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Tuesday, October 13, 2009

On the Pricelessness of New York Delis

Bodega, Brooklyn
Photo by myself in Sunset Park, around Fourth Avenue and 33rd Street.

A fellow lounged outside a Brooklyn bodega this weekend.


Vistors might find New York delis and bodegas unsettling. Most of the stuff sold inside delis here do not have price tags.

For the longest time, I'd never buy from a deli precisely because of that. I'm just the type of person who'd like to know ahead of time how much something costs. (I've gotten over this though, and would rather buy from a neighborhood deli than a chain store like 7-Eleven).

Mark and I aren't sure why deli's don't use price tags. It's probably a combination of laziness and the flexibility of pricing things based on how they're doing for the month.

Related posts: On Christmases Past, Start Spreading the News and Invasion of the Condo Snatchers.


Olivier said...

c'est l'un des problèmes a NYC et aussi la Taxe de NYC qui n'est pas mise sur le prix des produits. En France, c'est obligatoire de mettre le prix (avec la taxe) et je trouve cela plus simple...Surtout que je peux pas préparer ma monnaie avant d'arriver en caisse, alors a la fin je donne presque mon portemonnaie à la vendeuse pour qu'elle se débrouille avec toutes mes petites pieces ;o)

magiceye said...

that is interesting!

Anonymous said...

That is the way the grocery stores used to be. You took a note in from your mother and handed it to the store owner and he went around to all the shelves and got the items and set them on the counter in front of you and then wrote each item down on his sales book tablet and told you what the total price was. Nothing is done that way around here anymore but it was the only way you bought groceries when I was growing up.

Kitty said...

Hi Olivier
Having the tax figured out beforehand on the items makes sense. After all, it doesn't matter if you compute the tax per item or for many items together. I can see how it would make checking out so much faster!

Thanks Magiceye!

Hi Mr. Lincoln
How funny? There was certainly more trust back then, and usually customers would have a relationship with the vendor.

I suppose it's natural to be suspicious, especially when money is involved. However when I've purchased things from delis, the prices have been fine. Marked up a little since they're so convenient and open 24/7, but not insanely through the roof.

Luis Gomez said...

Love the photo. It is a very nice posting.

elsie said...

as a tourist I always felt like the shop owners would "rip me off" if they could tell I wasn't a local and then would wonder if I got the local price or the tourist price...

valeria said...

The man, oh..., you couldn't convey a better image of laziness...!

Ken Mac said...

real life