Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Fruits and Nuts

We have previously talked about the serious problem posed to food store owners by the proliferation of fruit peddlers. The situation appears to be getting worse as these peddlers are brazenly setting up shop literally right in front of supermarkets and green grocers.

What is really galling for store owners is the fact that these peddlers, having none of a store's significant overhead, are able to siphon business from the markets by underselling the legitimate businesses. We even have anecdotes of store customers coming in to upbraid store managers because of the store's "rip-off" prices.

Supermarkets, particularly in Manhattan, pay exorbitant rents and the concomitant property taxes are astronomical. These are the taxes that the city needs to pay for all of its vital services. It is simply unconscionable for peddlers to be allowed to in essence steal the legitimate business from store owners.

We are asking the administration to vigorously enforce the law and we have petitioned the City Council to examine ways to toughen enforcement. If nothing is done to interrupt this trend pretty soon the street vendors will be replicating a supermarket's entire inventory. If you think that this is far-fetched then go to 86th Street between 1st and 3rd Avenues to see the bazaars already in operation.

And if Councilmember John Liu is really interested in pedestrian safety he should join with us on this issue. We have actually seen carts that are over 15 feet long!