Dan Rattiner's Stories

The Hamptons Has Different Food Prices for the Rich and Everyone Else

What do you pay for orange juice?

There are two distinct price ranges for identical food items in the Hamptons. One is at the markets for the rich. The other is at the markets for everybody else.

I had a go around with a quart of orange juice the other day. At a market for the rich I was buying organic wonderful stuff for high prices, but then realized, when I saw a quart of Tropicana orange juice in a case, that we were in the need of some. I’d bite the bullet. Or would I? At checkout, they rang it up for $12. I told them it was too much and to put it back, and the checkout person deducted it.

We had company for that weekend and I told this experience to the husband, who happens to be a celebrity chef. “The price has risen because of a poor crop. No rain,” he said. “Mostly it’s Brazil. Twelve dollars is a fair price.”

Later that day, back at the market for the rich, I decided to go for the $12 orange juice. There was a different checkout person, and she didn’t know what to charge and so shouted to somebody to ask. “Six dollars,” came the reply, and so sold me the $12 orange juice for $6.

The next day I was in an everybody-else supermarket, and, curious, went over to the cold case to check out the price of Tropicana. Above it was a sign that read “SPECIAL. 2 FOR $6.99. REGULARLY $5.99. Wow! I already had the one. Should I get two more? Sure!

At checkout, it got rung up as $5.99 and $5.99, and when I saw it I stopped the checkout woman and told her the sign said 2 for $6.99. She thought about it and shrugged, then deducted one of the $5.99 and put both of the Tropicanas in the bag.

I figure it must be raining in Brazil.

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