Are You Being Gouged? The Results

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Brian Lehrer Show associate producer Jim Colgan, breaks down the results. Then we talk to New York Times economics writer David Leonhardt about the economics of price disparities, and then to NYU journalism professor Jay Rosen about what it means for journalism.

View the results:

Beer Lettuce Milk

UPDATE: Here is the number for the state department that investigates claims about grocery stores charging excess prices for milk: 1-800-554-4501


Jim Colgan, David Leonhardt and Jay Rosen

Comments [19]

f.j. burger from NY State

You have an odd map....Your atlas shows Norway NORTH of Sweden,

Was this done by some kid from NYC ?

Jan. 25 2008 11:44 AM
Steven Podhaski from North Port Florida 34287

October 21 2007

I just came back from Winn Dixie the supermarket and there is a brand of whole milk that is selling for $6.00 a gallon.People do not have a clue about price gouging.Bacon almost 80% fat, $3.89 a lb .Know they are selling you the same bacon already cooked and you still are paying the same price and they keep and process the grease at your expense.

Living on a fixed income in Florida does not make it.Everything keeps going up and our measly pensions stay the same.Social Security gives us a 3% raise and all the prices on everything goes up %25 .

Oct. 21 2007 10:15 AM
Russ from Noho

to aleks, who commented that there is little data from "poor areas". Which "poor areas" are you speaking of? Last I checked, rent in Manhattan isn't particularly cheap. I can hardly think of many "poor" areas in the city these days.

Oct. 16 2007 03:51 PM
ileen from upper west side

I agree with Peter (#9). I came here looking for the list of Dept of Agriculture allowed prices and the phone number to call to report unfair pricing, but don't see it.

Please post this someplace obvious on your home page, or post a link to it ASAP. Thank you for such an informative, entertaining program.

Oct. 12 2007 01:02 PM
Bill from NYC

New Yorkers are used to paying too much for too little: e.g, $1,000+ a month for an apt without a dishwasher, clothes washer/dryer, garbage disposal. These people are here solely because of the bandwagon effect of the city being the financial and cultural center of the country. What's the news value of saying that some of these sheep pay $13.00 for Bud?

Oct. 11 2007 08:43 PM
carol from Brooklyn Heights

I Commented on your show this morning about the disparity of the price of Budweiser at 2 equally convenient stores on Montague street: $13 @ Garden of Eden & $5.99 @ Key Food. Actually my biggest surprise was that Garden of Eden would even sell Budweiser. Perhaps very little of it is actually purchased as most people seem to shop there for their "gourmet specialty items" such as imported ham, fresh fish & desserts. I think these shoppers would also be looking for "designer beer". I bet most people do go to Key Food when they want Budweiser!

Oct. 11 2007 01:04 PM
Ed Collins from Long Island City

For a future group journal project I would like to see a study done on the price of perscription eye glasses.

Also, I have vision care wih my insurance but the discounted price of the establishments they send me to is about the same of some of the non participating eye glass establishments that I checked.

Why isn't the price of percription eye glasses advertised.

Oct. 11 2007 12:22 PM
Joan Lince from Upper Westside (Riverside & 101st St)

Just at the end of the segment today someone mentioned high rents for convenience markets -- and that touches on an issue that plays an important part in the price differentials, that I don't think you have discussed. One reason small neighborhood stores charge so much is that their costs are much higher that super markets' costs. They're trying to stay in business -- that's demonstrated by the fact that some of them go out of business when the rents go up. A factor in the higher prices is that the super markets can buy in bulk. And one reason they can get good prices from their suppliers is that it's cheaper to supply a lot of product to one customer (store) at once. Those high prices are not always a ripoff -- sometimes they're just a consequence of economic reality.

Oct. 11 2007 12:07 PM
chestine from NY

Another Chestine!

Most of what a NYC supermarket offers is unhealthy - additive laden, old, fake or frankenfood - it's pretty disgusting if you read up on how denatured the food supply is -

Oct. 11 2007 12:00 PM
David Harrington from Morningside Heights

Any chance of asking crowd sourcers to post cell phone photos of prices in the future?

Oct. 11 2007 11:48 AM
Peter from Seaport (downtown)

Great show, great project - one request/suggestion: Could you please give out the number one can call to notify the state about excessive (illegal?) milk prices, and also post that number on the website of this program? This way, one could take action, as opposed to just keep on complaining. Once the authorities get two, three hundred calls, things may change!



PS. And, yes, I am an WNYC suporter, and pledged my $ 180 this morning during the match.

Oct. 11 2007 11:44 AM
James from LES

aren't bodega's hindered by small volume buying--forced to pay higher prices for goods on their shelves?

Oct. 11 2007 11:40 AM
bp from Harlem

what about volume price discounts supermarket chains get from distributors vs. smaller quantities purchased by family-owned bodegas? How much does this impact their cost structures?

Also, how much do the the higher lease costs for busier locations balance with the significantly higher prices? e.g. Food Emporium won "Most Expensive" in multiple categories and at multiple locations, but these locations are in U.Sq. area. Don't they make up most of the higher lease rates in volume due to the higher traffic in these areas--or is it because people who can afford to live in these areas are more affluent?

Oct. 11 2007 11:36 AM
Robert from NYC

Supermarkets are no longer what they used to be...inexpensive. My parents had a Balducci type grocery in the 1940/50s in the Bronx and when the first A&P and other supermarkets opened in the neighborhood their prices were at least 1/3 less then my parents' prices and even as low as 1/2 the price. I remember the milk "price wars" in the early '50s when milk went up to $.25/qt. Ah, how scandalous was that!!! We charged $.15 and went as low as $.05/qt. We won and made the front page of the Daily Mirror.

Oct. 11 2007 11:36 AM
chestine from NY

I really travel all over town for good food at the best prices - sometimes I get a good deal at Whole Foods! I also want good nutrition from fresh food because I would rather eat well for health than eat garbage and have to take medicine (for things like osteopenia) Fairway does take its pound of flesh if the prices are good and the selection can't be beat - it's exhausting!!!!)I think the disappearing greengrocers used to have decent vegetables but lately I would just as soon join a csa.

Oct. 11 2007 11:34 AM
Christopher from Middle Village

Shop at BJ's, luckily for me there's a store near me. I only food shop now about once a month (yippee!!) and the deals are great.

Oct. 11 2007 11:33 AM
Robert from NYC

I find Trader Joe's very fair overall for the product you get. When you pay $1.29 for eggs you're very lucky and $.69 for yogurt! Just imagine. And $1.99 for a qt of broths, Where else do you find that!?

Oct. 11 2007 11:29 AM
bp from Harlem

The Food Emporium seems to win "Most Expensive" in at least a couple of categories and in multiple locations. I also note their locations (U.Sq. area) -- quite expensive real estate lease rates, I imagine.

Yet, I still wonder how much the difference in prices can be directly attributed to this factor alone--aren't higher lease rates tied to foot traffic? Wouldn't these stores make up the higher rent in volume at only SLIGHTLY higher prices?

Lastly, to the participant that commented with disappointment by being gouged by a family-owned bodega: don't small bodegas have to charge higher prices since they likely don't buy in large volumes like major grocery chains? Also, if they're in a higher rent rate area this would be compounded even more, no?

Oct. 11 2007 11:22 AM
aleks from manhattan

Based on reported prices (are you being gouged), one can make a map of where npr listeners live. I found this very interesting, very little information from the poor neighborhoods. Makes you wonder.

Oct. 11 2007 11:21 AM

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