Our world continues to be turned upside down. Over the past few years, there have been so many dramatic and terrible events and obstacles that have stood in our way. COVID-19 continues to plague our existence, Aaron Judge will not re-sign, and just TRY to find parking when you are in a rush.
Business as usual is no longer usual. We’ve had store closures, job losses and, conversely, hiring issues. Due to trucking issues, there is a lack of inventory when we actually have product to stock the shelves. Raw material shortages, insufficient packaging and rationing, in addition to problems with freight shipping containers and the lack of drivers to transport products across the country, continue to drive us a little crazy. Then, just as the country and the economy were stabilizing and things were getting back to normal, we were thrown another snowball (and Judge still isn’t re-signing!). The recent Russian atrocities have once again turned the world on its back. The fate of the good Ukrainian people is beyond comprehension. The death and destruction of a free society is heartbreaking. Fuel prices have skyrocketed, the global economy has collapsed and uncertainty reigns. When will this end?
After reading my columns for all these years, you know I’m an arrogant optimist and a cheerleader for business in general, and drinks in particular, so I always look for the bright side. When I’m down, I always take to the streets of Manhattan to support and strengthen myself. Yesterday I went for a walk to find something positive to write.
Browsing through stores large and small, I found a common theme. I found comfort in the idea that the beverage industry is not adding to the problems of our economy. They continue to deliver goods, stock our shelves and keep the supply chain running. With inflation reaching historic highs, the company does not appear to be looking to profit, unlike many other product categories. Drink pricing has not joined so many others in adding to the problems of a cash-strapped society. I admire marketers, distributors, and retailers who strike the right balance between serving their communities and continuing to monitor their bottom line. Too many other markets have lost the thread that we are all here to serve and support our fellow citizens. I look at the price increases that abound, some justified, most not, and hope they step back and do the right thing and create that appropriate balance that our industry seems to understand.
My wish is that between now and my next column, everything will be sunshine and roses. Today, this is not the case.