Good morning, Apexians! I hope you enjoy today’s articles as much as I did. This is one of those fun days where each of the pieces is meaty and thoughtful — and they’re all varied. Get ready to learn some stuff!
A short history of Visa — and the credit-card industry. [E-Investing for Beginners, via All-Star Money] — “The final evolution to today’s credit card was the creation of revolving credit by Bank of America with their BankAmericard. It was the first revolving credit, meaning when you use the card and pay the bill, you get the credit back to use again in the future. BankAmericard, created in 1966, was the precursor to Visa.”
What to do in the case of sustained inflation. [GMO Investments] — “Our best recommendation is to buy true, real assets as a store of value. Foremost amongst these assets is obviously equities. They may make a terrible inflation hedge (as they did during the early 1970s), but over the long term they represent the businesses that charge prices and pay wages, so their cash flows should be real if these two elements are roughly matched. As such, they act as a store of value in the longer term.” Also interesting is the postscript on cryptocurrency. [See also: Tall tales and true causes of inflation.]
Fine dining after COVID. [Grub Street] — “Bloviating critics like me have been predicting the demise of what used to be called ‘haute cuisine’ for decades now, but as the great COVID hurricane eases slowly off the coast, leaving all sorts of wreckage and chaos in its wake, the old gourmet model of fine dining has never seemed so disconnected, irrelevant, and out of touch.”
Kim and I went out for a nice dinner the other night to celebrate (a) her birthday and (b) our recent move. We dine out a lot, but in recent years that’s mostly meant pubs and taco stands. We rarely eat at a nice place.
I have to tell you: We were underwhelmed. We spent $150 on two entrees and four glasses of wine. It’s not that the food was bad; it’s just that we didn’t feel like we received value for our money. We would have been much, much happier spending $40 or $50 to get French dips and beer at the local BBQ joint. Or even $20 for pizza and water.
And when I was in Austin recently, I got to eat at a handful of fancy spots. I used to really enjoy dining in nice places, but I found the experience miserable: long waits, extremely high prices, huge portions of greasy food.
All this is to say, I really felt that last article. It articulated something that’s been percolating in the back of my mind, but about which I hadn’t yet given voice. Fine dining does seem increasingly irrelevant. And that’s not just me being a cranky old man. (Or is it?)