Price Check

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

Jonathan Mintz, commissioner of the New York City Department of Consumer Affairs, talks about discovering pricing violations in city grocery stores and explains how consumers can protect themselves.


Jonathan Mintz

Comments [18]


@ tee gee:

my reference points have nothing to do with any particular race/ethnicity as I've experienced/witnessed rude/unprofessional behaviour and general disregard to customers from all nationalities in various neighborhoods each and every economically/ethnically diverse from Brighton Beach-Harlem-Jackson heights and Jack's on W.32nd in Manhattan...

Sep. 10 2010 11:25 AM
bob gillis from Denville NJ

this past Wednesday we went shopping at out local Shop-Rite. I bought a healthy Choice meal advertised ion the case at 4/$10. We were charged $2.99. I went to eh Courtesy Desk and the clerk checked and the price of $2.50 was correct and I did not have to buy 4 to get that price. Well worth walking back.

She said OK you are right and do you have a penny. I gave her a penny and she gave me $3.00. The NYC council should propose and pass an ordinance that if the price charged is higher than that on the shelf or advertised and the customer questions it, the store has to give the customer one of the items Free.

Sep. 10 2010 09:16 AM
tee gee

i lived in the city for decades and now live in the countryside - i would take the 3rd world city for food shopping any day of the week. in the country
1. there is NO consumer affairs at all - no rules to quote to the stores - big & giant.
2. prices are double what i see on visits to the city (and triple for fruits/veggies).
3. the workers are just as dumb as in the city but white (is that an issue for some of the previous commenters?)

Sep. 08 2010 08:38 AM
Carlos from Sunset Park

Mr. Mintz referred to supermarkets and bodegas, never mentioned delis or grocery stores.

Bodega is not generic term. It's a small grocery catering to Spanish-speaking customers. Delis and groceries serve everyone else.

Sep. 07 2010 06:12 PM

Matt, I echo your sentiments wholeheartedly. A quick trip out of the NYC/New Jersey area and one soon remembers what "civilized" society living is like. It's funny how NYC is the "supposed capital" of the world, yet in many ways it's slowly becoming more third world day to day i.e. too many people who bring and hang onto the mores/lifestyles they purport to be escaping. I notice in particular when doing business with stores owned and operated by immigrants post mid 90's customer service/repeat business is the furthest from their mind based on the policies or should I say lack of when it comes to pricing/returns/exchanges/false advertisement; all of which they feel consumer protection laws do not apply to them/their customer base; they're just after the immediate money. I had two experiences over the weeked one in Manhattan and the other in Jackson Heights that left me feeling as if NYC is becoming more and more like living in the so called awful places, they're running from (yet to recreate here). Ironically, I know a lot of the employees in these types of establishments do not possess the proper documentation to work, let alone live in this country and to think they deign to serve up a heavy dose of undeserved "attitude". Acceptable standards of living seem to be striving for the lowest common denominator across all ethnic/economic groups in the USA lately.

Unrelated, yet somehow related: immigration reform is long overdue.

Sep. 07 2010 01:21 PM
Jane from East Village

My supermarket in the E. Village does not sticker prices but puts them on a label on the shelf. (1) Many items are not priced. (2) Many labels are not under the product where you can find them. (3) The labels are hard to read (small type, abbreviations) and hard to see with aging eyes or understand with inadequate education. (4) Labels on highest and lowest shelves can't be read at all by, especially, older shoppers who can't stretch high enough or kneel on the floor to see them. The manager says regretfully that he remonstrates with his employees, but . . . . How can you police such a system?

Sep. 07 2010 12:29 PM
Matt from Brooklyn

I'm one member of an entire generation that is moving from the suburbs and country where we were raised into large urban areas. I've completed my education and am in my prime earning/spending years.

I have to say, moving to NYC has definitely had some culture shock. There are times when living here is more like living in a 3rd-world country (and yes, I've lived in those as well) than it is like living in the rest of America. Grocery shopping is a prime example. My wife and I will give it a few years here, but if stores here can't manage to get right the simple things -- like pricing -- that is easily accomplished in the entire rest of the nation, we won't stay here. And when we leave, our spending and our tax dollars will leave with us.

Sep. 07 2010 12:28 PM
Steve from Hoboken

What about delis? Rows and rows of bottled beverages--just try to find the prices!

Sep. 07 2010 12:28 PM
artista from greenpoint

i have never seen a single price on any item in any small store (not "bodegas" here) in either Greenpoint (where or live) or Williamsburg in the 20 plus years I have lived here.
(Sometimes the price of milk is on a card near the milk case.)
This annoys the heck out of me, as I have to ask the clerks at the front for each item's price and can't do a comparison.

Sep. 07 2010 12:27 PM
DarkSymbolist from NYC!

I shop at WF and seem to find price stickers on most items, most of the time actually.

And yes of course it's necessary to have prices on the items. The consumer should be informed and it's their job to do that.

Sep. 07 2010 12:26 PM
Adrian Allain from Queens

I assume that most people in the poorest neighborhoods are also Foodstamp recipients. So not only is the consumer being swindled but also the tax payer.

Sep. 07 2010 12:25 PM

This is funny because I just assume I am being charged an arbitrary price at the bodega. This goes for just about any bodega in the whole city. I just assume they make it up as they go along.

Sep. 07 2010 12:25 PM
Tom from Manhattan

Is it really necessary for grocers to continue to have individual price stickers on each item? This is a legacy of the distant past before bar codes, and seems to have been abandoned everywhere outside NYC. This requirement by NYC makes additional work for stores. (Whole Foods in NYC doesn't seem to comply -- have they been cited?)

Sep. 07 2010 12:23 PM
Leah from West Village

Does this rule about the prices on each item apply to liquor stores?

Sep. 07 2010 12:18 PM
anon from New York

A little bit off topic, but does your guest know why there aren't incentives for stores, such as Trader Joe's, to open up shop in lower income and up and coming neighborhoods so that the food and nutrition ideals that these supermarkets embody are in neighborhoods that don't have enough fresh food markets to provide another option to fast/junk food?

Sep. 07 2010 12:17 PM
Arthur Aptowitz from Forest Hills, NY

Complaining about prices to DCA can be a waste of time! Last spring, I sent them a about a local supermarket rarely posted ANY prices and often charged a different prixce from a labelled or sale price. I noted that I was once charged a price different from BOTH the labelled and sale price! A few months later I received a reply which showed NO attempt to verify my complaint but, instead, said the store was cited for not having proper size postings AT THE FRONT OF THE STORE! Today, they advertized a sale on a brand of frozen d dinners but in fine print said ONLY ONE SIZE WAS ON SALE. Naturally, of the hundreds of sUch dinners on sale, NOT ONE WAS OF THAT SIZE

Sep. 07 2010 12:15 PM

I shop in New York and New Jersey. In NJ there are limited prices on goods and it is my responsibility to make sure I am being charged the correct price. It seems wrong to say ti is not your responsibility to cross check you good during checkout. I am sure you double check you credit card statement prior to paying??

Sep. 07 2010 12:13 PM
Gary from Ridgewood

There is a bodega in my neighborhood that sells loose cigarettes. They call them "loosies," does your guest's department investigate this? I see a lot of teens buying them.

Sep. 07 2010 12:12 PM

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