Some expenses are unavoidable – fare for the (ever-increasing) metro, the monthly procurement of non-leaking shelter, avoiding starvation. If you’re savvy, you can probably manage to do this reasonably within budget. However, there are some things in this city so disproportionately costly, it might make you do a double take and/or gag on your $5 coffee. Read on my friends; read on and weep.
Not “retail” pasta, aka, the kind you buy at Key Foods for $1. I’m talking fancy restaurant pasta. This stuff can put you out an average of $15 for a plate of penne with some tomato sauce on top. Keep in mind this price point is being criticized by someone whose entire cooking repertoire consists of pasta, so the bar is set pretty low. I’m just saying that if I, as a neophyte cook, can boil a vat of water and produce something that passes for edible, restaurant pasta better be bursting with LSD and unicorn farts to justify why I’m not just at home making it myself. You see, I will pay for that escargot because there’s no way in hell I’m going out and catching a bunch of snails, killing them, and then sautéing them in butter and garlic over an open flame. I’ll leave that one to the pros and gladly pay twenty bucks for five of them (maybe I need to re-evaluate my priorities, but so what).
Oh who are you kidding? You knew this one would make the list. Just today, I paid four dollars for a peppermint tea that burnt the shit out of my lips, tongue and entire esophagus right to my stomach lining. Which now no longer exists. Thanks, tea. I procured said boiling water at a coffee shop that shall go unnamed (and no, it was not Starbucks) for $3 plus a $1 tip. Yes, you may say, the tip is optional, but for me not tipping is a violation of basic morality and, were I not to include a tip, would eat away at my soul until I woke up in a dry scream from night terrors about an angry, revenge-addled baristas. Now keep in mind that it is three dollars for tea at this place which is literally a cup of heated water with some herbs thrown into it. Anything that requires actual work by the barista can cost upwards of 5 or 6 bucks PLUS your moral guilt tip. This is a LOT to pay for one beverage. Unless it also somehow converts into a full, nutritional meal, like one of those Willy Wonka gumball things. I also don’t know that it was ever established that the Willy Wonka candy was a complete meal, I seem to recall it only tasting like one, so that idea’s out the window.
Although most New Yorkers look at laundry service as a godsend (this writer included), we willfully overlook the fact that the markup is like 200% on this. That, I suppose, is exactly how much we disdain touching our twice-worn jeans and loading them into a washing machine. As an Asian woman, I personally prefer to stay out of laundromats because you have no idea how many people assume that I work there (everyone). Laundromats are to me, what the inability to get a cab is to a black male – racial profiling at its best. Anyway, in many parts of Brooklyn and Manhattan, laundry drop-off services range from $.75 to $1.00 per pound. For a disgusting slob such as myself, who avoids even touching the laundry bag to carry it across the street to the laundromat, a bag of my dirties could end up weighing 35 pounds by the time I run out of clean socks and/or underwear (whichever comes first). And sometimes even longer, because I will literally buy street socks to avoid doing laundry. At $1.00 per pound, my humongous laundry bag costs $35 or more, whereas if I weren’t such a lazy asshole, I could do it myself for under $10. But, as they say – wasted time is wasted money, and ain’t no one got time for that!