Grandma: We used to buy bread, eggs, and milk for a dollar.
Grandchild: You can’t do that now! They have CCTV’s everywhere.
JG is my mom; she is 59 years old and resides in Richmond, VA. She works at Legal Aid and first heard this joke from one of her interns. However, when sharing it with me, she said that she doesn’t believe the intern came up with it.
This joke simultaneously reflects the writer’s views on inflation and shoplifting. It indirectly communicates frustration over how the prices of everyday grocery items have risen over the past few decades – bread, eggs, and milk do not cost $1 anymore. Plus, the writer seems to have an attitude of “it’s not breaking the rules if you don’t get caught.” The reason the grandchild feels hesitant to shoplift is not based on morals, but rather a fear of getting caught by CCTVs.
The joke was most likely written in the past few years, due to its subject matter of inflation and its slightly rebellious nature. These aspects make it resonate well with Gen Z. It is succinct and slightly dark, and it contrasts from the overused “dad jokes” that much of society has mixed feelings about. This allows it to spread quickly, as people will often use it to lift up each other’s moods or break the ice in conversations.