Friday, September 26, 2008

Upscale NYC Market Charges 'Energy Surcharge'

Eli Zabar has decided to provoke his customers to think about about how the high cost of oil is affecting food prices by adding 1.8 % to the cost of whatever they purchase. It doesn't get much dumber than this folks. On the other hand, I suppose Eli might have recruited Al Gore to follow customers as they shop and point out how much the production of every loaf of bread and wheel of cheese contributes to global warming.


Upscale NYC Market Charges 'Energy Surcharge'

7 comments:

Tags said...

It looks to me like he's just showing us why he needs a price hike.

I wish the banks had done that.

ntsc said...

If he needs a price hike he needs a price hike, but since grocery stores operate on a very low margin, 3 cents on the dollar is common, that is a massive price hike.

To call it an Energy Surcharge without tieing the individual item price increases to their carbon foot print is not bright, and may well attract the attention of the NY Attorney General, who looks for minutae like that.

Tags said...

How many cents on the dollar is 1.8% ?

Dave said...

I live next door to one of his stores - the Vinegar Factory - great place, I just can't afford to shop there. The produce is all perfect, the fish is amazingly fresh, the beef is all prime and dry aged on site. He even has 300 cheeses available. 91rst Streeet is lined with his bakeries and greenhouses. It is probably the best high end food store in New York. . His prices on the other hand, reflect this. I walked out 3 weeks ago refusing to pay $4.50 for a vidalia onion (small). I have not been back. He is losing business lately, people are looking at what they are spending and his gouging has been tolerated for too long. It's a shame, when he was merely "more expensive" than everyone else I could justify paying for great ingredients - now it's just robbery. I walk past the store several times a day - fewer people all the time. It's not an energy surcharge - it's just greed.

http://www.elismanhattan.com/vfzagat.html

Bob del Grosso said...

Dave,
Eli Zabar has never been about providing cheap food to the middle class. He's always been about providing high quality stuff to those who can afford it.

But I do think that charging 1.8 % for energy is dumb. He may as well shoot himself in the foot. I'll bet the surcharge is gone by yesterday. He's no fool.

Dave said...

Eli took down the signs and eliminated the charges. I was in the Vinegar Factory tonight as an emergency stop (needed a ripe avocado $5.25 each). I am glad my clients love me.

Bob del Grosso said...

Dave

Given all the press he got from the act of putting up those signs, I have to wonder if it was not a PR stunt. People do strange stuff like that all the time just for the outrage it causes e.g. $200 Kobe beef burgers stuffed with foie gras or $1k pizza with caviar.

The Zabars have business in their bones, it's hard to imagine any of them doing anything so outrageous without expecting that the upside will be greater than the ridicule.