Via e-mail at 2:02 p.m. today:
It appears that one of my favorite food trucks near the Public Ledger Building across from Independence Park, roughly 5th and Walnut, has begun feeling the effects of the recession. That is they have raised the price of cheese from $.25 to $.50. I’ll admit it’s hardly a budget buster for me, and when you sell as many cheeseburgers or cheese hot dogs as they do, it likely helps their bottom line, but here’s the incongruity—the price of everything else has not changed. And they don’t charge for a lot of other things.
At lunch today I got a kielbasa. I had them put it on the grill (they are always better grilled and they have to be just shy of burnt to get the full effect) and dressed it up with fried onions, brown mustard and, of course, the aforementioned cheese. Total cost: $3.00. Money well spent. Without the cheese it would have been $2.50. Without the onions and mustard, it still would have been $3.00.
What makes cheese so special that they feel entitled to charge $.50 for it? And why do we pay?
My sandwich had a lot, I mean a lot, of onions. Free.
They were also quite generous with the mustard. Free.
Cost of grilling (some trucks charge an extra $.25 for “anything on the grill.”). Also free.
Sandwiches often rise and fall on the quality of their condiment supplements. Even as Heinz dominates the ketchup market, we all know not all mustards are created equal. When you are making sandwiches in volume, condiments are a cost to consider.
When I was a kid, my McDonald’s hamburger came with three pickles. Today, they come with one. What’s a pickle? Nothing, unless you are making as many hamburgers as McDonalds, in which case it’s a big item on your condiment budget. If I wanted extra pickles I suppose I could get them, but they’d likely charge me for them, like they do for the extra sauce packets I keep in my refrigerator because my kids won’t eat regular bar-b-q sauce and I have yet to find an equivalent for their hot mustard.
But I digress…
You know how much McDonald’s charges for cheese?
What a world.