Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Good ol' Days--Part 3---Shipping costs in 1960 relative to today...I was born too early!! The good ol' days are today...

Professor Mark Perry at Carpe Diem has done a series of "then and now" price comparisons using a terrific online resource from Radio Shack. They have put the ENTIRE contents of decades worth of their catalogs online. It is really fun to look at the catalog from my (or your) birth year. The pictures are fun to look at and for those of you who are really into the technical aspects of consumer electronics will be AMAZED at the detail they go into with each good. Don't see that anymore....

Dr Perry has focused on final goods, but I was curious about the transportation costs of getting a good delivered to you.  Below you will find the table from the 1960 catalog (my birth year).  If I wanted to buy something that weighed 11 pounds (easy to do the math) and have it shipped to me it would have cost $6.30 in 1960 (1st pound $.70 and each additional pound $.56).  I also used "Zone 5" estimating that the package would travel 1000 miles to get to me.  Using an inflation calculator, that would be $46.57 in TODAY's dollars! WOW!
Radio Shack Catalog--1960
From the US Postal Service website, I found the following:
Just guessing, but an 11 pound item would probably fit in either of the boxes on the right.  These are retail prices, so a large company like radio shack probably gets a significant price break on it shipping costs from the USPS.  Shipping costs are 3 to 4 (maybe 5) times cheaper today than in 1960.

Not only have the goods we buy today gone down in price but the transportation costs to get them to us have decreased significantly as well.  In the age of a global supply chain, it seems you could not have one without the other...
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