Maybe it was a campaign promise.

Another quick one-off, also ganked from ilyka.

Rudy Giuliani: “Ketchup…Catsup…Ketchup…Catsup…”:

“A gallon of milk is probably about a $1.50, a loaf of bread about a $1.25, $1.30,” he said.

A check of the Web site for D’Agostino supermarket on Manhattan’s Upper East Side showed a gallon of milk priced at $4.19 and a loaf of white bread at $2.99 to $3.39. In Montgomery, Ala., a gallon of milk goes for about $3.39 and bread is about $2.

Later Tuesday, the Giuliani campaign pointed out that the national average for bread is $1.17 per pound, as listed by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The government agency also lists milk as costing, on average, $1.60 per half-gallon.

Giuliani was closer to the mark on the price of a gallon of gasoline.

“Gas, I think, is $2.89,” he said.

My reaction was as follows:

TWO DOLLARS AND EIGHTY-NINE CENTS? TWO DOLLARS AND EIGHTY-NINE CENTS?! MAYBE DURING THE LAST DEMOCRATIC PRIMARY, YOU DOUCHECLUMP! I don’t know what it’s like in Noo Yawk Siddee, where hamburgers cost twenty dollars and the taxi drivers charge to stab you with their crack pipes on the way to the Marriott, but here in California we’re edging up on four dollars a gallon (a little more that four dollars per gallon at a few places around SF, I hear), three-fifty in places where I don’t live like Vallejo. Pretty much the same as milk, actually. It seems to be spiking about ten-fifteen cents per month. Not a cheap state, is California, but come on.

How sheltered does a fucking New Yorker have to be to calculate gas prices at sub-Lawrence-Kansas levels? Quick: ask him how much it costs to rent a one-bedroom apartment. What’s the national average, Rudy?

78 comments for “Maybe it was a campaign promise.

  1. LS
    June 7, 2007 at 11:40 pm

    New York gas prices run lower than California, ALWAYS, and a lot of New Yorkers gas up in Jersey, where the refineries keep prices at some of the lowest levels in the country. Jersey is currently flip-flopping — $3.00 plus or minus about $0.05. No clue where he’s pulling $.89 from; that went the way of the dodo as of Memorial Day.

    Milk and bread is scary – now we understand why anyone who can afford to drives to grocery stores in the suburbs, eh?

  2. poker butt
    June 7, 2007 at 11:42 pm

    damn, so that was the yelling i heard earlier today…

  3. June 7, 2007 at 11:43 pm

    That small interchange is amazingly telling of the average politician’s disconnect with the reality of the typical person-on-the-street. Good heavens. I realize he probably never sets foot in a store these days to buy something personally, but come on.

  4. zuzu
    June 8, 2007 at 12:07 am

    How sheltered does a fucking New Yorker have to be to calculate gas prices at sub-Lawrence-Kansas levels?

    Not very. You just have to take cabs, Town cars or subways everywhere and not go near 12th Avenue. Which isn’t very difficult at all.

    I have two gas stations two blocks from me, and I still couldn’t tell you how much they charge for gas, because I don’t bother to check.

  5. June 8, 2007 at 12:22 am

    When I was last in NY (Long Island around the 19th) gas was at least $3.35. Here in southeastern MI, gas is $3.50.

  6. Myca
    June 8, 2007 at 12:51 am

    How funny you mention Vallejo, Piny. I live 5 miles away, and always make a point of filling up on gas over there.

  7. Erin PD
    June 8, 2007 at 1:05 am

    Last time I filled up here in L.A., it was about $3.83, but I can’t remember when that was.

    I make a point to only get gas in when I go home, to OC. Not much cheaper but hey, every little bit, ya know?

  8. June 8, 2007 at 2:06 am

    In the tri-state area, gas prices haven’t reached over $3.00 dollars; However they are awfully close – $2.95 ( i am speaking as a resident of NJ)

  9. Avelyn
    June 8, 2007 at 3:24 am

    $3.15 here in the suburbs of Baltimore.
    Like Lenka said, this really shows how different the realities of most of these politicians are from the realities of pretty much everyone else.

  10. gab
    June 8, 2007 at 4:09 am

    The cheapest in my state (Virginia) is $2.79. And I had to look that up because I walk everywhere.

  11. louise
    June 8, 2007 at 5:17 am

    Versus somehow here in Maine, we’re still seeing $2.97 in 3 or 4 places around Augusta… DAMN. It’s the cost of heating oil that kills the locals here; had a frost warning in a few counties just last night.

  12. Maartje
    June 8, 2007 at 5:30 am

    This is not really on-topic, but it’s something that has had me curious for a while now, and it’s not directly off-topic either. Sort of.

