The world has gone mad. Or at least the food world has gone mad. We have whipped ourselves into such a frenzy of consumer lust that we're apparently willing to pay outrageous amounts of money for things that, only a few years ago, would never have been considered very valuable. This is it, folks, the future. We thought we'd have flying cars, instead we have black market cronuts.
We thought we'd compile for you a handy list of food items people are paying way too much for. Some of these things are slightly understandable; others are just straight baffling. But just in case there's that particularly difficult person on your holiday shopping list, for whom only something stupidly expensive will do, here's your guide.
5. Pappy Van Winkle
We all know that Pappy Van Winkle, the cult bourbon, is very expensive and practically impossible to find. And because of the laws of supply and demand, a thriving black market has popped up. In fact, I had a guy at a liquor store in L.A. offer to sell me a bottle of the 20-year, which has a suggested retail price of $130, for $1,500. Even by black market standards, that's a bit steep -- a quick look on L.A. Craigslist shows that I could get a hold of the 20 year for around $875. There's a lot of Pappy on Craigslist, all of it very expensive.
This black market is causing the company some distress, with a recent theft of over 70 cases of bourbon from the distillery -- they believe it was an inside job and are now offering a $10,000 reward for information leading to nabbing the culprit. And over on Ebay, there's a thriving market for empty bottles of Pappy, which are selling for up to $140. The specification in the listings that the cork is included makes it pretty obvious that the value of these bottles is more in the opportunity for bourbon fraud than as collectors items. Craigslist buyers beware.
4. Lucky Peach, Issue #1
The first issue of Lucky Peach, David Chang's bro-tastic cheffy quarterly, is now selling on eBay for somewhere between $70 and $200, with $169 as the cheapest "Buy It Now" price.
Even the other issues are starting to pop up with hugely inflated resale values. No one has yet to test the price for a complete collection of back issues, but Chang and Co. can rest easy that if their empire ever falls, they can make a nice living selling their own back issues online.
See also: 10 Best Ramen Shops in Los Angeles
3. Cult Beers
Just like with Pappy, hard-to-find cult beers have created a black market. Beers like Pliny the Elder, Bruery The Wanderer, and Heady Topper are fetching huge amounts on Craigslist and other collector sites. A woman in Vermont recently sold a case of Heady Topper beer for $825 -- a case which sells for $72 retail. On L.A. Craigslist, you can buy a bottle of Bruery The Wanderer for $40.
2. $10,000 Sriracha packet
It's kind of obviously a joke, but someone is selling a packet of Sriracha on eBay for $10,000, capitalizing (at least in the publicity sense) from the worry about Sriracha's legal troubles that have threatened to shut down its factory. The entirety of the eBay description is as follows:
I know you're saying, "$10,000 for a pack of Sriracha? That's crazy!"
Well guess what, when the zombie apocalypse arrives and you're out of Sriracha, which are you gonna miss more -- Sriracha for that rodent you just cooked, or the $10,000?
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1. Stainless Steel Starbucks Cards
For the last two years, Starbucks has been partnering with Gilt.com to offer $400 stainless steel gift cards that cost $450 because -- I don't know why they cost $450 for $400 worth of coffee, but they do. (Starbucks claims it costs more than $50 to produce this card, which is odd, but OK.) And the lesson from this is, they could have charged much, much more. Not only did the cards sell out in seconds, they are now selling on eBay for up to $5,000. That would make each grande latte you bought with the card cost about $50. Awesome, America. Good job.
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