Why Are These San Francisco Grocery Customers Being Charged Five Times the Price?

Charity Campaign Highlights Bay Area Inequality

Published On
Nov 21, 2016

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Customers at a high-end San Francisco grocery store were horrified recently to find they were being charged five times the normal price when they took their goods to the till.

They were actually being caught on undercover cameras as a stunt for a campaign by Tippiing Point Community, which is trying to highlight the poverty experienced by some families living in the Bay Area.

According to the charity, one in ten Bay Area families are living on the poverty line experience every day. In large part due to the wealth of Silicon Valley, the Bay Area's median households bring in $153,057, which, after taxes, is five times more than those families living on the poverty line ($24,300). So the campaign, by Goodby Silverstein & Partners, asks people to imagine how it would feel if everything were five times more expensive than what they can afford.

As well as the undercover stunt, which is being used as an online film to launch the campaign, Tipping Point will also run a "Black Friday" coupon insert in the San Francisco Chronicle this week, advertising a 500% price markup -- for example, eggs priced up from $6 to $30 -- in contrast to all the other retailers' discount sales. The campaign will drive people to a website, www.tippingpoint.org, where they can plug in their income to determine how expensive basic items feel for those living below the poverty line. On social media, people will be encouraged to share #PovertyLinePrices.


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