How Much Longer Can We Continue To Live In Economic Fantasyland?

There’s this funny thing about something that’s unsustainable…

(by Half Dollar) My family ate out dinner over the weekend, and as usual, it was a total disaster.

Does anybody else have that kind of luck?

That kind of luck where it doesn’t matter if it’s fast food, and no matter the place, the employees somehow never get the order right, and each and every time you don’t “check” the bag on your way out, just to make sure something is not missing, or wrong, because surely they can’t get every single order wrong every single time, something is always missing, or wrong?

Why is that?

It happens to us in restaurants on occasion too, and that’s especially true since the start of the Zombie Apocalypse.

It’s not that my family turns into Karen when dining out, and I would argue that when eating out, my family is not really all that demanding or even high maintenance.

But I digress.

We went out for a nice family dinner at your typical chain “steakhouse” restaurant, and while it was fun, the dining experience was a total disaster!

Please allow me to explain, or rant, or whatever.

Traditionally, I have never made reservations to a restaurant before, at least not in my modern, family man stage of life, and while that just goes to show you the caliber of restaurant that my family frequents, I do need to start off by saying that because America has kind of become a strange mix of commercial & retail void blotched with scattered pockets of economic activity, making a reservation at even the bland, corporate chain restaurants now seems like a requirement, and something that my family plans to do from here on out.

Regardless, the wait time to be seated was estimated at thirty minutes, and it wasn’t really much longer than that.

So far so good.

When placing our drink orders, which consisted of four waters, one with no ice, I noticed the establishment was no longer offering the “appetizer sampler”, which is a family favorite because we usually order an appetizer anyway, and that’s especially true if we have to wait for any extended length of time to be seated.

We like to share the appetizer, and since there are four of us, consisting of two growing teens, something like the “appetizer sampler” is the standard for sharing, but apparently the best appetizer has gone “no offer”!

I wonder what happened to the appetizer sampler?

Supply chain disruptions?

No longer cost effective?

Too labor intensive?

A loss-leader that had to go?

I don’t know what happened to the appetizer sampler, but it really irks me not be be able to start off the fine dining experience with a deep fried sampling of crispy, salty goodies.

Regardless, we skipped the appetizers altogether at that point because that’s the other thing about the appetizer sampler specifically: No matter what it includes at any particular restaurant, if there are a few people in your party, everybody will find something on the platter to enjoy because, well, it’s a “sampler”.

That said, we placed our order, we were sipping on only the finest of tap water, and we were chowing down on the two mini loaves of warm bread with butter they brought us to enjoy while we waited on our main food.

And then we waited.

And waited.

And waited.

And waited.

And waited some more.

And for those keeping track, it took about 15 minutes to drive to the restaurant, a little more than thirty minutes to wait to be seated, and then, over an hour after ordering, we began to wonder if they had forgotten about us?

Precisely because I can’t stand Karen, the four of us debated as to whether we should inquire about the status of our order, and after several minutes of spirited debate, Wifey got the honors of going over the hostess and manager and asking, in a nice way, if they had forgot about our table?

“They’re plating it up and bringing it out now”, said the manager.

And then we waited.

A little more.

Seriously.

And then we were served.

I have to admit, my daughter is a creature of habit, and when it comes to restaurants, it’s really hard to screw up an order featuring chicken tenders, so her order went off without a hitch.

My son’s order, which is always the most expensive when my family dines out because somehow, my son always seems to order one of the most expensive dinners in the place, came relatively error free.

That is to say, his filet mignon was cooked nice and medium, just how I’d like it if it was my steak, his lobster tail was succulent, his grilled shrimp were tasty, and as his good fortune would have it, they screwed up his order in that they brought him both french fries and a baked potato, the latter of which was not ordered.

Wifey ordered a fried chicken sandwich with french fries, and her order, like my daughter’s, is one of those orders that is really hard for a restaurant to screw up, so everything was all good with Wifey’s order, too.

Then came my order.

And came my luck.

Which is the only kind of luck that I ever have.

Bad luck, that is.

The “seasonal veggie” was broccoli, and while I love broccoli anyway that one prepares it, I really wasn’t expecting it to be, for the most part, raw.

Now don’t get me wrong: I like broccoli cooked on the hard side, but I was kind of expecting it to actually be cooked, and, more importantly, seasoned and flavorful.

It was literally just plain old raw broccoli warmed up superficially because it was sitting under a heat lamp.

Seriously.

And then I cut into my steak.

Oh.

My.

Gosh.

They totally did forget about our table, or me, or something, because the steak was supposed to be medium, but apparently, the chef decided to go ahead and serve it, not medium rare, and not even really rare, but raw!

Seriously, again!

So, after half an hour of waiting to be seated, and after more than an hour of waiting to be served, out came my broccoli and my steak served nice and raw.

Here’s why it matters: Since we’re unfortunately living in the Zombie Apocalypse, still, to this very day, there is already increased pressure on restaurants’ bottom line, or on restaurants’ top line, or on restaurants’ whatever line, meaning, between food price inflation, the cost of higher wages, and new, additional Zombie Apocalypse related spending that was not there before, it must be very, very difficult for restaurants to make any money at all, and the absolute very last thing any restaurant needs is a major screw up.