    You list prices for milk as by the gallon. Do Americans really buy gallon jugs of milk? Or is that simply a ‘by quantity X’ price, and you can buy smaller amounts? (I’m Dutch, and we list milk prices in liters and usually but quantities of one liter, too. Meat and cheese are usually listed by the kilo, but you can actually buy quantities of one kilo, too. I have never seen anything that can be bought by the gallon, except for of course gasoline. A gallon jug of milk would go sour before I’d finish it, and I hate to think about carrying the thing back home on my bike.) Hmm, cultural disconnect, good stuff.

    That said: it’s pretty awful that would-be national leaders have no clue what’s going on price-wise in their own country!

  13. rachel
    June 8, 2007 at 5:31 am

    vallejo! i live next door to there in a little town no one has ever heard of. and the gas is definitly not in the 2’s. plus there is a refinery in my town giving me cancer with every breath, so couldn’t we get a discount? doesnt’t seem fair to me…

  14. AJ
    June 8, 2007 at 6:35 am

    It’s $3.15 in upstate NY. I imagine it’s much more downstate and in the city. I guess he never gets chauffeured past a gas station and bothers to look at the prices.

  15. louise
    June 8, 2007 at 6:59 am

    Maartje- yes, it’s sold here in sizes from a half-pint (those usually in schools) up to a gallon; in fact, I have a gallon of whole milk and a gallon of 1% milk in my refrigerator right now. My family of 4 (husband, me and 2 pre-teen daughters) go through about 6 gallons a week, between cooking, coffee and just drinking as is, and we drink plenty of water, too. What we RARELY drink is soda or commercially prepared juices.

    But when I was single, a 1/2 gallon a week was plenty.

  16. Roy
    June 8, 2007 at 7:11 am

    You list prices for milk as by the gallon. Do Americans really buy gallon jugs of milk? Or is that simply a ‘by quantity X’ price, and you can buy smaller amounts?

    Milk can be bought in many different sizes, but gallon jugs are extremely common. I don’t remember exactly how long they last, but it’s at least a week, I think. There were five of us in my family, and we’d go through at least a gallon a week, between cooking, breakfast, and regular milk drinking.

    Gas is around $3.30 here right now. It was higher, but it went down last week, thank gods.

  17. Ataralas
    June 8, 2007 at 7:16 am

    I’ll grant him the price of gas. If you don’t actually own a car, it’s easier to ignore. For example, the last time I regularly drove a car, back in the bad old days right after 9/11 (seriously, the best thing to happen to gas prices in the Bush administration), I knew that that gas cost $0.89 at the Gulf station on my way home, but $0.95 at the Exxon. I have no idea what gas costs now where I live, since I bike/walk/take the subway everywhere…maybe $3.25? On the other hand, I’m not a politician.

    And yes, Maartje, Americans do buy whole gallons of milk. I go through about one a week by myself, though I am unusual. It’s mostly people with kids who buy milk in gallons. You can buy it in smaller quantities, but the unit price goes up as you do. Last week in my grocery store, a gallon cost $2.99, a half gallon $1.99, and a quart (literish), $0.99. Americans also don’t do the UHT milk-in-a-box.

  18. Holly
    June 8, 2007 at 7:23 am

    Yeah, what Zuzu said. I walk by a gas station every day on the way to the subway, but damned if I can remember the price. How the hell would I know how much a gallon of gas is? Even if I did, what would that mean to me? I don’t have any idea of how many gallons of gas people have to buy every month to commute or go other places, what gas mileage is like in your average car these days, etc. I totally have no clue, nor do I really want to, I haven’t driven regularly since I was a teenager, I rarely ever take cabs because they’re too pricey and sometimes scary late at night (and apparently our cabbies smoke crack?! wtf piny?) It’s all train, bus, bicycle, and foot for me.

    And I mean, this doesn’t have anything to do with class or being “sheltered” according to the traditional inexperienced-rich-kid defintion — most people don’t drive in NYC, whether they live on the Upper East Side or in one of our many gentrification-endangered low-income neighborhoods. We have a walkable city w/ public transportation, and I gotta say… more American cities ought to allow for this kind of ignorance of gas prices, no?

    Milk and bread, on the other hand? That’s ridiculous. You really have to never be feeding or cooking for yourself or going grocery shopping to not know that kind of thing. And even if you’re a little out of touch, everyone can understand how much milk a gallon is, how long it would take an average family to consume it, unlike gas. So gas prices, whatever!

  19. Hawise
    June 8, 2007 at 7:27 am

    You list prices for milk as by the gallon. Do Americans really buy gallon jugs of milk? Or is that simply a ‘by quantity X’ price, and you can buy smaller amounts?

    Americans still use the old imperial system and for liquids they can buy lesser quantities in quarts, pints and half pints. By weight they sell in pounds and ounces. Goods come in multisizes because families do, a gallon is preferred by families, where single people would by by quart or pint.

    It is still absolutely wrong for a politician to go around touting his fiscal chops and not know the actual cost of the daily items of the voting public. I’m guessing he is unaware of the costs of housing, transportation (other than gas) and other services as well. I doubt that the other contenders on both sides are all that aware either- that is what staffs are for but do they know the true cost of having their staffs do all their work for them?

