mobile phone downloads
Pork shoulder
Vending machine cigarettes
Rose bushes
Vet fees for spaying a kitten
Hardboard

 

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