24 November 2006

price gouging ... on eggs?

The chickens need about 14 hours of sunlight per day to keep up their egg production, and mother nature only cooperates in the spring and summer. So egg production is down. Where mother nature does cooperate is in the taste of these pasture raised chicken eggs. Amazing. Last spring, when Flying Pigs Farms first introduced their eggs to the market, we had to cultivate the customers, taking a bit of a loss, until people realized that our eggs were something special, and worth paying a premium.

Now each week, we sell out of eggs, usually an hour into the market. Demand is huge, and if we could persuade the chickens to lay more eggs, we would. [the damn chicken union is powerful!] Two weeks ago, some ladies came by while we happened to still have some eggs in inventory, and they were shocked, shocked! that we were selling them for $6/dozen, when last spring they were $3/dozen, and during the summer were $4.50. "Oh, I see how it is ... get your name in New York Magazine, then jack up the prices. This says a lot about what kind of company you work for."

They informed me that no one should have to pay SIX DOLLARS for a dozen eggs. Then they purchased the eggs anyway, and stormed off in a huff.

Guess what? You DON'T have to pay $6 for a dozen eggs. You're welcome to go to Food Emporium and pay $1.79, or to Fairway and pay $1.29. You're addicted to our eggs? Are you comparing our eggs to crack cocaine? Do you even know what the function of price is?

Price is the way the market gives information to consumers. It communicates value and scarcity. Our customers value our eggs so much that they're willing to pay $6 per dozen. No one is putting a gun to their heads. There is no fraud involved. There are abundant alternatives.

These same people usually see no harm in making "windfall profits" from the sale of their co-op or condo in the ever rising NYC housing market. It's not price gouging when they do it, only when we do.

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