  20. Farhat
    June 8, 2007 at 7:34 am

    California could have cheaper gas if they allowed refineries to be built.

  21. June 8, 2007 at 7:44 am

    Most families do buy milk by the gallon, but a whole gallon is too much for one person, it’s true. When I lived alone I’d buy a half-gallon and it still sometimes went bad before I drank it all.

  22. Brad Jackson
    June 8, 2007 at 8:17 am

    Maartje Meat and cheese priced by the kilo? Weird. When I was in Japan it was always priced per 100 grams. I’m an American and a kilo of meat sounds like a lot to me.

    When I was a kid my family (two adults, two children) typically bought milk by the gallon. Today my wife and I are the only ones in our house and we buy milk by the quarter gallon and sometimes that’s too much. We don’t drink the stuff, so its used exclusively for cooking.

    I’d imagine taking a gallon of milk home by bicycle would be difficult, but don’t forget the middle American shopping style: once a week and with a car (because the grocery store is much too far to walk to). It really is true that most Americans own a car and drive it just about everywhere. People in big cities on the east coast can get away with not owning a car, they’ve got decent public transit. Outside the east coast cities its close to impossible to get along without a car.

  23. Rhiannon
    June 8, 2007 at 8:41 am

    Maybe he’s only looking at KY. It IS 2.89 here, just webt down on Wednesday though.

  24. willa
    June 8, 2007 at 9:25 am

    Whether or not one lives in NYC, to not understand how badly high gas prices affect the rest of the USA is, I think, not at all cool. So what if you don’t own a car or drive it anywhere? You should still know that high gas prices are a big problem for a great deal of the country. I don’t get this. If you pay any attention to the rest of the country at all, you–and this is the general you–should know that high gas prices are a problem.

    This is why living in NYC can be so annoying for me. Everybody here seems to think that this city truly is the center of the universe, and people don’t actually live anywhere else–the rest of the country is just a vast wasteland of Wal-Marts and strip malls, not actually populated by living beings.

    Blah. Very annoyed! Hulk smash!

  25. Holly
    June 8, 2007 at 9:33 am

    Since I wrote the “whatever high gas prices I live in New York and I don’t care” comment upthread, I should probably also say that I strongly agree with willa.

    I don’t have any idea how much a gallon of gas costs or what that means in terms of monthly costs for middle-class or low-income people, and it would be very hard for me to keep track of those numbers as someone who never buys gas or drives.

    However, that doesn’t mean I don’t realize that most people in this country have to drive, like it or not, that gas prices are an enormous problem, and that this is obviously tied up with big oil, monopolies, all sorts of sketchy international trade agreements, wars waged in oil-rich regions, etc. I know that gas is unreasonably expensive and that this presents a problem for almost all working folks who have to commute. (Although, aren’t US prices subsidized to be artificially lower than a lot of other places, like Europe?) It’s not particularly responsible to just say “oh it’s your fault since you drive and are dependent on oil, whatever I don’t need to care about that” — which was not the intention of my post. And of course, most of us who live on a power grid are dependent on oil anyway whether we drive or not.

  26. SarahMC
    June 8, 2007 at 9:45 am

    The cheapest in my state (Virginia) is $2.79.

    Ooooh, where, where?

  27. Roy
    June 8, 2007 at 9:56 am

    I think it’s worth noting that I don’t care if Average Jane New Yorker knows the cost of gas. Her not knowing the cost of gas given that she doesn’t drive means nothing to anyone else.

    I care when someone like Rudy doesn’t know the cost of things because he’s a politician. If he doesn’t know the cost of gas/groceries/transportation/whatever, it shows a disconnect between himself and the people he’s supposed to be respresenting. It’s his job to be aware of these kinds of things. I don’t care if he isn’t buying his own food or his own gas- most voters are.

  28. Holly
    June 8, 2007 at 9:56 am

    To follow up, I still can’t find any broad estimates on the average monthly cost of gas for commuters in this country, which if you ask me is the most important statistic that would actually allow someone like me to grok the impact of gas prices on average folks. I did find this good summary of the interconnected problems, however. Even little old sheltered me knows that gas prices have skyrocketed in the last six months; the author says his monthly expenditure went from $325 to $500, which is pretty mind-boggling. Another commenter said their monthly gas cost is $250, and I remember having a discussion about this on a message board with a bunch of people from various parts of the country, and there was little agreement on how much it might cost someone to switch from bicycle to car… pretty dependent on region and mileage, which makes averages all the more important.

  29. willa
    June 8, 2007 at 10:02 am

    Holly, thanks for the post! And for giving that link.

    Also, I apologize if my own post made you feel like a target.

