The Economist has a good piece on NYC cracking down on nook retailers which set costs increased than NYC thinks is simply.
The story of your correspondent’s native nook store presents a cautionary story.
The sort of store was as soon as acquainted in New York, however has largely been squeezed out by chains and financial institution branches. The proprietor is an immigrant who opens early and closes late. In crises the store shares the merchandise that prospects want. When flooding from Hurricane Sandy brought about a blackout in 2012, it bought batteries, torches, candles and board video games. Throughout the pandemic it has been piled excessive with containers of sanitiser, bleach, masks and gloves.
Stocking up comes with dangers. Buying stock is expensive. Demand drops off when normality returns—undesirable board video games linger at the back of the store. And this time, the foundations modified. In March a lady purchased a field of masks (every masks costing $2), after which mentioned she was from the town’s workplace of shopper affairs, and charged the shopkeeper for violating new price-gouging guidelines. Two days later, says the shopkeeper, one other inspector charged the store once more, this time providing steerage on the fitting costs. Masks ought to price not more than $1; gloves promoting at $19.95 ought to promote for less than $14.95. Every package deal marked above the permitted worth could be fined $500. There have been many packages.
…Shortly earlier than a rescheduled listening to, the store’s proprietor acquired a suggestion to settle the primary cost for a bit of over $7,000. That’s way more than his month-to-month revenue, he says from behind the plastic display now distancing him from prospects, wanting glumly at a stack of authorized papers on his counter. However the fines could be ruinous….The shopkeeper will settle…Justice within the Massive Apple has been opaque and dear—and raises the query of who exactly is being gouged.
Those that measure the simply worth by the labor, prices, and threat incurred by the one that offers within the merchandise or produces it, or by the price of transport or the expense of touring… or by what he has to pay the elements for his or her trade, threat, and labor, are drastically in error, and nonetheless extra so are those that enable a sure revenue of a fifth or a tenth. For the simply worth arises from the abundance or shortage of products, retailers, and cash… and never from prices, labor, and threat. If we needed to think about labor and threat to be able to assess the simply worth, no service provider would ever endure loss, nor would abundance or shortage of products and cash enter into the query. Costs will not be generally fastened on the premise of prices. Why ought to a bale of linen introduced overland from Brittany at nice expense be price a couple of which is transported cheaply by sea?… Why ought to a e-book written out by hand be price a couple of which is printed, when the latter is healthier although it prices much less to supply?… The simply worth is discovered not by counting the price however by the widespread estimation. (Grice-Hutichinson, 110-111).