My appeal to readers

A phot of a stack of newspapers with an apple on top.

Photo by Tim Mossholder on Unsplash

Dear readers, 

We should raise the price of Street Sense by $1 due to the continued rise in food prices, Metro fares and other essential goods.

For some vendors, our only source of income is from sales of the Street Sense newspaper. I suggest raising the price of Street Sense to $3. One dollar will not solve your problems. But the extra $1 will be able to solve some of our daily problems.

Let me remind you: The income will be distributed 75% to 25%, that is, $2.25 to vendors, and $0.75 to publish the newspaper.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, “from September 2022 to September 2023, food prices increased 4.2 %” in Washington, D.C. Here are some specific examples, from my experience:

1. The prices for bread and bakery products have increased significantly. For example, at a Whole Foods Market in Chevy Chase, a large sourdough was $3.99. Now it’s $5.49. 

2. My average cup of coffee before the pandemic cost $1.75 at Starbucks. Now it’s more than $3. I paid $4.40 for a medium cup of coffee at Pret A Manger Cafe in November.

3. Americans love to drink coffee. But people from Central Asia, including Uzbeks, love to drink tea. I often had tea at Paul French Bakery & Cafe. There, tea in a white porcelain teapot cost $3.85. Now the same pot of tea costs $9.99.

4. The prices for drinking water have raised. For example, a gallon of New Zealand Artesian Water cost $2.99 at Trader Joe’s. Now — $3.99.

5. Honey. I bought it before the pandemic for $4.99. In November, I purchased it from Whole Foods for $6.79.

6. The cost of all types of jams has been raised. For example, Bonne Maman strawberry preserves were $3.99 at Safeway pre-pandemic. Now — $5.99.

7. Many Americans, including myself, eat hot food at Whole Foods. Before the pandemic, a medium soup was about $5. Now it’s $7.41. Moreover, the container is smaller, reducing the amount of soup. 

8. Before the pandemic, I bought 12 pairs of socks for $11. Now, they are $14.38 at Walmart.

9.A metro ride from Gallery Place to Rockville used to cost about $4. Starting in April 2023, I’ve paid $6 to travel this distance.

10. I started storing my items at Extra Space Storage in 2017. I paid about $100 monthly before the pandemic started, and $127 monthly until October. I recently received a letter from the company, stating that because of inflation, the rate would increase to $139. 

There are many similar examples of price increases. Each of you can continue the list.

To cover rising costs, in my opinion, prices jumped sharply, primarily in cafes and bars. Some small business owners have found themselves on the brink of bankruptcy and were forced to close their businesses. But the main blow was dealt to low-income citizens of the District of Columbia, including pensioners, large families and us vendors.

Please support my proposal to raise the price of Street Sense to $3. You can call the Street Sense Media office at (202) 347-2006, email [email protected] or send mail to 1317 G St. NW.

We are celebrating our 20th anniversary this year. Over the years, Street Sense has become one of the distinctive features of Washington, D.C. We thank you for buying our newspaper, and therefore helping us survive the pandemic and the continuing rise in prices.

Shuhratjon Ahmadjonov is an artist and vendor with Street Sense Media. 

To weigh in on this proposal, take our survey here.

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