Back when I lived in Philadelphia, my home was near a Pathmark supermarket that was in turn right across the street from a low-income housing project. I hated shopping there, because the prices were so ridiculously high — almost as though Pathmark knew that, right across Frankford Avenue, was a fairly captive audience of poor people without cars. The principle of the thing bugged me enough without having to pay three bucks for a half gallon of non-organic milk (this was in the early 90s) because I was in a hurry.
The LA City Attorney’s office isn’t accusing Ralph’s of price gouging per se, but the supermarket chain is on the business end of an overcharging accusation, charged by the city attorney with dozens of criminal counts of overcharging on things like salads and fish. I do a lot of shopping at Ralph’s, because I live within walking distance of one, but it’s not without its problems. For instance: My Ralph’s only ever has two checkout lanes open at any given time, which often forces me to use the self-checkout devices, which keep alerting the Ralph’s staff that I might be trying to steal something. But overcharging? Not really in my experience.
What about you? Are you surprised by the allegations? Do you suspect that your supermarket might be putting a bloated corporate thumb on the scale? Are you one of those sanctimonious types who tut-tuts at those of us who shop at the big-box stores? Or do you refuse to eat anything that isn’t partially hydrogenated and flash-frozen? Satisfy my curiosity, readers.