VCRs: 187.3 Hours in 1981 vs. 3.8 Hours Today
Cost of a Sears VCR in 1981: $1389.88, or 187.3 hours of work (23.4 days or 4.7 weeks) at the average hourly wage of $7.42 (total private industries).
Cost of a Sears VCR/DVD combo in 2009: $69.99 or 3.8 hours of work at the average hourly wage of $18.36.
Bottom Line: If we paid the same price today as in 1981 (187.3 hours, at the average hourly wage of $18.36), the 2009 Sears VCR/DVD above would cost us almost $3,500. Or equivalently, consumers in 1981 actually paid the equivalent of $3,500 in today's dollars. Or we could say that the typical consumer today would earn enough money on a single day before lunch (3.8 hours) to purchase a brand new VCR/DVD player, and the typical consumer in 1981 had to work full-time for almost five weeks to earn enough money to purchase a VCR then.