Our food broker alerted us today that eggs have increased dramatically in price...and will continue to do so at an alarming rate because of THE BIRD FLU. Really? Apparently there is a massive outbreak of avian influenza impacting more than 33 million chickens in America. And while I'm really good at regularly updating my list of items to worry incessantly about, I totally never saw the bird flu thing coming. And in a rare attempt to not make this all about me, I feel complete empathy and anxiety for all the small businesses (and not so small businesses) that raise chickens for their eggs and now face complete calamity...because what do you do with millions of sick birds? Watching the flu spread through your chicken houses (chicken barns? chicken runs? chicken coops?) and not being able to do anything about it has to be the absolute worst feeling ever for a business owner. I have a feeling that if I were in the chicken egg business, I'd be hellbent that my chickens all wear tiny protective masks on their beaks during the flu season (and this is precisely WHY I wouldn't excel in the chicken business).
And beyond that, what about the breeders of chicks...apparently no one wants to buy chicks right now until their farms are eradicated of the fast-spreading virus. And what about the factories that pasteurize the eggs (of which there are very little now), and the people who package the eggs (of which there are very little now)? And the corporations, small businesses, and home consumers buying eggs and liquid egg products? Spending more on eggs means less to spend on other items. And the truth is that 24 months ago, I would have rolled my cart through Hy-Vee and never noticed a 37% increase in egg cost. Add to the category of "stuff I didn't know about being a business owner": I'll have to care deeply about the bird flu.
All that said, this whole thing does make the think of that scene in Mr. Mom, wherein Schooner tuna (the tuna with a heart) pledges to lower their price per can of tuna by .50 cents a can in honor of the economic downturn...and return to regular pricing when the economy rallies. And not that anyone asked me, but if one of the major egg manufacturers simply decided to keep their egg prices the same in the face of AvianFlu2k15, they would have me - and probably you - as a loyal customer for, well, forever.