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Commenter Dick King asks a question that deserves its own post:

More seriously, with bar codes and instantly reprintable memos and internet shopping, is the consumer as aware of inflation as he used to be?

I'm not sure. I noticed the new menu (and the price increase) because they'd taken the opportunity to remove some dishes that we'd always wanted to order, but never had because they were available only in a fasting season that mysteriously never seemed to arrive. But if not for that, I'm not sure I would have realized prices were rising.

Of course, at some level of inflation, even modern printing technology can't keep up; in some hyperinflationary economies, one hears about people trying to spend all their money in the morning, because prices will be higher come afternoon. And in the end, the effect on the consumer's budget will tell; one way or another, the books have to balance. So at best, it's a very temporary respite from inflationary expectations. But still an interesting question.

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Megan McArdle is a columnist at Bloomberg View and a former senior editor at The Atlantic. Her new book is The Up Side of Down.

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