Don’t @#&% your locals.

I walked into an unfamiliar Times Square deli last week on one of those cook-an-egg-on-the-sidewalk days and ordered up my usual can of Coke.  The deli-keep said, “That’s $1.75.”

“$1.75?  Really?”


Now look, I’m a little principled when it comes to my Coke . . . especially since I buy so much of it that I should have my own island at Atlanta’s World of Coke.  And since I knew this can wasn’t a collector’s item or laced with gold, I put away my billfold and started to walk out the door, figuring I’d grab a $1 Coke from my favorite hot dog vendor on the street.

“Wait, wait,” yelled the proprietor.  “What’s the matter?”

“I can get it for $1 about 50 yards from here.”

“Well, ok.”

Then I got inquisitive.

“Why do you charge so much more?”

“For tourists . . .”

And then he smiled like a Disney villain.

Ok, so this deli was in a high rent area, and there were a lot of people speaking in different languages grazing at his salad bar.

But I didn’t see any locals around.  And after learning that he was going to charge almost double what others were charging for my 12 ounces of sugary brown carbonated heaven, I understood why.

And come September, when the tourists are gone, and there are nothing but locals left in our fair Times Square . . . guess where we won’t be shopping?

Yes, maximize your profits.  Know who drives your bottom line.  But be careful about turning away a base audience that could keep you in business for years, not just one season (I’m talking about locals, subscribers, multi-buyers, etc.)

Because your bottom line has no fury, like a local scorned.


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  • Karlie says:

    I think the same sentiment goes for students. Students and people of the college age are a rabid group of people who will support what they love with a never ending fever if they are treated correctly.

  • J says:

    Bugs the heck out of me when a hotdog vender tries to tell me that a Poland Spring is actually $2 instead of $1…

  • Thank you for making this point, Ken!
    It’s a problem that drives me NUTS.

  • Ezgi says:

    YES. Spent a year in Barcelona where there are huge masses of tourists all year round, and the lack of value on regular customers drove me crazy.

  • DW says:

    Apparently you haven’t discovered the sheer unadulterated pleasure of keeping Cold Mexican Coca Cola in your office frig.

    If you did, it wouldn’t make a difference if the canned local cokes were free, you couldn’t drink them.

    Think of how the cokes taste on vacation vs what you get at home.

    Shop around though, you can pay as much as $3.00 a bottle for this type but if you shop around, you can get them for under 90 cents each.

    PS – it comes in GLASS bottles too. No plastic or aluminum

  • Joseph Giglio says:

    The theater community does the same thing with the handling charges on season subscriptions and tickets that are bought directly from the theater and picked up will call at the box office. I was just charged @22 for two season subscriptions purchased directly from the theater. That added over 5% to the total cost of the tickets and I will never get another subscription from that theater again. Talk about biting the hand that feeds you!

  • Debbie Saville says:

    Here’s the scene from a tourist looking in… I don’t want screwed either if I decide to take the little bit of vacation money I work so hard to save all year. I am going to also look for a fair value. Recently, 45 miles from the city of Pittsburgh at an amusement park, they were charging $3 for that same can of coke. I would have to be suffering from severe dehydration,with so much heat coming up from the pavement it causes me to see mirages before I would consider buying that can of coke. Ok, I like to throw in a little humor, but seriously whether you are a tourist or a local, respect your sales market and be fair to the public that supports you.

  • A Contrarian says:

    Well, I might ask what you’re doing buying Coke by the can instead of by the case and chilling at home or office?

  • Paula says:

    You “hit the nail on the head”. I don’t like to
    be overcharged for anything. I refuse to pay
    $1.90 for a $1.25 bottle of water at a LI pizza
    place. BMOW

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