This Thanksgiving, a non-profit is trying to give well-doing San Franciscans a taste of life below the poverty line.
Thanks to the blooming tech industry, the average household income in California’s Bay Area has skyrocketed to $153,000, which is five times the $24,300 a year that most families living below the poverty line make... and when you are making five times less money, everything you buy feels five times more expensive.
To raise awareness about this disturbing situation, local charity Tipping Point took over a high-end Nob Hill grocery store and introduced the “Poverty Line Prices” special – essentially increasing the prices on everyday items five times higher.
A hidden camera videotaped the social experiment.
“$66 for bread?” asked one shocked customer, as another exclaimed, “I come here all the time… that s*** is not $25.”
“It’s a special today,” the cashier explained. “Poverty line prices: everything is five times the normal cost.”
“Everything is five times more?” repeated one woman, visibly stunned by the revelation.
One in ten Bay Area families lives below the poverty line.
Tipping Point website also advertises community college books, previously $584, now at $2,827, and a $73 bus ticket at $353.37. Similarly, milk costs $23.51 while a turkey is $111.50.
“The Bay Area is a tale of two cities: the haves and the have-nots,” said Rich Silverstein, chairman of the advertising company behind the campaign."We wanted people to get a small sense of the reality of living on the poverty line to truly understand the importance of Tipping Point's mission."