  30. June 8, 2007 at 10:06 am

    What gets me is that they always ask this question and the pols always get it wrong! This has been a staple question since I think the Reagan years, certainly since Bush I. You’d think the campaigns would brief their candidates on this crap – it’s always a gallon of gas, a gallon of milk, and a loaf of bread – why don’t they just tell them the numbers? And how clueless do you have to be as a candidate, knowing you’ll be asked and not bothering to look up the answer?

  31. Thomas
    June 8, 2007 at 10:15 am

    Caity, that’s Jersey. In Westchester, the over-under is about $3.35.

    Zuzu really has a point about New Yorkers, though. There are significant numbers of NYC lifers who have never driven and never bought a gallon of gas.

  32. Tiny
    June 8, 2007 at 10:23 am

    I’m in N. Florida right now and gas is indeed 2.98 (not 2.89, but still). I also bake my own bread and thus couldn’t say what a loaf of bread costs.

    None of the candidates buys their own gas. They wouldn’t be running for President if they did. The Oligarchy is real.

  33. June 8, 2007 at 10:26 am

    We’re sitting at $2.91 here in Iowa. Just went down again today!

  34. L
    June 8, 2007 at 10:32 am

    Yes, and I am one of those New Yorkers. I don’t even have a learner’s permit, and most of my friends don’t either. Luckily I am not running for President of the USA!

  35. June 8, 2007 at 10:42 am

    Milk and bread, on the other hand? That’s ridiculous. You really have to never be feeding or cooking for yourself or going grocery shopping to not know that kind of thing.

    I dunno. When I go grocery shopping, I just put everything in the cart and pay at the end. I’ll check prices on some things, if I know there’s likely to be variation, but milk costs what it costs. If I’m buying milk, I’m buying milk.

    Same with bread, to an extent. I can tell you what the bread I like costs from the bakery, because I go there and buy that on its own. But the sliced bread we use for our kid’s sandwiches at lunch? I bought a loaf of that three days ago, and I couldn’t tell you whether it was $1.79 or $2.79 or $3.79. Just don’t know.

    If you’re living paycheck to paycheck and making every dollar stretch, you keep track of this stuff. But if you’re getting your money from the ATM $100 at a time and rarely need to worry that there won’t be enough there, you may well not. And there’s a big gap between “don’t need to stress about what a loaf of bread costs” and “rich and out of touch.”

  36. Yuri K.
    June 8, 2007 at 10:48 am

    I’ll note that the article is dated April 19th. Gas might have been cheaper then (NYCer here too, so I also have no clue what the prices currently are. “Around $3” is the best I could do.)

    But then, I’m pretty badly out of touch. I don’t really drink any milk, and I cook with it sometimes, but then I’m only buying quarts, and I don’t finish those. It’s not often enough for me to really remember the price. And I don’t eat any whitebread.

    This of course, makes me totally unelectable if I offered that as an answer.

    Just out of curiousity, how many people often drink a glass of milk? Now or growing up. We just never had it in my house to drink, just for cereal.

  37. Ataralas
    June 8, 2007 at 10:50 am

    I guess the other comment I want to make to this thread is how much the price of something can vary over a small geographical area. I used to live in a mixed student/academic/low-middle income neighborhood on the South Side of Chicago, and a gallon of milk ran me in the $5.00 range, and so did a pound of butter* at the local grocery monopoly. My suburban-raised sense of equity was shocked to find out that in the TJ’s/Jewel in the nice neighborhood on the North Side, milk cost $3.00 and a pound of butter $2.89. After that, I tutored a friend’s daughter in math in exchange for being driven to the nice grocery stores & some groceries every two weeks, but that’s not an option for a lot of people who live in neighborhoods where the cost of living is artificially inflated relative to the rest of their geographic area.

    * The week that butter went on sale 2-for-1, I bought 8 pounds of butter. The cashier looked at me like I had two heads. My roommate and I used it all in about two months. We, um, like to bake.

  38. June 8, 2007 at 11:01 am

    You’d think the campaigns would brief their candidates on this crap – it’s always a gallon of gas, a gallon of milk, and a loaf of bread – why don’t they just tell them the numbers? And how clueless do you have to be as a candidate, knowing you’ll be asked and not bothering to look up the answer?

    I agree — it’s not like this is a weird, out-of-left-field question. It gets asked in EVERY election. Why wouldn’t you give your candidate a little cheat sheet?

  39. tps12
    June 8, 2007 at 11:02 am

    Eh, I live in Brooklyn and I own a car, and I have no idea what gas prices are. I guess if I run for office I’ll remember to keep up on it, but seriously, some people talk about gas prices all the time, some don’t. Rudy is unqualified to be president because of his pro-torture and racist authoritarianism, not because he gets gotcha’d on some silly shit.

  40. LS
    June 8, 2007 at 11:03 am

    I dunno. When I go grocery shopping, I just put everything in the cart and pay at the end. I’ll check prices on some things, if I know there’s likely to be variation, but milk costs what it costs. If I’m buying milk, I’m buying milk.

