Wednesday, April 10, 2024

Comedian Sebastian Maniscalco Goes Off After Restaurant Charges Him COVID Fee to ‘wipe down the menus’; Large Grocers Took Advantage of Pandemic Supply Chain Disruptions, F.T.C. Finds, and other C-Virus related stories

Comedian Sebastian Maniscalco goes off after restaurant charges him COVID fee to ‘wipe down the menus’:
Sebastian Maniscalco slammed two fees he encountered while eating at a restaurant last week.
The stand-up comedian took to social media saying a restaurant he dined at should get rid of the “COVID fee” he said it charged him. The fee was $3, according to Maniscalco.
“I went to a restaurant last night, and I got the bill and they charged me a COVID fee,” he said. “I asked the guy. I go, ‘What’s the COVID fee?’ He goes, ‘Yeah, well, we gotta wipe down the menus.’ Wipe down the menus? You’re charging $3 to wipe down your own menus? Before COVID, what, you just brought out the menu with spaghetti sauce on it?”
Maniscalco did not identify the restaurant by name or say where it was located.
Some dining establishments around the country started implementing dedicated COVID-related fees during the pandemic to help recoup additional expenses they incurred because of the virus. Some examples of things that restaurants used to COVID surcharges for included personal protective equipment and social distancing measures on top of sanitization, per the Washington Post. --->READ MORE HERE
Hiroko Masuike/The New York Times
Large Grocers Took Advantage of Pandemic Supply Chain Disruptions, F.T.C. Finds:
A report found that large firms pressured suppliers to favor them over competitors. It also concluded that some retailers “seem to have used rising costs as an opportunity to further hike prices.”
Large grocery retailers took advantage of supply chain disruptions to beat out smaller rivals and protect their profits during the pandemic, according to a report released by the Federal Trade Commission on Thursday.
The report found that some large firms “accelerated and distorted” the effects of supply chain snarls, including by pressuring suppliers to favor them over competitors. Food and beverage retailers also posted strong profits during the height of the pandemic and continue to do so today, casting doubt on assertions that higher grocery prices are simply moving in lock step with retailers’ own rising costs, the authors argued.
“Some firms seem to have used rising costs as an opportunity to further hike prices to increase their profits, and profits remain elevated even as supply chain pressures have eased,” the report read.
The report’s release comes as the F.T.C. cracks down on large grocery retailers. Last month, the commission and several state attorneys general sued to block Kroger from completing its $25 billion acquisition of the grocery chain Albertsons. They argued that the deal would weaken competition and would most likely lead to consumers paying higher costs.
The independent federal agency’s actions have helped bolster the Biden administration’s efforts to address rising prices. In recent weeks, President Biden has taken a tougher stance on grocery chains, accusing them of overcharging shoppers and earning excess profits. Although food prices are now increasing at a slower rate, they surged rapidly in 2022 and have not fallen overall. As a result, the high cost of food has continued to strain many consumers and has posed a political problem for the administration. --->READ MORE HERE
Follow links below to relevant/related stories and resources:

California-based 99 Cents Only Stores is closing down, citing COVID, inflation and product theft

99 Cents Only Stores to close all 371 locations across U.S., including 2 in Stockton

USA TODAY: Coronavirus Updates

WSJ: Coronavirus Live Updates

YAHOO NEWS: Coronavirus Live Updates

NEW YORK POST: Coronavirus The Latest

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