What a melon: $55 fruit sparks outrage in Labrador

Tuesday, August 26, 2008
This little jem was passed onto me by a good friend and colleague who is also a teacher in Northern Quebec. I had to laugh out loud about it, as it is something that I can so see happening up in my neck of the woods (er.... ice) :-)

Residents of a community in northern Labrador say they are furious about the cost of a watermelon at a local grocery store.

The Labrador Investments store in Nain was selling a watermelon with a sticker price of $55.41.

By Friday afternoon, however, the watermelon was no longer on the shelf, and the store manager refused to comment on what happened to it.

The manager said that despite the price tag, the melon's actual price should have been $38.

Sarah Erickson, the angajukKâk, or head, of the Inuit community government, said the pricey fruit was the talk of the town.

"It's been sitting there on the shelf for the last three days, like an attraction, because so many people can't believe the price," she said.

"They've all been going in just to look at it, to see what a $55 watermelon looks like."

Erickson said the issue is no laughing matter, as both the federal and Newfoundland and Labrador governments spend hundreds of thousands of dollars each year to subsidize the cost of transporting perishable items to Labrador's north coast.

Just two weeks ago, the program was extended to include the summer shipping season.

Erickson said healthy foods like watermelon continue to cost more than most people in Nain can afford.

"It makes you wonder, you know, what's with the whole program," said Erickson, who wants a review of the food subsidy program.

An official in the Labrador Affairs department said that $55 sounded high for a single watermelon.

He said the Nain store will be contacted to try to find out why the price was so high.

CBC News, August 15, 2008.


Megan said...

The best part was when the store owner tried to reassure everyone that it was just a mistake, and the real price was $38.

Matt, Kara and Hunter said...

I bought a papaya for $14 in Kugluktuk. I had never had one before and I would curious. It was horrible- I think trying a fruit like that in the arctic is a bad choice...

Kennie said...

I know Megan - I laughed. And then thought of the 17$ pineapple we have up here that isn't really looking like a pineapple anymore. And laughed even harder.

Oh, Kara ... yeah... you gotta try Papaya's in the South when they are in season and ripe. They are the sweetest and juiciest fruit I have ever had. I lived off of Mango, Papaya and Cherries for a couple of days this summer while visiting my parents. It was too hot and I was too lazy to cook anything that took effort. And trying any exotic fruit in the North is just a bad idea ....

Rob, Tina and the boys said...

See, it's hard for me to comment because of who I sleep with. When I showed this to Rob, his comment was "well, look at where it is, and factor in the cost of shipping.. etc). Frankly, at this point I stopped listening, but I'm sure his point was relevant. Somehow. Maybe. :)

Kennie said...

LOL. I know Tina. I can understand and see why prices are higher in our lovely remote areas due to shipping - now only if the government would subsidize the crap out of that, as I know our lovely airline completely over charges.. But 55$ for a freaking watermelon???