    Ditto to that. I’ll price compare at the shelf, but I’m only looking at the cents because the dollars are always the same anyway, or I’m looking at the unit prices which aren’t the same as the price of the loaf, carton, whatever. By the time I get to the cashier, I’ve likely forgotten what it cost in the process of comparing other stuff and dithering over luxury items — I’m far more likely to be able to tell you what a gallon of ice cream costs than a gallon of milk, because I don’t need the ice cream. About the only time I’d take serious note of staple prices is when a sale flyer comes in and I’m thinking about stocking up.

  41. Thomas
    June 8, 2007 at 11:16 am

    And there’s a big gap between “don’t need to stress about what a loaf of bread costs” and “rich and out of touch.”

    Brooklynite, I agree with that — we pay attention to the expenses that affect our decisions. I could explain at length the tradeoffs of the various children’s playset, strollers, car seats; I can comment intelligently on the prices of power tools.

    Mnemosyne’s point is right, though — the question is most important because it is a classic stand-in for understanding the position of everyday people. A candidate that can’t field it has said something about which issues they prep on and which constituencies they care about. That is to say, John Edwards probably knows the price of milk and gas in every county he sets foot in because he has his staff prep him on it, while Giuliani doesn’t prep on it because he does not give a rat’s ass about the economic situation of average folks and isn’t too concerned if that shows.

  42. kw
    June 8, 2007 at 11:18 am

    I would bet that if the candidate said something like “my favorite bread, the whole wheat from Neilson’s Bakery on Main Street, costs $3.50”, he would impress a lot of people. (He might have to worry about the other bakers complaining, though.) I buy milk by the gallon, and in warm weather will carry it home on a bike – I just put it in my backpack. I don’t even notice the extra weight. But then, I drink at least one glass of milk a day, sometimes two or three, so I need the gallon. I love the stuff.

    On a totally different track, I’ve always been surprised by this question because the candidates are almost always men…shall we say, “of a certain age.” I know very few men over 60 who know the price of groceries – they seem to count on their wives to buy food and stay under budget.

  43. Suzanne M
    June 8, 2007 at 11:31 am

    Wow, Rudy. I’m in a suburb of NYC–in northern Westchester–and I paid $3.89 for gas not long ago. My last fill up was, I think $3.83. My brother’s car acts up if it doesn’t get premium, and he paid over $4 not long ago. And while I never buy just milk and so don’t know exactly how much it costs, I do know that it’s more by the gallon than gas. But only just, these days.

    I’m not sure where bread falls, because we buy so many different kinds for my family and they’re all different prices.

  44. June 8, 2007 at 11:33 am

    I’m just blown away that people still drink milk given all the evidence that is “doesn’t do a body good” after all. Speaking of which: Have we gotten to the point where a calcium pill is cheaper than a glass of milk? If it is, I say folks revolt and let it all moulder on the shelves.

    Does anyone think Giuliani is a viable candidate? If the answer is yes, I’m just . . . blown away again.

  45. SarahMC
    June 8, 2007 at 11:40 am

    I’m addicted to milk. I buy it by the gallon and I finish it before it goes bad. I’m also addicted to cereal, though, so I use a lot of it with that. I like a glass of milk after anything chocolate, and after ice cream. I think my dad and I are the only ones who HAVE to drink milk after ice cream and can’t stomach anything else.

  46. Thomas
    June 8, 2007 at 12:04 pm

    HP, I do not think Giuliani is a viable candidate. I just don’t think he can get the nomination with the opposition of so many of his party’s most motivated voters. The “big tent” is dead, the conservative movement takeover of the party is complete (leaving only a few dinosaur “Rockerfeller” Republicans). Now, the uneasy bargain between social conservatives and ruling class interests requires candidates that accept key elements of the catechism of both — Giuliani’s attempt to buck this will fail. His puerile toughguyism is popular with the conservative base, but it is not enough to get him past slapping them in the face on the signature issue of social conservatism, especially when they already viewed him as suspect.

    The polls and press can say what they want. When the front-loaded primaries come in, he will lose.

    BTW, it is not clear to me who wins yet; maybe F. Thompson. But almost anyone but Mitt (who has similar problems) and McCain (see Mikey’s post) can become the anti-Rudy and deny him the nomination.

  47. Maartje
    June 8, 2007 at 12:09 pm

    Wow, thanks for enlightening me on American shopping. Strange, that something so basic can still be different across countries with the same development/wealth status.

    Re: meat priced by 100 grams instead of by the kilo – Yes, good point. That type of meat (and cheese) we get here, too, but that’s usually the more expensive types, such as Brie, Rochefort and sirloin steak. As I detest cheese and am a low-cashflow student, those don’t weasel themselves onto my shopping list that often, and are therefore easily forgotten. Usually, things like chicken have a kilo-price and an actual-weight price, so you can both see if you can afford something and track if prices are rising.

