Saturday, January 23, 2010

Manhattan Price Gouging

You always hear about how expensive it is in New York City. It’s almost a source of pride for the people dumb enough to live in Manhattan (like myself). I spend an atrocious amount of money on my basic needs. Light bulbs, for instance, can cost $5 per 2-pack. Same with Kleenex and paper towels (per box and per roll), which is why I buy toilette paper and use it for all of my paper product needs, including table napkins. Buying all three items would literally clean me out. Pun not intended.

The worst is alcohol. If I buy a drink at a bar or a restaurant, a mixed drink can easily run me $15 a pop. Beer is slightly cheaper, ranging from $6-$10. And if I go to the grocery store, the cheapest six-pack costs $11. Which, considering the bar prices, is a deal. But when I remember college Wednesday dollar beer nights at bars in Dallas, I want to laugh hysterically and cry at the same time.

Which is why I try not to remember dollar beer night, or $2 wells specials, or the mythological "buy 1 get 1 free" deals. I think most New Yorkers live in a constant state of denial at the amount they spend on everyday products. There’s nothing you can do about it, so after a while, like anything else you do consistently, paying ridiculous amounts for groceries becomes the norm and you’re numb to the sting you used to feel when forking over $60 for a week’s worth of grocery items: milk, eggs, bread, beer, tuna, vegetables and fruit.

For that reason, when today while a brunch a friend told me he could find bottles of wine in Queens for $2, I wanted to slap him for telling me lies, because liars deserve a hard slap to the face.

But, since I valued our friendship, I restrained myself and politely informed him that that was impossible. The cheapest wine I can find at the liquor store near my apartment is $8. And that’s on a day with good specials.

Still, he persisted with his tall tales of a land mere subway stops away where I could find $2 wine aplenty. I decided to call his bluff. After paying our check we were on a train to Queens to settle the matter.

When we got there and, in fact, there existed a rack of bottles advertising $2 wine specials, I was truly, truly shocked. Then I bought three bottles and bottle of delicious looking golden cream sherry for the same price, and, for a brief moment, seriously considered relocating to Queens.
On the subway ride back though, with to-go shots of rum happily warming our bellies, I decided that, really, I could have the best of both worlds. I commute to work every day, why not commute to groceries as well?

So, lesson learned, Manhattan is a fun borough to hang out in when you have the money, but the other boroughs are definitely worth exploring. Something I’ve been meaning to do more of.

Next week I’ll be in Brooklyn for an e-book publishing conference. I’ll have to check out their prices on paper towels. :)

No comments:

Post a Comment