Thursday, November 1, 2012

Free Markets to the Rescue (Cell Phone Charging Edition)

While NY government officials continue to pose for cameras in front of puddles of water, it's the free market that has come to the rescue of those not as sharp and prepared as Goldman Sachs.

In Chinatown, it is merchants that are providing the products and services people desire. 

Not surprisingly, the government, always eager to interfere in free markets, has put out warnings to these fearless entrepreneurs. From HuffPo
New York law prohibits price gouging of essential products like batteries and water, New York's Attorney General Eric Schneiderman reminded vendors in an open letter the day before the storm. But on Wednesday morning, most of those out shopping in Chinatown and Two Bridges seemed happy that supplies were available, rather than upset about higher prices.
There are some that are bitching about the prices, but if they don't want to pay the current prices, there is certainly no rule that says they have to buy. They can wander further to the tip of Manhattan where Goldman Sachs has plenty of power and see if Lloyd Blankfein (always doing God's work) will invite them in for a free cell phone charge.

Here's HuffPo with more details on those providing much needed products and services:

Less than 48 hours after Hurricane Sandy wiped out all power in lower Manhattan, batteries, candles and flashlights have become as valuable to gold to some on the city's south end.

In the lower Manhattan neighborhoods of Chinatown and Two Bridges on Wednesday morning, residents lined up outside of bodegas and makeshift street stands to buy batteries, flashlights and candles. Prices were far above normal: DD batteries were $2.50 each; small flashlights were $10; candles were upwards of $4. Charging a phone from a sidewalk extension cord cost between $3 and $5.

"They're trying to make a profit at the expense of the disaster," said Thomas Liew, who was biking down Catherine Street near the foot of the Brooklyn Bridge on Wednesday. "People in this neighborhood didn't take the storm seriously and were unprepared. Now they're paying for it."

Success Trading, a dollar store on Catherine Street, had set up a table in the front of its pitch-black store to sell batteries and candles. A sales clerk, who was too busy to comment, handed out DD batteries (four for $10) as a crowd of around 20 people attempted to push through the store's partially opened grate. Many of the shoppers waved dollar bills in the air.

"Usually these batteries cost 75 cents each," said Yon Lai, an orthodontist who was waiting in line at Success Trading. Lai, who lives on Long Island and runs an office near Success Trading, drove into Manhattan to bring water and supplies to his daughter, a freshman at NYU whose dorm lost power. Lai said he tried to find batteries at three other shops before coming to Catherine Street. "Someone's distress is another one's opportunity," he said with a shrug...

"The prices aren't so crazy," said Lai. "They could be a lot worse. They're not selling batteries for $5 each."


  1. "They're trying to make a profit at the expense of the disaster," said Thomas Liew, who has clearly never read a book on grammar or economics in his life.

  2. New York will prosecute the free market for what authorities consider price gouging, but it's just fine if the government gouges citizens because that is called taxing.

  3. As a person who lives not far from the coast, these are things we just keep around. Flashlights, batteries, candles, some charcoal, some nonperishable food.

    All I have to do is fill water buckets or buy some additional water.

    I don't feel one bit sorry for these people. I'd be more than happy to 'gouge' and make few dollars off of them if I could. Even better if they are libtards.

  4. I bought AAPL at 690. Price gouging?