    And re: bike. I try to shop once a week, too, and if my partner and I go shopping on out bikes together, we can just about manage to haul everything we need + stuff for the cats. Thankfully, we manage easily without a car, using bikes and trains for our commutes.

    Ok, end derail. :)

  48. Lolla Rosa
    June 8, 2007 at 12:33 pm

    Do Americans really buy gallon jugs of milk? Or is that simply a ‘by quantity X’ price, and you can buy smaller amounts?

    I’m sure this has already been answered, but yes. I’m a single woman and I go through a gallon of milk a week. No, really. Some people have a glass of wine with dinner; I enjoy a nice, cold glass of milk.

    And I buy a smaller quart-sized carton to have on hand at work, where I usually eat my breakfast because I’m too lazy to get up early enough to do that at work.

    Milk’s expensive, but I console myself with the fact that I don’t buy gasoline anymore. I gave up driving my car when prices stayed consistently over $2.00/gallon, and it’s now very, very close to $4.00/gallon where I live in the Pac. Northwest…

    Rudy might be sheltered, and justifiably so if he doesn’t actually look at gas prices, drive himself or purchase his own groceries. But if he’s running for public office, wouldn’t you think he’d bother to actually research what he’s going to spout off about?

  49. June 8, 2007 at 12:56 pm

    Gas is just over $3/gallon here (VT). I only know that because I live in Vermont now–when I lived in Boston I didn’t have a car and couldn’t have even given you a decent range. As for groceries, I think it depends what you buy. I don’t know what a gallon of milk costs or what a loaf of bread costs, because I don’t regularly buy either. (I could tell you the price of a pint of milk, because that’s what I buy to cook with). That said, I’m not a politician. I know about the things I buy, and it’s not necessarily my job to worry about the price of things I don’t buy. He was the damn mayor of a giant city with plenty of poverty, and it *was* his job.

  50. Rhiannon
    June 8, 2007 at 1:15 pm

    Bread, at Krogers, with the plus card in KY – cheapest (store) brand is .99 for wheat or white.

    Milk? I have no idea, there’s only two brands and one is consistantly higher than the other, so I’ve only ever bought the one brand, which means I never price check it. I just grab two jugs and throw them in the cart.

  51. willa
    June 8, 2007 at 1:28 pm

    I like the Giuliani campaign explaining here:

    Later Tuesday, the Giuliani campaign pointed out that the national average for bread is $1.17 per pound, as listed by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The government agency also lists milk as costing, on average, $1.60 per half-gallon.

    Funny how Giuliani said that A WHOLE LOAF of bread is about $1.30, not its cost per pound, and that he said a WHOLE GALLON of milk is about $1.50, not a half-gallon. I don’t think this means all too much, except to point out that the campaign is making it sound like, to me, Giuliani got the national average right, when actually he didn’t. That bugs me.

    … How much does bread weigh, anyhow? /rhetorical question

  52. Bethynyc
    June 8, 2007 at 2:05 pm

    On a totally different track, I’ve always been surprised by this question because the candidates are almost always men…shall we say, “of a certain age.” I know very few men over 60 who know the price of groceries – they seem to count on their wives to buy food and stay under budget.

    Heh. Maybe my dad should run for office–he does the primary shopping for my family. He also taught me to keep track of how much I was spending as I shopped. I still do that now, primarily because I’m between jobs and need to be careful about money. I’ll do big shopping for staples once a month, and pick up veggies, meats, milk, anything perishable as needed from Whole Foods or the local supermarket.

    I’m another non-driving New Yorker, but because my parents (in another state) drive, I have some vague clue of how much gas costs. Though I would have guessed $3.29 per gallon.

  53. June 8, 2007 at 2:15 pm

    Yeah, since having gotten rid of the wheels a few years ago, I’ve been blissfully semi-aware of the skyrocketing prices.

    but, 1.50 for a gallon of milk? HAHAHAHAHAHAHA.

    republic of Dogs had a link to the rising cost of food, too lazy to hunt through the archives at the mo. but, yeah. good luck there Rudy.

    at least he hasn’t done the “wo, swipe-thru checkout at the grocery store! what WILL they think of next!” i guess…

  54. June 8, 2007 at 2:16 pm

    “Ketchup…Catsup…Ketchup…Catsup…”:

    Ooo, I know, I know!

    LET’S CALL THE WHOLE THING OFF!!!

    fucking Rudy. when are the rightwingers gonna drag out the Rudia pics already? or the adultery business? because you KNOW that’s gonna be the coup de Gracie.

  55. Lo
    June 8, 2007 at 2:17 pm

    It’s actually not all that low in KS. It was up to $3.29 a couple weeks ago. Down to $3.05 right now.

  56. June 8, 2007 at 2:20 pm

    and yeah, Ataralas, you’re right, it tends to be MORE expensive in low-income neighborhoods.

  57. June 8, 2007 at 2:23 pm

    but actually, yeah, the -really good- question to ask Rudy would’ve been “how much does a one-bedroom rent for.” I really want to know what he thinks it is.

