A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006.

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Entry from October 29, 2013
Sticker Shock

The term “sticker shock” began in 1980, when consumers found that new cars were costing over the $10,000 on their stickers (rather than about half that in the mid-1970s). “Fiat Stops ‘Sticker Shock’” is an automobile advertisement that ran in magazines and newspapers in 1980 and early 1981.

“Sticker shock in health care: do you really know what things cost?” is the title of an article that was published in Radiographics in May 1992. “Sticker shock” appeared in many media headlines in 2013 in regard to the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (commonly known as “Obamacare"), as many Americans experienced the “sticker shock” of higher insurance premiums.


Wiktionary: sticker shock
Etymology
Coined circa 1981.
Noun
sticker shock
(usually uncountable, plural sticker shocks)
1. (idiomatic, chiefly US) Disgust, shock, or fright upon learning the price of an item offered for sale

(Oxford English Dictionary)
sticker shock n. colloq. (orig. and chiefly U.S.) shock or dismay experienced by a potential buyer of a product on discovering its high or increased price (originally, as marked on the price sticker for a car).
1981 Industry Week 23 Mar. 54 The current round of rebates is not expected to help 1981 balance sheets at all. But the industry has no other viable choice to counter ‘sticker shock’.
1995 Denver Post 5 Mar. h1/4 Another FHP customer struck by health insurance sticker shock when she learned monthly payments were due to climb.

Google Books
Newsweek
Volume 96, Issues 18-26
1980
Pg. ?:
FIAT STOPS “STICKER SHOCK”
The prices of new cars today are enough to give anyone “Sticker Shock.” But Fiat has sports car. the cure.

4 January 1981, Farmington (NH) Daily Times, “San Juan Digest” by Ray Crow, pg. 4A, col. 4:
‘Sticker Shock’
Ever hear of “sticker shock?” That’s what happens when the unsuspecting walk into a new-car auto showroom.

So say some auto dealer publications, according to someone connected to a local dealership. New car prices have doubled since 1975, it seems, and someone who hasn’t shopped for a new car since that year is in for a shock.

15 January 1981, Omaha (NE) World-Herald, pg. 42, col. 8 classified ad:
FIAT STOPS
“STICKER SHOCK”

9 November 1981, Time magazine, “Going from Bad to Even Worse” by P. Witteman and K. Pierce”
Last week Jensen returned to his dealer’s showroom to eye the new Continental, but he quickly became another victim of what Detroit calls “sticker shock.” The price on the car’s window: $25,692. Says he: “Damn, that is expensive! It persuaded me to keep driving my ‘80 until it won’t go any more.”

OCLC WorldCat record
Sticker shock in health care: do you really know what things cost?
Author: RS Heilman
Edition/Format: Article : English
Publication: Radiographics : a review publication of the Radiological Society of North America, Inc, 1992 May; 12(3): 466
Database: From MEDLINE®/PubMed®, a database of the U.S. National Library of Medicine.

The Washington (DC) Free Beacon
NBC: Consumers Facing Sticker Shock Due to Obamacare
BY: Washington Free Beacon Staff
October 28, 2013 8:49 am
Frustrations for middle-class consumers continue to rise with Obamacare, and not just because the launch of healthcare.gov was such a fiasco. The sticker shock of Obamacare is also hurting people like real estate agent Deborah Cavallaro in California, as reported on NBC’s Today.

Posted by Barry Popik
New York CityWork/Businesses • Tuesday, October 29, 2013 • Permalink