Customer preference is not transparency?

by rdan

WSJ reports:

Who needs markups? Customers who shop at Eli’s Manhattan, a posh grocery store in Manhattan’s tony Upper East Side, aren’t paying more for individual items — they’re just paying 1.8% more on their bill at the checkout.

Grocery stores find ways to pass higher energy prices onto customers. 
Eli Zabar, who owns the decade-old two-story haunt known for its $12 chocolate bars, $30 imported nuts and $95 hams, told a CBS affiliate station in New York that he wanted to be transparent to his customers about the need to raise prices as his energy bills soar. So he’s affixed tasteful placards in his store that read “ATTN CUSTOMERS: An energy surcharge of 1.8% will be added to every purchase.”

“I am making the increase completely transparent to the customer,” Mr. Zabar told CBS, “to call the public’s attention to how much fuel is being used in the food business.”

It seems his customers would rather not know, as angry patrons told the news channel they wouldn’t be returning to the store, calling the surcharge “outrageous” on top of prices that are already high.

So Mr. Zabar may now opt for what many other food purveyors have chosen to do: mark up the prices of individual items and hope it doesn’t drive customers away. “If the shock and awe is too great then what we’re gonna do is hide it in the cost of goods itself,” Mr. Zabar said. –Kelly Evans