  58. June 8, 2007 at 2:39 pm

    Wow, it looks like the Texas gas prices are awesome compared to the rest of the country. I filled up yesterday at the expensive gas station for 2.90.
    Milk is about 3.50
    Bread is 1.00 for the store brand (which is what we always buy)

  59. Holly
    June 8, 2007 at 2:47 pm

    but actually, yeah, the -really good- question to ask Rudy would’ve been “how much does a one-bedroom rent for.” I really want to know what he thinks it is.

    Likewise. I ask people (in New York) that question myself sometimes, it can be quite interesting to see how people response. I have some friends who have managed to live under incredible rent-controlled deals for years and are kinda out of touch, but rent is one of those things you talk about w/ your peers a lot in this city, so it’s a good gauge of what your “social bracket” is.

  60. June 8, 2007 at 3:10 pm

    When people scoff at my “high” rent, I ask them how much their car payments, insurance, and gas cost each month.

    Their rent and car costs per month usually come out to be equal, if not more than my rent + $76 metrocard.

  61. wandergrrl
    June 8, 2007 at 3:13 pm

    I like to buy organic milk, but that costs about $3-4 for a HALF gallon! I stand in front of the display and debate it with myself every single time. This is in a big chain supermarket in southern Cali. It can be a bit cheaper, $2-3 (again for a half gallon) at Trader Joe’s.

    When I was working in downtown LA, I frequently used the subway to commute from the Valley (about 12 miles). But it cost about the same as if I drove. And when my husband & I BOTH started working downtown, it was cheaper for us to drive. But gas in LA is frequently close to $4/gallon.

    Looking at knowledge of everyday expenses is a simple way to see if politicians are paying any attention to the realities of their constituents’ lives. I know I’d like to see them paying more attention.

  62. Myca
    June 8, 2007 at 3:39 pm

    Hey Rachel from #13, do you live in Benicia? If so, it’s where I’m from too!

    Actually, I guess it’;s where I’m from regardless, but you take my point.

  63. sunflwrmoonbeam
    June 8, 2007 at 4:52 pm

    I’m lucky enough to buy raw organic milk direct from an Amish farmer, and it costs $2.50. We go through something like a half gallon to most of a gallon in a week, depending on how much I bake.

    Gas in downstate Illinois is like $3.25

  64. June 8, 2007 at 5:48 pm

    This is interesting. On the West Coast, the cheap gallon of milk at WinCo is 1.98, a cheap gallon at Fred Meyer/Kroger is 3.50, and the same gallon at a Safeway/Albertsons type store in 3.89.
    In other words, one must specify by store and brand.

  65. Brittany
    June 8, 2007 at 6:13 pm

    I’m just blown away that people still drink milk given all the evidence that is “doesn’t do a body good” after all. Speaking of which: Have we gotten to the point where a calcium pill is cheaper than a glass of milk? If it is, I say folks revolt and let it all moulder on the shelves.

    Milk is a great weight loss tool, don’tcha know? It’s true, no, for real! I know it for a fact because Detective Olivia Benson did a commercial (with her baby, IIRC) about The Obesity Epidemic (gasp!) and, well, she totally said that people should exercise and eat right and oh, yeah, by the way, drink a couple glasses of milk everyday! I remember when that “break through revelation!” first popped up on the news about milk being a great weight loss helper, I looked at the Journal of the American Medical Association report and found it pretty interesting that the study was in part funded by General Mills.

    Anyway, I hate milk and I hate being told (by helpful people, of course, who only want me to be healthy and happy!) that milk is super healthy and good for me. Also, and I could be getting this wrong, but I’m pretty sure that protein leaches calcium from your body. So whatever benefits you get from the Magic Calcium Milk is probably getting sucked right out.

  66. June 8, 2007 at 8:00 pm

    I wonder if this would have caused as much of a stir if Giuliani had simply said, “You know what? I have people who keep tabs on that stuff for me, so I don’t have to. If I need to know it for a policy decision, I’ll ask someone, and if I need to know what effect a policy decision will have on the prices of milk, bread, gas or whatever – I’ll ask someone.”

    In other words, is the problem because he didn’t know the answer, or because he tried to pretend he did?

  67. June 8, 2007 at 8:00 pm

    Wow, Rudy. I’m in a suburb of NYC–in northern Westchester–and I paid $3.89 for gas not long ago. My last fill up was, I think $3.83.

    If your close enough to cross over to Jersey, buy it there. It’s about 89 cents cheaper a gallon. I’m not kidding. It’s only $3.00 in Hoboken right now. I doubt it’s much more in Fort Lee.

  68. June 8, 2007 at 9:01 pm

    Actually, the price of gas just dropped to $2.89 today where I live (just over the MO/KS state line- not far from Lawrence)! Woo Hoo!

    Bread’s another story, especially the good stuff from Panera.

