This is about clean checks and bounced checks — and why supermarkets are closing in Manhattan.
Red Apple is one of the few regionally owned supermarkets left in Manhattan, the others having been pushed away by means of excessive rents.
It’s owned by means of John Catsimatidis, a Greek-American tycoon who additionally owns a 2d grocery store logo, Gristedes.
The other day Red Apple, and then Gristedes, stopped taking WIC tests, and Catsimatidis referred to as me to explain why.
And earlier than you begin thinking about setting blame, allow me tell you this story is a pretty uncommon financial story as it strangely has neither heroes nor villains — just a whole lot of pressured humans trying to enforce a federal software worth billions.
WIC stands for “girls, infants and kids” and it’s a federal vitamins application administered by the states that is meant to complement all the different social services available.
I’m not going to get into whether or not or now not we've too a lot of these social programs. Take that up along with your bartender.
The WIC program works like this in New York: The state Department of Health troubles tests to women with children — but the assessments are for specific gadgets and no longer made out for any financial amount.
For example, the take a look at will be for “eight four-ounce packing containers WIC toddler food veg. &/or culmination” and “one 1.Eight ounce Gerber cereal for toddler.” Another says “as much as 36-ounce WIC cereal and 1 pound dry beans/peas/lentils.”
It’s achieved this way due to the fact New York desires to preserve secret from the consumer and the store what it's going to cover for the product.
The product on the test is then added as much as the cashier, who earrings up an amount and places that parent into the field. The quantity on the primary test changed into written in as $19.23. The second order got here to $21.86.
And each assessments bounced because the quantity of the sale, which Catsimatidis says Red Apple discounted from its everyday prices, became larger than the thriller quantity for which the test turned into desirable.
Red Apple was assessed a $10 bounce rate for each of those exams.
In fact, the corporation confirmed me hundreds of WIC tests that had bounced in July alone. Checks that had been used to pay $eight or $5 orders all came again with $10 bounce expenses from the bank.
Catsimatidis is rich, so maybe we shouldn’t care. But he’s also a businessman who isn’t going to preserve to take in costs like this without acting. That’s why Red Apple and Gristedes not take WIC checks.
Some of you is probably pronouncing that New York is stupid for dealing with the checks like this. But there’s a proof that even Catsimatidis appears to be sympathetic to.
Let say the primary test — the $19.23 one for toddler food and culmination and vegetables — had a cost on it. Let’s say it turned into desirable for $20 or even $25. It’s impossible underneath the ones circumstances that any buy might are available in under the said amount.
In different phrases, the grocer might constantly bump the acquisition as much as the take a look at’s quantity. The state wouldn’t get to shop the distinction between the $19.33 honestly spent and the $20 or $25 stated price.
In different words, the program could price greater.
And there’s always the fraud component, seeing that no institution of human beings is absolutely honest. And it wouldn’t be sudden if people with money issues labored out a deal with some grocers to buy goods for less than the said amount at the take a look at and get a number of the relaxation — after the grocery store’s cut — in coins.
The State Department of Health says there are 182 grocery stores in Manhattan that still take WIC assessments. And it’s searching out more.
What can be performed? Rents in Manhattan must be decrease, so grocery shops can charge less. Then the nation wouldn’t need to hand out clean checks that jump. And humans receiving the assessments need to be absolutely sincere.
But, as you recognize, none of that might be going to manifest.