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Welcome to the new economy. And scarcity. And poor quality control. And incompetent uncaring customer service. What am I talking about? Sugar Free popsicles. One of life’s little pleasures, now denied.

Off and on, since the pandemic in 2020, sugar free Orange, Cherry, Raspberry popsicles have been missing from the shelves of all my local supermarkets, 7 of them in Burbank, California. For years, I ate sugar free popsicles throughout the evening when at home. Even after the pandemic stay at home/mask mandate “ended”, in March 2021, I have not been able to consistently find my daily evening treat in any stores. It is now mid-July

Why sugar free popsicles?

Low sugar, low calories. Tasty. Inexpensive. I can eat 3-5 of these every night, as a healthy-ish reward, a treat, for surviving the day. For the past 3 weeks, my local supermarkets do not have any. None of the stores know why. They say they have them on order and there’s nothing they can do. They shrug their shoulders and don’t care. Meanwhile, I am living without one of life’s little nightly pleasures, my sugar free popsicles.

Yes, I even contacted (Popsicle is owned by Unilever). I told them about the scarcity, the empty shelves, the missing sugar free popsicles. They never emailed me back.

Welcome to the new economy. It’s not just sugar free pops. It’s many other products, across a wide swath of consumer goods. These days, I can’t even find a pair of replacement shoes, shoes I bought a few months ago. Wearing them every day, I guess I wore them out. And I guess Skechers doesn’t make them anymore. Same with my favorite popular t shirts. The new ones I bought (without being able to try them on) were substandard quality and unwearable. And for 2 months a pair of the popular Wrangler cargo pants I wanted to buy was not available anywhere in the world.

And, tech wise, my AOL email account inexplicably no longer works in my Microsoft email app. I have had that email account for more than 20 years, suddenly it doesn’t work anymore and I can’t access it via my Windows email app. Microsoft tech support spent an hour with me online remotely trying to fix it. They failed. And, unless you have a premium AOL email account you can’t call AOL tech support or email them. They don’t care.

Welcome to the new economy. The new scarcity. The new substandard products. The beginning of the US economy becoming like the economy of a developing country. I don’t know about you but I am not used to this new economy. I do not want to get used to it. This is not how America is supposed to be. America is supposed to be a land of plenty, a land of quality, a land of caring about your customers, not a land of scarcity and substandard products and lousy customer service. Luckily, I am old and don’t have to live with this new economy and the decline in the availability of basic comforts and the declining quality of life for too long.

Who am I to comment on economics? I am a former money market trader on Wall Street. It was my first career. I know a LOT about economics. And I would urge younger people, in fact ALL American consumers, to demand products be in stock, to demand better quality products and better customer service, preferably live customer service. And to reject the new economy. American consumers deserve better. YOU deserve better.

UPDATEThe very same day I published this article my sugar free popsicles magically reappeared at my local Vons supermarket. Coincidence? I think not! The moral of the story is that yes, it can make a difference voicing your legitimate concerns, your displeasure and peacefully protesting, as opposed to suffering in silence and continuing to be deprived.

In his later years Andrew Lawrence became a blogger, a life improvement author and an art photographer.–1f