New Yorkers React After Inflation Rises to 40-Year-High

By David Wagner
David Wagner
David Wagner
and Madalina Vasiliu
Madalina Vasiliu
Madalina Vasiliu
July 14, 2022 Updated: July 14, 2022

The rate of inflation in the United States reached a 40-year high on July 13, prompting a range of reactions from New Yorkers.

Outside of Whole Foods Market in Harlem, Brenda, a 62-year-old who works at the store, was leaving with her groceries. A Democrat, she lived in New York for most of her life.

“It is what it is. Living in New York City, things are always very expensive,” Brenda said about inflation reaching a 40-year high. “I have always been frugal. I don’t eat out unless I’m invited out. I always know how to manage my money.”

Elsa Moore, a 61-year-old retired artist who described herself politically as a moderate, has been a Harlem resident since 1961. She said that the recent the inflation rates is “very concerning.”

“I’ve let go of some premium channels. I don’t go out as much. [I buy] less groceries. I just got out of here without spending $100, that’s pretty good,” she said as she was leaving Whole Foods.

“Harlem is my home, I don’t like what’s happening, what’s going on with it,” Moore said. “A lot of these stores like CVS are owned by large conglomerates. There is really no competition economically, and it’s driving inflation, up, up, up.”

Moore said different neighbourhoods had different prices for groceries. She said stores in better neighbourhoods had lower prices by passing on their savings from the insurance rates. She gave the example of a 16-ounce box of cornflakes. She said that it could cost around $4.59 downtown, but would be about $5.99 to get it uptown in a neighborhood like Harlem.

Moore was dissatisfied about how little power security guards had to prevent theft, saying, “Basically you can go inside CVS and pick a couple of bottles of Ajax liquid and security guard can’t touch you, police can’t respond. It’s ridiculous!”

Essi Kossiwa a dietician and 47-year-old Bronx resident who was shopping at Whole Foods said that she was not aware of the inflation statistic, but that lately, she could “feel it.”

When asked what she had to do to adjust her budget, Kossiwa said, “No more clothes. We limit our resources in terms of food, and what we have to do. [We prioritize] medication, household items such as detergent, but that’s about it. We don’t buy clothes, we don’t buy shoes—we don’t buy anything anymore.”

Sixty-year-old Pedro Hernandez who was shopping at Harlem Fresh Market on 125th street said that he was aware of the inflation numbers, but said that his budget is still the same because he mostly eats rice and beans.

“That war in Russia, that’s killing us. A lot of people are suffering,” Hernandez said. “The president ain’t doing much.”

“People are suffering right now,” Hernandez added. “There’s a lot of shootings, a lot of kids dying and they’re not doing nothing.”

Retired New York City resident Jane Mercy, 70, said she purchases cheaper goods to cope with high inflation.

“I always lived pretty frugal anyhow, so it is not going to make a big difference,” said Mercy, a Democrat.

According to her, inflation is worldwide, and even though everyone tends to blame the Democrats, they are not the cause.

Barbara Engler, 63, witnessed a woman who walked out of the store without paying for her groceries. She said that is how New Yorkers are dealing with inflation. She used to eat more meat and vegetables before the inflation began to rise. She now skips her monthly manicure and pedicure.

“I worked all my life, and now here I am,” Engler, a Republican, said.

David Wagner