Editorial: Davie ranks high in ability to purchase

Published 10:18 am Wednesday, October 27, 2021

Getting your Trinity Audio player ready...

They didn’t interview me.
Chances are, if they knew me, they would have skipped right over my name in the first place.
Almost daily, emails come into the office about the Top 10 this or that – such as the top 10 states to retire in, or the top 10 towns to raise a family. I only rarely open those emails to get details. After all, if a study is funded by a certain group, the results will be favorable to that group, right?
The most recent such email caught my attention: the Top 10 counties in North Carolina with the most purchasing power.
Davie County ranked seventh.
Again, they didn’t interview me.
The median income for Davie County was listed as $60,434, very close to Iredell, which ranked 10th at $60,955. The study linked that income to the local cost of living, housing, taxes, etc.
Does it bother me that Wake County has a median income of $80,591, and ranked first in purchasing power? Considering all of the high tech jobs there, it shouldn’t. But if newspaper employees there can afford bacon and gas without worrying about breaking the bank, then it bothers me. A lot.
The study went on to say that the cost of living for someone living in Mocksville is 33 percent lower than for someone living in New York, N.Y. Taxes alone are 17 percent higher in New York. I would have thought that number would have been higher after hearing stories about the cost of things in New York. After all, there are no $50 per hour parking garages here.
Back to Davie County. We have the seventh best purchasing power in the state. That ain’t bad.
But again, they didn’t interview me.
My guess is that they didn’t interview anyone in the newspaper businesses – where raises have pretty much been non-existent for a couple of decades now. But the price of bacon sure has gone up over the past couple of decades. And the cost of gas, I’m not even going there.
The study was provided by SmartAsset, which has a potential benefit from people reading it who are thinking about re-locating. The company shouldn’t care where those numbers fall, just that they are accurate. Of course, the company can help those who are considering a move.
Once upon a time, when telephones were secured to a set location by a line, I would get calls from pollsters, seeking an opinion on this or that.
I’ll never forget one political pollster who called. (Never trust a political pollster. They’re likely paid by a certain candidate, and the questions are asked to obtain a certain answer.). I knew that, and tailored my answers accordingly. But this one was asking my voting history. I obliged. Yes, I voted for Terry Sanford. Yes, I voted for Jesse Helms. That one threw them for a loop, and there was a long pause on the other end of the line. They never asked why, although I had what I considered good reasons for both.
I was interviewed while going into Harrah’s Cherokee Casino years ago (I can’t afford to gamble, but playing those coin slots made my mother happy.). After the usual questions about hometown, age, etc., the woman finally asked if I had a budget I wouldn’t go over while gambling. I told her I did. She asked how much. I told her $60. Her mouth flew open. Of all the people she had interviewed, none had given a figure less than $2,000. I’ll bet none of them work at a newspaper, either.
You should have asked my dad, I thought. My favorite memory of that trip was when he put a $20 bill into a machine, and a minute later, it was gone. He looked bewildered, and asked if I wanted to ride around. We headed for the Great Smokies, and didn’t turn around until we reached Gatlinburg, stopping to take in the vistas here and there.
Even if gas then cost as much as it does now, we saved a lot of money on that trip to Gatlinburg. The mountains never looked better.
– Mike Barnhardt