Passover Price Gouging

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I told you how my family and I don’t use many processed foods for Passover, thus avoiding many of the ugly price-fixing that goes on during the holiday. But some things, you just can’t buy — unless, of course, you want to squeeze your own olive oil.

These two bottles of grapeseed oil look basically the same, don’t they?

passover oil

There’s just one tiny difference: One bottle, we bought a couple of weeks ago, before the Passover rush (that’s the open one). We ran out last night (during Chol Hamoed) to buy the second. Aside from that, they’re virtually identical. Or are they? Oops — look again.

passover oil $8.99

That’s the bottle of oil we bought way before Passover — before the supermarkets started isolating their Passover products to a specially-tagged PASSOVER SALE NOW! section. And what about the bottle on the right? You’ll notice it doesn’t have a price tag.

Fortunately, we managed to save the receipt.

Now, $8.99 versus $12.49 isn’t a huge difference, 29% of the total cost — unless you think of it on a macro scale. Imagine being charged 1/3 more for everything you bought in a week. (In our part of Brooklyn, with an average family size of 10, chances are almost everyone is affected more than we are.) Despite the successful lawsuits against Manischewitz and other matzah companies for price-fixing, there are huge problems that need fixing. Even after all that Pesach cleaning, it’s still a dirty business.

Posted on April 2, 2010

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