"Let's do lunch in SLC," I told my boss as we decided where to meet for our monthly one-on-one. "Have you ever been to (said place)?"
"Nope," he said.
"They have the best burgers," I said confidently. And so it was decided. We'll meet at (said place).
I checked their website before we went to make sure they were even open--they were. Yesterday my boss drove north and I drove south and we met at the restaurant/diner. We ordered--unfortunately, the dinning hall was not open so we sat in our cars...we did not see a menu. No problem--I've eaten there many times so I knew what I wanted: a burger, rings, and a drink.
"I'll be right back," the masked waitress said as she took my card. My boss and I continued to chat. Soon, the waitress returned, card and receipts in hand.
"That'll be $17.56," she said and my jaw almost hit the pavement. "Ah, okay..." I said taking back my card.
"You want to add a tip?"
I almost laughed out loud, but I refrained. "Sure...15%."
In the past couple of months, I haven't gotten out much. Sure, we've patronized local eating establishments. Not much has changed. I've heard a conspiracy theory that there will soon be a Covid tax on goods and services to offset the devastating losses businesses are suffering. I have no idea if there's a Covid Tax--hidden or otherwise--and I have no idea if a burger combo meal at (said place) cost that much before the insanity began. It's highly possible. So, I cannot say with certainty that the high price of lunch (I don't remember it costing that much the last time I ate there--I'm pretty sure I would have remembered...) is due to the current events or not.
But, I was shocked.
I understand the basics of capitalism and market forces. If the restaurant did raise their costs, it was needed. Many such businesses will not survive this, raised prices or not. It's basic economics. The food was good, as usual. I don't know if I'll be returning anytime soon--not because of the food or the service, both were excellent--but I can't afford to spend that much on lunch, and meals costing that much need to be budgeted.
This may be the way of the future--the new normal--I don't know. If it is, we'll be choosing places that are less "shocking" in the future.