Monday, March 9, 2009


I'm not going to bellyache about this. I'm just pointing it out. I was aghast at what they were charging at the West End Super at 65th and West End Avenue in Manhattan for a pack of cigarettes the other day.

Just two weeks ago, I was in sticker shock when they announced a pack of 20 smokes was going for $11.25. I just figured, it's the Upper West Side. But, just two blocks away on Columbus or Broadway, they were selling them for under ten bucks, the going rate these days in New York.

But, this weekend, I strolled in looking for a pack and they had raised the price to, ready......are you sure, to $12.75. Nowhere, and I mean, nowhere in the city are they charging that much. The mark up alone is what is costs for a pack in Pennsylvania or Delaware. Right now, the going rate in New York for a pack of Cigarettes is between $8.50 and $9.50.

I'm thinking...what a great opportunity to quit smoking. I should. But, then, I started getting angry trying to figure out WHY they were charging so much. I came to two conclusions. There could be more and I'll let you figure that out.

My first thought was that the Asian family that runs the little grocery store is anti-smoking. So, they figure ...raising the price will result in fewer people smoking. Well, if they were really anti-smoking, they'd simply stop selling the packs.

My second thought is a tad more sinister. Just two blocks away and surrounded by high-rent skyscraper apartments, sits a fairly large inner-city housing project.
Yes, black and Latino people live there. Could this be their way of keeping the brothers from coming into their shop? Don't know. But, do you guys have any other reason for why this one little market is charging FOUR dollars more than any other place in the city for cigarettes. I'm open to suggestions.

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