Archive for July, 2012

Are American alcohol prices a ripoff?

July 26th, 2012

Wine at Spanish supermarket Amstel at Spanish supermarket

Ever feel like you’re overpaying for alcoholic beverages? If you’re in the US of A, you are probably right; our society seems to treat alcohol as a luxury rather than a commodity, and it’s priced accordingly.

I took the above two photos in Spain. If you factor in the exchange rate the bottle of wine comes out to about $2.25 and the six pack of Amstel is about $2.85. These prices seem low but neither of these were on sale or special deals; these are everyday prices in Spain.

Granted, you can pay more for imported alcohol (i.e. from outside the EU) or for fancier wine, but even the top shelf wines top out at about $30. The prices here are simply a fraction of what us Americans are used to paying. I’ve found this phenomenon to be true throughout western Europe.

This all makes me wonder: are we getting ripped off? Sure, you can attribute some of this to the import tax — but that can’t be the entire story since domestic alcohol isn’t much cheaper. American has a sad history of puritanical anti-fun policies, a particularly embarrassing heritage when our supposed “freedom” and “abundance” aren’t reflected in the prices we pay.

It makes me wonder: are we simply getting ripped off? Why is the rest of the world paying a fraction of what we pay for alcohol when we purportedly value capitalism and freedom? Who’s pocketing the difference, and how are they getting away with it?

Green Day sells out

July 23rd, 2012

Green Day banana chips

Remember when Green Day’s pop-friendly rock took over the airwaves in the mid 90’s? Well, times have changed. Billie, Mike, and Tre must have fallen on bad luck, as they’re now licensing their band’s name out for banana chips.

If you want to be an American Idiot and try these yourself, they’re sold at Walgreens.

Curry Village takes over Cafe Petra space

July 14th, 2012

Curry Village 2

The long-shuttered Cafe Petra finally has some action, with a new sign promising a second outpost of the Inner Sunset’s popular Curry Village Indian buffet.

It remains to be seen if this particularly quiet stretch of Guerrero can support a restaurant, or how this tiny storefront can house a full buffet. With Pakwan, Gajalee, and Alhamra all a stone’s throw away, there’s increasing competition for Indian restaurants in the area — great news for those of us who love Indian food.

Terrifying clown recommends spicy Cheetos knockoff

July 12th, 2012

What the fuck?

I’ve never been the type to fear clowns. But the clown on this package of knockoff Cheetos at Walgreens makes me want to grab a flashlight and hide under the covers.

I imagine if this clown were a real person, his day to day interactions would be something like this:

“Psst, hey kid,” the clown muttered in his gravely, tobacco-strained voice. “You want some hot Cheetos?”
“Those aren’t REAL Cheetos!” the kid replied indignantly.
“What, you’re too good for store brands?”
“Let me go!”
“How about you come outside with me, I have real Cheetos in the back of my van.”

Yikes! In spite of the price difference, I think I’ll be sticking with my trusty old pal Chester Cheetah.

Pica Pica scientists develop IRL Facebook wall

July 12th, 2012

Facebook wall IRL

The hard working scientists at local Pokemon-themed Venezuelan eatery Pica Pica have developed an IRL Facebook wall that somehow transcends the physical/cyber barrier with a painted board and a mineral-based writing utensil.

Although the Facebook wall does not appear to be refreshing from Facebook, I assume this is just a minor hiccup in the code. You know how the Facebook Graph API can be (and if you don’t, consider yourself lucky.)

Grill no longer thrilling

July 10th, 2012

Nizario's Pizza

The former Thrill of the Grill on Valencia has closed up shop, and is now a Nizario’s Pizza, part of a small local chain apparently owned by someone named Nizar.

While I was never a huge fan of Thrill of the Grill, and their “whenever we feel like it” operating hours couldn’t have been good for business, it was admittedly a perfect spot for those times when you were too drunk to wait in line at Arinell.

The good news is that all three of Nizario’s SF locations claim to stay open until 2am and (according to their Yelp reviews) all sell pizza by the slice. Those are two things we could use more of in this city!