Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Protecting New York City consumers against minimarts

A little-known [New York] city regulation caps the price of items sold by newsstands at $5 before taxes, keeping cellphone chargers, earbuds, tourist guidebooks, sunglasses and other oft-requested items out of reach for passers-by. ...

The price cap exists, [New York City Council speaker Christine Quinn] explained, to keep newsstands from growing into minimarts. It does not apply to food carts, street vendors or convenience stands in subway stations, only to newsstands regulated by the Department of Consumer Affairs.

Exceptions to the rule include cigarettes, newspapers, magazines, prepaid transit passes and telephone calling cards. Regardless of price, however, newsstands cannot sell fresh food, apparel, jewelry, handbags, hair ornaments or — though this has long ceased to be a hardship to many vendors — videocassettes.
--Vivian Yee, NYT, on byzantine regulations