  69. June 8, 2007 at 9:01 pm

    Jeeze…one of my chores when I was a kid back in the 80s was to go to the convenience store on the corner and buy a gallon of milk and a paper every Sunday. I don’t think milk was 1.50 even then.

    But still, I’d have to agree with those who are saying this is one of those ‘gotcha’ things they are always trying to lay on politicians – like John Edward’s 400 dollar haircut.

    Rudy is a rich, out-of-touch asshole. While that is really sad and depressing, tell me something I don’t know.

  70. gaia
    June 9, 2007 at 2:02 am

    Gas at the Brownsville, Texas Sam’s Club was $2.759 Tuesday.

    A gallon of organic milk at HEB in Cameron County is $5.29.

    Bread is usually sold in 1.5 lb loaves (for whoever asked above), but I haven’t bought bread in ages. We were buying it from Blue Sky bakery (mail order) but then we started baking it ourselves. Last time I bought white bread (shudder) it was something like 50cents/loaf at Wal-Mart (another shudder).

    Rent for a 3 bedroom house in most of Cameron County is around $700/month. You can still buy a really nice 3 bedroom/2 bath home for under $100k. Of course, Cameron County is one of the poorest counties in the US (so our prices are probably lower than a lot of other places).

  71. little cabbage
    June 9, 2007 at 3:28 am

    The last time I had a car was nearly 10 years ago when I lived in the suburban Midwest. I can clearly remember filling up at a Quiktrip for 69 cents a gallon. It was like $15 to fill the tank.

    Then I moved to the big city, and then another big city, and other than driving my parents’ cars occasionally I take public transport everywhere. Don’t miss driving, to be honest, especially with those gas prices.

  72. June 9, 2007 at 4:49 am

    I’m just blown away that people still drink milk given all the evidence that is “doesn’t do a body good” after all.

    My body doesn’t require chicken, sweet potato, mangoes, dark chocolate, or baby spinach either, but I eat them all with startling regularity, because I enjoy them. Must be hooked on hedonistic pleasure-seeking behaviour or something.

  73. Ole
    June 9, 2007 at 6:11 am

    Here in Denmark gas is currently $7.14 for the gallon ($1.89 per litre). Stop whining.

  74. Elisabeth
    June 9, 2007 at 5:15 pm

    The Giuliani quote is from April 10. It’s dishonest to post it two months later, after a significant surge and slight reduction in gas prices. $2.89 a gallon sounds about right for late spring to me.

    And, just to sound even more disagreeable and privileged — I could not tell you what a loaf of bread or a gallon of milk costs. I don’t buy either of those specific items, and when I buy their equivalents, it’s as part of a larger weekly shopping trip. I know about what we spend a week, but whether the milk makes up $2 or $4 of it, I have no freaking clue. I suspect that’s true of a lot of people with incomes above the poverty level, and I resent it being seen as some kind of “gotcha” for politicians.

  75. June 9, 2007 at 6:17 pm

    I suspect that’s true of a lot of people with incomes above the poverty level, and I resent it being seen as some kind of “gotcha” for politicians.

    Actually, I suspect it’s only true of a lot of people with incomes far above the poverty level. Not just “above the poverty level.” The poverty level is relatively low, and a lot of people with incomes above it still have to be careful about the costs of things.

    Look, I’m in the same boat you are, but it really is nothing but economic privilege that affords us that. The only thing I’d say in Giuliani’s favor here is that unlike a lot of politicians, I’m not aware that he’s ever claimed to be able to understand the economic issues facing most people. Just that he’s the “go-to guy” on national security and law enforcement. However, I don’t think it’s unfair that people who don’t have the economic privilege that we do should use having some clue as to what issues they face are as a criteria for judging someone who’s running to represent their issues.

    In fairness to Giuliani, though, $2.89 was the cost of a gallon of gas in Jersey a couple of months ago. So he’s actually pretty much right about that one thing.

  76. Hawise
    June 10, 2007 at 12:09 am

    Here is how I see this issue, a politician is unlikely to be doing their own shopping during the campaign or even before the campaign but they are supposed to be showing their ability to run something. Certain questions have a long history of being used to gauge the competency of a candidate and their staff. These are the ‘bread and butter’ questions, of which the cost of basic supplies is one. A good leader is going to have a staff that keeps them apprised of the information that they will need, they will have competent people about them and they will have a handle on the main issues that will be raised. You have to question the abilities of a campaign staff that cannot prepare their candidate for the easy questions and since these are the same people who will be filling key positions in the administration, assuming a win, then that does not speak highly to how an administration will function.

    We have to stop looking at just the candidate but at the whole package. When a President is elected you are selecting the next administration and what you get is reflected in the campaign. We laughed when Bush made mistakes in his campaigns and yet people overlooked them and look at the administration that we got. If Guiliani can’t field the hoary old questions then that does not speak well for his staff and they will be running the show if he gets elected.

Comments are closed.