Monday, February 13, 2012

A Report on Price Inflation in the Big Apple

A reader emails:
I live in Manhattan and try and find creative ways to buy groceries. If I go to the market near my apt and buy a dozen eggs, OJ, apples, bananas, chicken salad, carrots, and a 6 piece sushi set it is generally around $40. That is pretty expensive considering it is really only a weeks worth of breakfast and some snack food for one person.

To save money, I purchase bananas from a street vendor near my office. Last year when I first started at {a major financial company]. , the bananas were 5 for $1. Around late fall they became 4 for $1. This morning I come to work and grabbed 4 and the vendor slaps one banana out of my hand and points to the sign… 3 for $1.

PS – this inflation is in addition to a post I made on an article a few weeks ago where my landlord is demanding an increase in rent from $1550 to $1750, a 12.9% yoy increase.

But of course, inflation is only 2%.


  1. Anecdote from Long Island, NY...

    For the past year or so, an order of buffalo wings at the local pub were $9.95 (order = 12 wings as described on old menu).

    This past weekend I order a dozen wings and the waitress quickly corrects me, "I'm really sorry but an order only has 10 wings now." The price, for the time being, still remains at $9.95 but you get 16.6% less food.

    My girlfriend shrugs and says, "Well, America eats too much food anyway." Trying my best to restrain an outburst, I responded by equating such a statement with praise of slavery since, after all, forced manual labor is good exercise...

    It then took me almost a whole IPA to switch back into sheeple mode and glaze over.

    “It appeared that there had even been demonstrations to thank Big Brother for raising the chocolate ration to twenty grams a week. And only yesterday, he reflected, it had been announced that the ration was to be reduced to twenty grams a week. Was it possible that they could swallow that, after only twenty-four hours? Yes, they swallowed it.”

  2. Another tidbit from Manhattan,

    The three of us who live in a 1 bedroom home office apartment in the Financial District had our rent raised 13% as well (after arguing it down from 18%). They attempted this last October. Quite worried what they'll try and do this coming fall...

  3. I noticed that the way our office toilet paper is packaged has changed as well. Same vendor, same product number, same price (but oddly no weight listed any more...). However, the inner core of the roll is MUCH larger, allowing for less actual paper, and the paper is dimpled now, with much less weight per roll.

    Same price, half the paper.

    Needless to say, usage has almost doubled.

  4. A week ago, I bought a jar of Planters Macadamia nuts for $5.48, this week they are $7.48, likewise, some of my favorite cheeses have exploded in price, some have doubled in price within a few months. Needless to say, government inflation propaganda is not enough to conceal the fact that the FED's monetary policy is being revealed right before our eyes! Jeeze, I can't wait to see how they explain away a hyper-inflationary depression!

  5. In very recent memory I was able to feed myself on about $50 a week ($60 if I was going for the good cuts of meat and such). Nowadays, it costs at least $70-$80 (I even had to cut down on beef).

  6. While I cannot deny the inflationary pressures that currently surround us, the banana story is a poor anecdote. With only one year's data, you are simply observing the seasonal fluctuation in price as we move into late winter.

    Having lived in Manhattan for 4 years now, I can attest that the street price of bananas has oscillated between 5/$1 and 3/$1 (or a bit more) each of those years.

  7. Ikea in Toronto Canada increased the price of their hotdogs from $0.50 to $0.75. That's 50% hotdog inflation!

  8. Banana prices always increase in the winter, because there is limited supply of competing cheap/local fruit. Inflation may be rising, but this is not a useful data point.