Consumer Price Watch: Print Lives: Wired Mag $8.99


Wired Annual How To Issue $8.99

Congratulations to Wired magazine for breaking the Nine Barrier with its "Annual How To" issue. 

The issue gives its cover to the Royal Shakespeare Company's Brian Cox, who has clearly slimmed down and had work done to play a pixieish particle physicist with the Royal Society. 

There are also pieces on life extension, deal-making and "faster" living – which appears to conflict with life extension, but Wired is ecumenical. 

What caught my attention – and this proves that it wasn't just a lookyloo; I really was open to buying – was the price tag, a steep "$8.99" written by hand on a sticker. 

Just to repeat that last part: This is the price being charged by a newsstand near Park La Brea in Los Angeles. Wired's quoted newsstand price is $4.99 per issue. I can't vouch for special issues

So apparently this is an item that has gained value (or at least asking price) in the secondary market.

Did neatness ever count?

I was under the impression that print is a dying medium, what with all the kids texting each other apps over the twitters. So congratulations to Wired on being able to command a princely nine-dollar value (more with tax) in these difficult times. I also recommend Noah Shachtman's reporting for Wired and particularly Shachtman's coverage of the fascinating drone-virus story. 

Print media are not foodstuffs or fossil fuels, items that are supposedly too volatile for inclusion in the "core" consumer price index. I don't know whether print media get picked up under "education and communication" or "other goods and services" in the CPI basket, if they get picked up at all. But my local daily newspaper inflated its price by 50 percent during the depths of the recession in January 2009 and 33 percent subsequently. The L.A. Times now asks a greenback for a paper that runs an average of 65 pages weekdays. 

You can do this with oodles of items and have yourself a simply grand time. Ice cream underwent stealth inflation late in the Bush Administration, when the venerable half-gallon container was disappeared and replaced with 1.5-quart and 1.75-quart lookalikes. House sellers are still asking three times the discernible value of their houses. The 2010 gubernatorial elections alerted the whole nation that the rent is too damn high. Everywhere you look, everything costs too much for a thrifty person to tolerate. Yet there's no inflation. It's some kind of miracle.