Friday, April 22, 2005

Kosher Pricing

I was quite irked, although not suprised to learn that the New York City Department of Consumer Affairs has asked citizens "to report charges by stores in New York City for Kosher-for-Passover food items that are notably more expensive than the regular prices." (complaint form here)

May I begin by asking, what does "normal" price mean anyway? Is there some idealic price for passover items which is acceptable? This garbage is wrong on so many number of fronts.

For instance, last year I paid $15 a pound for what I consider that best brand of hand-rolled matzah (unleavened bread). This year, it was $21 for the same thing. But what are the alternatives? Buying what I consider not to be as good may save me a couple of dollars, but in the end I preferred to spend my dough (heh, heh) on the best possible brand. Did anyone put a gun to my head and force me to buy it? And at that price? Nope, and nope.

A price is not a immutable property of objects. Through a legal viewpoint, it is an offer to sell at a certain price. A buyer is entitled to give a counteroffer, and is not locked in to a given price. In essense, the buyer has the upper hand, because he can either initiate or veto the transaction, where as the seller depends on the goodwill of the buyers. And if a two people agree to exchange in what they consider a mutual benefit, there is no justification for a third-party to weigh in on the validity of that transaction.

When viewed in this fashion, it's beyond contempt to give the buyer even more leverage, by way of government's coercive threat of violence.

And than there's the economic fact that price gouging and price control laws only further consumer misery. To understand why, please refer to here: Jim Cox's Concise Guide to Economics

And after all, with property taxes boosted thru the roof for all property types in NYC, is one suprised that the costs won't be passed down to consumers?

Some people can never resist the urge to use violence to get what they want. And that includes using government to determine "what ought to be the right price". Perhaps it's more noble to be a thief and steal what you desire sight unseen, than to brazenly intimidate people and threaten them to sell at a self-determined "fair" price point.


joe blob said...

Well guess what? I still think that charging
$8 for 12 tiny ice cream cups is way overcharging at $.75 each, and that eating icecream on Passover shouldn't have to be a delicacy especially since the icecream would fetch $3 if priced normally. Add say about a generous $2 for the supervision and you're still only paying $5.

bkmarcus said...

Brilliant argument, JayBeesNees.