Americans aren’t the only ones outraged by surging inflation — even tourists are suffering sticker shock when they touch down in the Big Apple!
Small business owners raised the specter that skyrocketing prices were hurting the city’s crucial tourism sector as the Bureau of Labor Statistics said Wednesday that the Consumer Price Index hit 9.1% in June, marking the highest level in more than 40 years.
“The customers we have, most of them are from Europe, so now they don’t want to buy like they used to before,” said Cinthia, who owns the New York Gifts store near Times Square.
“Now, they’re like, ‘America is expensive.’”
She added: “So, of course, it’s affecting businesses, but it’s affecting me personally…I just don’t see it like I’m making profit.”
At the nearby Halal Fire Grill eatery, owner Zaina said business was down due to increased costs that have to be passed along to diners.
“Before the season got warm it was mainly locals, but now that the weather is warm now it’s mostly tourists,” Zaina said
“But everyone is trying to save a dollar. Some of them get deterred by the price and they go elsewhere.”
The struggling restaurateur added: “I buy the bread, the vegetables — everything like that, I buy it in bulk. All of that has gone up significantly.”
Meanwhile, everyday New Yorkers out shopping for groceries told similar tales of woe.
At a Food Emporium store in Manhattan’s Midtown West neighborhood, retired court worker Brugman Aviles, 55, said, “I have to be more cautious as to what I buy.”
“Sometimes, you buy stuff on impulse. You cannot do that anymore,” Aviles said.
“You have to actually try and find bargains and compare prices. Do what you can. You have to do more calculating and budgeting.”
Aviles added: “I’m not treating myself like I used to.”
Claudia Munoz, 41, the general manger at a nearby hotel, said she’s been buying “different brands” that cost less than what she’d usually choose.
“I love organic brown eggs’ she said.
“Now, I’m just getting white eggs, because of the crazy difference in prices.”
Munoz added, “I also try to do Amazon Fresh or Whole Foods delivery, that way I’m not wasting gas money to go to the store because you have to find ways to decrease how much you’re spending in all types of ways.”
At a Gristedes supermarket in Hell’s Kitchen, neighborhood resident Grace, 64, said she’d been shopping earlier “at another store and I was looking for beef ribs.”
“I used to buy them in that same store years ago and they used to sell the whole rack and it was a big package and it was very cheap,” she recalled.
“I went today, it was one pack and they were very thin and it was not the rack, it was already cut ribs.”
Grace added, “I just looked at them and got so sad, so I left.”
“Spaghetti sauces? Oh my gosh, I’m gonna have to learn to make my own,” she said.
“Paper towels piss me off. They used to be the big, fat rolls and now they’re small.”
Grace said she formerly favored the “Bounty” brand “because it was not expensive, it was strong and lasted longer.”
“Now, I buy the ones in Duane Read where you get the 6 rolls for $5,” she lamented.