Price flexibility

by on October 31, 2012 at 11:41 am in Current Affairs, Food and Drink | Permalink

If you think Chinatown normally has an unpleasant odor, imagine what it smells like 24 hours following no refrigeration. Street vendors were trying to unload perishables at bargain prices. I saw a fish weighing roughly 20 pounds and spanning 3 feet from head to tail go to a buyer for $1 dollar. $1 dollar!!!!!

Here is more, sad and tragic and informative throughout.  Hat tip goes to David Wessel and @lisang.

1 Urso October 31, 2012 at 11:52 am

Obviously this is already priced in. The vendors sell the fish at (infintesimally) higher prices during non-hurricane times as a hedge against the possibility of just this kind of an event. It’s the converse of price gouging. Therefore we would expect the prices of highly perishable items to be slightly higher in areas that are unusually prone to prolonged power outages (controlling for all other factors, of course).

2 dead serious October 31, 2012 at 12:24 pm

How many Chinese market owners have read Taleb?

I don’t think your premise holds much water.

3 TGGP October 31, 2012 at 7:41 pm

You don’t have to read Taleb to follow such a strategy.

4 Brian Donohue October 31, 2012 at 11:54 am

sad? sure. tragic? puh-leez.

5 IVV October 31, 2012 at 1:27 pm

It’s absolutely abysmal if you’re the fish.

6 Rahul October 31, 2012 at 1:46 pm

It’s brave to be eating that $1 fish.

What might be truly abysmal is your next day……

7 Dredd October 31, 2012 at 11:56 am

Beach property may go down that same avenue if this Groundhog Day way of dealing with greenhouse gases persists.

8 Dave Barnes October 31, 2012 at 12:08 pm

If “price gouging” is illegal shouldn’t this “price bombing” also be illegal?

9 Norman Pfyster October 31, 2012 at 1:27 pm

Yet another example of Chinese anti-competitive dumping.

10 Miley Cyrax October 31, 2012 at 12:11 pm

Why do elderly people live in Manhattan? Sticky residence vis a vis age? Primary benefits of living in Manhattan are proximity to nightlife and career opportunities, which they obviously don’t get to leverage.

11 Andrew' October 31, 2012 at 12:46 pm

“Why do elderly people live in Manhattan?”

Such a deal on fish!

12 msgkings October 31, 2012 at 12:54 pm

Rent control.

13 Rahul October 31, 2012 at 1:17 pm


14 Ed October 31, 2012 at 1:41 pm

People like living close to relatives.

Also, the New York State welfare system is more generous than that of other states in terms of providing services/ benefits to the elderly.

15 Spencer October 31, 2012 at 3:23 pm

Could it be because they do not need a car.

16 DocMerlin November 1, 2012 at 8:26 am

Rent control.

17 Daniel November 1, 2012 at 12:18 pm

Many elderly people are not able to drive or do not like to drive and thereby require a residence that is within short walking distance of amenities they desire which many manhattan locales are.

18 Pete October 31, 2012 at 12:48 pm

Michael Brown fails to see the problem.

19 Kitty_T November 1, 2012 at 5:29 pm

I remember this happening in the blackout in 2003, as well. I walked through China Town on my way home to Brooklyn from midtown, and wondered who in the blue blazes was going to buy unrefridgerated shrimp salad in 95 degree heat, even for $.75/pound. But nearly every restaurant I walked by had hauled a table outside and was hawking the contents of their kitchens on the sidewalk.

Lots of interesting commerce in the 2003 blackout, actually. Nice stores slammed down the gates against the non-existant looters, but the shoddy bodegas were OPEN FOR BUSINESS, working by candlelight. Many hotels barred anyone who couldn’t prove they already had a room from going into the bars or restaurants in the lobbies.

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