The manager was nice, and he gave us four $10 gift certificates for the restaurant having bestowed upon us such a disastrous experience.

In addition to the gift cards, the manager “comped” the most expensive meal, my son’s meal, instead of my steak dinner, as I said I no longer wanted my steak dinner since I was both disgusted and since my hunger had already come and passed, so I sent my meal back after eating about one-fourth of it, which was about the time it took for the manager to come over to see what kind of a disaster I was served, and I have to say, I was pleasantly surprised that the manager took off the $29.99 surf-n-turf dinner instead of the $17.99 steak dinner, and I must also say, my family is the kind of family that will truly never go back to the same restaurant if we have a bad experience there, because let’s face it, there are many, many restaurants to choose from, and we’ll happily try our luck elsewhere, so the manager did really salvage my family as future potential patrons in that sense.

It really is hit or miss, you know, no matter the place.

So to recap:

  • Chicken fingers with french fries, mac-n-cheese
  • Chicken sandwich with french fries
  • Filet mignon with a lobster tail and grilled shrimp, fries, a baked potato, and mac-n-cheese
  • Sirloin steak with mashed potatoes and broccoli.
  • Water, warm bread, butter, and etcetera.

And the total, after deducting the most expensive meal, and also after the applying the US Military Veteran’s discount?

What?

Don’t judge.

If they’re givin’ it, I’m takin’ it!

But I digress.

The total bill was $51.12!

Tax included!

Now, everybody knows ‘Ol Half Dollar ain’t the most generous tipper in America, much less a mathematician, but all things considered, especially considering the trauma we had just gone through, I’m pretty sure the $8.88 tip I gave to make the math easier was generous.

And fair.

So the grand total was $60, although we walked out of the restaurant with a decent amount of leftovers in three styrofoam clamshells and four $10 gift certificates for our troubles.

Here’s the overall point: How much longer can we continue to live in economic Fantasyland?

In other words, for how much longer will there be dining out, consisting of steak, lobster, chicken, shrimp, potatoes, fresh vegetables, warm bread and more, for a family of four, for a grand total of $20 when taking into account the $40 in gift certificates for future use?

That dog don’t hunt!

Something has to give, because the laws of economics have been on hold for more than a dozen years, artificially on hold, of course, and if it weren’t for the fact that we have the US Dollar, our nation would have experienced our own unique economic collapse much sooner.

Like I said, our experience this weekend was not even really all that uncommon, but rather, there is always a problem with our order at any fast food restaurant, and often times at dine-in restaurants, there is a problem too!

No wonder the national chains are doing much better than the local chains, for I’m not really sure how small businesses would be able to absorb those kind of losses during the Zombie Apocalypse?

Moreover, we walked into a restaurant to spend some money dining out as a family, and all things considered, including full bellies, take-home leftovers and $40 in gift certificates, it is quite literally as if they paid us to eat out at the restaurant!

In a weird way, it’s like negative interest rates: Go to a restaurant, and get paid to eat!

In reality, this is totally unsustainable, and what I have just described may have been in a microeconomic sense of things, but when multiplied and amplified, over and over again, I think it’s fair to say that what I have just described in this article is indicative of our entire economy right now, and the only solution that I can see for the economy to continue functioning is for prices to rise, dramatically, which is a huge problem all unto its own considering how America is a “consumerist” society.

What happens when dining out is done only very rarely, and only for special occasions like a birthday or anniversary, because the cost of going to a restaurant is prohibitively high?

The price of silver is not that high:

Amazingly, we’re still sitting under thirty bucks, approaching mid-2021!

Gold’s held above $1700 for several days:

I don’t think there is much more downside left in gold, but rather, if there is still more pressure that’s to be applied from the Cartel, that pressure will most likely be to cap price and not to smash price.

They have already smashed gold pretty good, after all:

How does the decoupling resolve itself?

Palladium continues its move to the upper end of its sideways choppy channel:

If we do get some crazy volatility in the overall markets, it will be interesting to see if the sideways choppy channel shifts.

There hasn’t been a whole lot of movement in platinum over the last few days:

Will this be the week we finally get some interesting price action in the precious metals?

Copper is coiling:

It seems like most people are expecting copper to break to the upside, doesn’t it?

Inflation is, after all, the talk of the town:

Unless the Fed and the Federal government in general, and the Cartel specifically, come in to the “markets’ and pound everything to the downside, commodities included, the Fed & government are really going to lose control of their “no inflation” narrative, whether they want to or not!

America was back under Trump, and apparently, America’s back under Biden too:

Funny.

Complacent:

Are we going back down to the teens, or even down to the single digits now that the stimmy checks are in the mail?

Yield on the 10-Year Note continues to poke its pesky head above 1.6%:

I see yields rising even more so everybody looks to the Fed and says, “do something!”.

Their credibility of late has been on the brink.

The dollar is also on the brink:

The brink of the hyperinflationary crack-up boom on Main Street, that is.

Thanks for reading.

Stack accordingly,

Paul “Half Dollar” Eberhart