• Shopping for essentials has become a highly stressful activity
I gave myself the nickname master shopper as I became the default grocery shopper for my family in my twenties. I can do a quick mental recap of what's needed at home, what needs to be refilled and what we can do without. My biggest flex was I could look at items in a shopping cart and quickly estimate how much it would all cost.
Every time I visit a supermarket or wholesale shop, I am floored by the steadily hiked prices. There are price changes on a daily basis. Shopping for essentials has become a highly stressful activity. Supermarkets are no longer a fun place to wander about as you search for your essentials while browsing for items to buy on a whim. In fact, the only reason I still force myself to go to the shops (other than needing supplies and whatnot) is to make a comparative assessment of price changes on items I regularly purchase.
Inflation has been on a steady incline since the pandemic of 2020. Wars, fuel crises, food shortages continued to boost the steadily increasing inflation rates on a global scale. In their World Economic Outlook report, the IMF predicted a slight decrease in this year’s inflation rate at 6.5 per cent from last year’s 8.8 per cent. It has only been three months of 2023, and if this is what a decrease in inflation looks like, then we are in for a long ride.
I started regularly buying diapers in August 2021. Since then, I have never bought diapers at the exact same price again. I would buy diapers at the wholesale shops to save myself the hassle of buying diapers every other day, but every time I went back to the shops to refill my diaper stock, there would be a new price. Be it by Sh50 or a hundred, the price of the exact same brand and quantity of diapers had gone up.
Items like eggs have become increasingly political of late, but eggs are a necessity that people will scrape and save to afford. Eggs are a staple in almost every home across the globe. Just the other day, while on a random conversation with my relative who lives in Britain, she asked, “How much do eggs cost these days?” This is a common occurrence in families with members living abroad. You will find families comparing prices of food items in various parts of the world to highlight the high costs of living.
Food, electricity, fuel, gas and other household commodities have become too expensive, sometimes even doubling in price. This has forced many families to make tough decisions just to survive.
Crying foul and wreaking havoc will not change the circumstances. In fact, there is little the Kenyan government can do to give us respite. With superpowers having a chokehold on most developing nations, their economic troubles inadvertently infiltrate and are passed down to the rest of the world. Economists and world leaders urgently need to find strategic solutions to combat the high global inflation rate before we face another global crisis.