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: $74.99 or 4hours of work at the current average hourly wage of $18.74.
Bottom Line: If we paid the same price ("time cost") today for a VCR as in 1981 (187.3 hours at the average hourly wage of $18.74), a VCR today would cost $3,510. Or equivalently, consumers in 1981 actually paid the equivalent of $3,510 in today's dollars. Alternatively, the typical consumer today would earn enough money on a single day before lunch (4 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.