Bitchin' 'bout Bagels | Food + Drink Features | Seven Days | Vermont's Independent Voice

Seven Days needs your financial support!

Bitchin' 'bout Bagels 

Mark-up at the Market draws ire

Who says letters to the editors can't change the world? Or at least the local co-op. "As a member of the Burlington community," Clara Rosenthal wrote in a recent missive, "I feel it is in my best interest to keep the general public aware of what is going on in their town, as well as my right to kvetch." What has Rosenthal up in arms? Nothing less than a proposed increase in the price of bagel sandwiches at City Market.

Originally priced at $3, "The bagel sandwiches at City Market have always been the best deal," she explains. "Now these same sandwiches are going up to $5.99 . . . the price of a City Market sandwich is no longer sustainable." Besides sending her letter, Rosenthal voiced her complaint to the deli manager at the co-op and posted an online petition that's garnered 27 signatures to date.

By the time Seven Days contacted Neil Delaney, City Market deli manager, he was already backpedaling. "After many discussions with customers, we really examined how we're going to cost out our sandwiches," he explained. "Our biggest outcry was actually from . . . folks who work here."

Still, Delaney says the price couldn't remain where it was. "We were literally giving them away," he explains. "Bagels are a lot more expensive than sliced bread and wraps." Plus, the local rounds, made by The Bagel in the New North End, are really large. The deli staff uses a half-sandwich portion of meat and cheese on each bagel-wich, but the condiments and veggies piled on top are practically full-sized servings. The original plan was to use a full portion of meat and cheese on a bagel "and charge a full sandwich price," Delaney says.

This rationale didn't satisfy protesters. "Who wants more filling on a bagel sandwich that is already hard enough to stuff into your mouth?" asks Rosenthal. So City Market came up with a new scheme: Leave the sandwich at its current size and increase the price by a smaller margin. The cheapest option, a half sandwich on bread or a wrap, will be $3.49, a bagel-wich $4.49, and a full sandwich $5.99.

How did the pricing get so out of whack in the first place? "Everything is more expensive now," says Delaney. That goes for meat and cheese, veggies and premium condiments like pesto and olive tapenade that are made in-house. Delaney points out, "We're starting to see things on invoices like fuel surcharges that we never had to pay before. Plus, we commit to buying local as much as we can." His final thrust: "We pay full health insurance for employees . . . they get paid vacations." 

Spread that on your bagel.

Got something to say? Send a letter to the editor and we'll publish your feedback in print!

More By This Author

About The Author

Suzanne Podhaizer

Suzanne Podhaizer

Former contributor Suzanne Podhaizer is an award-winning food writer (and the first Seven Days food editor) as well as a chef, farmer, and food-systems consultant. She has given talks at the Stone Barns Center for Agriculture's "Poultry School" and its flagship "Young Farmers' Conference." She can slaughter a... more


Comments are closed.

Since 2014, Seven Days has allowed readers to comment on all stories posted on our website. While we’ve appreciated the suggestions and insights, the time has come to shut them down — at least temporarily.

While we champion free speech, facts are a matter of life and death during the coronavirus pandemic, and right now Seven Days is prioritizing the production of responsible journalism over moderating online debates between readers.

To criticize, correct or praise our reporting, please send us a letter to the editor. Or send us a tip. We’ll check it out and report the results.

Online comments may return when we have better tech tools for managing them. Thanks for reading.

Keep up with us Seven Days a week!

Sign up for our fun and informative

All content © 2021 Da Capo Publishing, Inc. 255 So. Champlain St. Ste. 5, Burlington, VT 05401
Advertising Policy  |  Contact Us
Website powered by Foundation