[WORD_ON_THE_WEB] 'Bigger numbers for everything, except for my wage'

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[WORD_ON_THE_WEB] 'Bigger numbers for everything, except for my wage'

As prices continue rising, ordinary folks find it harder to get by. HiteJinro, manufacturer of Chamisul soju, decided to raise its store prices by 7.9 percent starting Wednesday.
HiteJinro justified the decision by saying that not only is the price of ethanol — which is soju’s main ingredient — higher, but various expenses are higher overall. The increased cost includes handling fees for empty bottles and manufacturing expenses.
Other major soju suppliers like Lotte Chilsung Beverage, Muhak and Bohae are also expected to raise prices. Experts are concerned that this will cause the retail prices of soju to rise as high as 6,000 won ($5).
It’s not just soju that’s more expensive. According to Statistics Korea, the consumer price index in January this year was 5.5 percent higher on year, the steepest climb in 13 years.
The public is unhappy with the turn of events, with some claiming that the price raise is stripping ordinary folk of their simple everyday pleasures.
“Casual drinker here. Soju is 4,000 to 5,000 won a bottle right now. If prices get higher, I’d rather drink alone at home.”
“I shrugged it off when it became higher than 3,000 won, and I shrugged it off again when it became higher than 4,000 won, but 5,000 won makes you stop and think.. Maybe I should give it a pass this time.”
“I'm a self-employed restaurant owner. The price of every ingredient is getting out of control. There’s little to no margin, but putting a higher price on the menu is not an easy option as I'm worried the customers would stop coming altogether. These are not easy times.”
“Shop owners are the real victim here. They're stuck between liquor companies and customers. The situation is out of their hands. I can’t imagine how they must feel.”
“This is infuriating. Bigger numbers for everything, except for my wage.”
“Everything except for my income is higher. The price raise is all due to the raised minimum wage. The pay for regular jobs remains the same. Only higher tax rates.”

BY LEE SI-YEOUNG, YOO JI-WOO [yoo.jiwoo@joongang.co.kr]
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