Allan Rosen, author of our The Commute column, submitted this week’s open thread.
I thought there was a city law that all establishments must display pricing information.
Either there is no such law or no one is enforcing it. On a visit to Times Square last week, I noticed around 20 different food carts, none of which displayed any pricing information. Even the pretzel man didn’t say what his pretzels cost. The only exception was the nut guy who had a large sign indicating the prices for each type of nut he was selling. What is preventing these vendors from overcharging tourists or someone from an ethnicity or color they do not like as long as prices are not posted?
The problem does not end there. A few blocks away, the TKTS Booth the digital sign only stated 40 percent, 50 percent or 60 percent off depending on which play was being offered. Again, tourists are the most likely victims; some not being aware of the high price of Broadway show tickets. After standing several hours on line on certain days, I am sure many are surprised that even with the steep discounts a single ticket can still cost $50 or more, but buy them anyway just because they already invested all that time waiting.
But wait there’s more. I ate at a restaurant and the menu only disclosed calorie counts for beverages, no prices, except for wines. Then there are the parking garages, which used to display prices at the entrance that you could read before you entered. Now you can only see the prices after you are half way down the ramp and can’t back up because there are already cars lined up behind you.
Ads for cable and Verizon Fios also bother me because they never disclose what the applicable taxes and other fees are when stating their base price, fees that can add $15 or more to the monthly price or the ads that just say “shipping and handling extra.” But let’s not go there.
Displaying large easy to read prices at the gas pumps seems to be the only thing that anyone cares about, but what about the other violators? Or are these laws requiring the disclosure of pricing information no longer on the books?
I asked Councilman Nelson’s office to investigate exactly what the city laws require regarding the posting of prices and am awaiting a response. What also bothers me is that this trend of not disclosing pricing information seems to be increasing. I remember when the Department of Consumer Affairs made a big deal when stores did not post prices in their windows. When was the last time you heard anything from that department? Does the lack of clear pricing information bother you, too?