Whenever inflation figures come out, it’s often an excuse for older generations to start a ‘back in my day…’ reminiscence/rant, while 20-somethings moan about penny sweets no longer costing a penny.
And, lo, after official stats earlier this week showed inflation had dropped to a record low of 0.3%, the results of a ‘Can you guess the price…’ quiz, put together by short-term lender Provident (which says it’s definitely not a payday loans company), found its way through MT’s virtual letterbox.
The 8,000 or so people who have taken the multiple choice quiz on various news sites since January (not exactly a scientifically representative sample of the population) were pretty clued up on the changing cost of milk and chocolate. More than half guessed a pint of the white stuff cost 30p in 1990 (45p in Tesco today), a Mars bar was only 15p in 1980 (around 60p now) and a Freddo was its rightful price of 10p in 2006. (A chocolate frog is now 20p. Sob.)
They were also good at guessing/obsessing over past house prices, with 70% picking the correct average cost of a pad in 1999 – just £93,000 compared to £247,000 in 2013 - out of four options. Only 18% had a good stab at what one might cost in 2050, though - £514,000, apparently, if inflation hangs around 2% (which it definitely isn’t doing right now).
There is a more serious point to all of this price watching of course: booming house prices preceded the 2008 financial crash and the mini property bubble last year got everyone worried about a repeat. Meanwhile, the rise of German discounters Aldi and Lidl has caused grocery inflation to screech to a halt. Inflation is both a cause and consquence of business and economic trends.
And if we haven’t spoilt the quiz for you (there are 30 possible questions you could answer in the 10 it gives you) here it is: