Friday, April 21, 2017

Three Dollars and Eighty Cents was a Lot of Money!

In the "Vic and Sade" episode “Milton’s Dirt in Fruit Jars” of 4-15-40,  Rush explains his idea for a business venture to Vic.  The idea is to supply Milton Welch with additional jars of dirt.   Milton is collecting a jar of dirt from every state in the union (48 states at the time).   Uncle Fletcher wasn’t in this episode but somehow I hear him saying “Iowa, Vermont, Florida, Virginia, all them states, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Nebraska, sure, all them states.”  Milton only has 10 of the 48 states in his collection so far and Rush hopes to leverage Vic’s connections in the Lodge and at the Consolidated Kitchenware Company to provide the remaining 38.   Adding Washington D.C. makes 39!  At 10 cents per jar it’s a windfall for Rush.  There’s a lot of talk about of the cost of things as Vic slowly and delicately dispels Rush’s idea. 

The accounting looks something like this:
                                                                  One Jar                                              39 Jars
Gross Sales                                                $0.10                                                  $3.90

Cost of Goods
Postage to state (1 oz)                   $0.03                                                  $1.17
Notary Fee                                     $0.25                                                  $9.75
Return postage  (30 oz)                 $0.90                                                  $35.10
Net Profit (Loss)                                      ($1.08/jar)                                          ($42.12)

·        A filled canning jar weighs about 30 oz.
·        Package postage is 3 cents/oz. 

So this endeavor would have resulted in a net loss of over $40 for poor Rush. 

I recall playing this episode for my son when he was only 6 or 7 years old.  I think the light went on in his head too, but he realized that his problem was going to be the lack of a customer!

Let’s look at what this would cost in 2017. 
            Cost of Goods                               One Jar                                             
Postage to state (1 oz)                    $0.49                 Standard postal letter rate                                         
Notary Fee                                      $5.00                 Average notary fee                        
Return postage  (30 oz)                  $7.35                 Standard postal rate                                     
Total Cost of Goods                                 ($12.84/jar)                                     

How much is that in 1940 dollars?

Fortunately, there is an inflation adjusted value tool in the internet1.  Enter a dollar amount in today’s dollars and it will calculate the equivalent amount for some time in the past.   $12.84 in 2017 dollars is equivalent to $0.74 in 1940.  Not too far from Rush’s cost of goods of $1.08!

I love the way this episode ends [ !SPOILER ALERT! ].  After Vic delicately dispels Rush’s money making idea, he senses the disappointment in Rush and gives him $3.80 “outta my own pocket”.     
[1] That $3.80 in 1940 is equivalent to $65.91 in 2017 dollars!  

Also, consider the 1941 episode “Strictly Business ChristmasLoan” where Vic gives Rush $25 for him to purchase Christmas gifts.  $25 in 1941 is $394 in 2017 dollars!  In that same episode, he gives Hank Gutstop $2, which is the equivalent of $31.54.

This demonstrates Vic’s generosity.  Vic is a good guy. 

-- Dave from Wisconsin

No comments:

Post a Comment

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...