Prices in Europe

Old Jul 31st, 2006, 09:09 AM
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I'm curious about the comment of a Big Mac costing more in Times Square. I've heard that before and I've also heard it denied. Living in Naples, Florida which is considered "soooo" high end, I've often heard people say the same thing -- that places like MacDonald's charge more, but that has been disproved and their prices here are the same as all over the state. So is it true? Is a Big Mac more near Times Square than say in Queens or Brooklyn?
Old Jul 31st, 2006, 09:26 AM
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I can't speak specifically for a Big Mac costing more in Times Square vs. Queens or Brooklyn, but I can say that on Oahu, a Big Mac will cost you more in Waikiki than in other locations on the island.

I sometimes have to attend seminars in Waikiki and with the short lunch break we're given, I sometimes just go to McDonald's to pick up something quick. I always get sticker shock when I see how much they're charging, as I never go into Waikiki unless I have to.
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Old Jul 31st, 2006, 09:28 AM
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I saw it for myself in New York that there are varied prices at McDonalds in one neighborhood vs. another.

You have to make the rent somehow, and I suspect pricing is in direct relation to the rent the franchise pays to be in one place vs. another. Midtown Manhattan is pretty pricey when compared to Brooklyn or some other borough.

It's just another reason for me to vacation in NYC and live in Denver.

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Old Jul 31st, 2006, 09:34 AM
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You'll pay more for a Macdonalds/burger king/whatever in central London than you do in the rest of the UK. Fast food places in the main rail terminals seem to be worst of all for this.
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Old Jul 31st, 2006, 10:12 AM
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I can confirm that McDonald's in Paris is marginally cheaper than McDonald's in the rest of France. And the current price of a Big Mac is 2 € (but it is a promotional period).

Meanwhile, a Coke in a tourist area café costs about 4 €. In a normal neighborhood, it is 2.50 € and if you hit the absolute tourist rip-off joint, it is about 6 €. A magnum (1.5L) at the supermarket costs 1.20 €.
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Old Jul 31st, 2006, 10:29 AM
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Define " Europe".
From Albania to Sweden the prices will vary perhaps 200%.
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Old Jul 31st, 2006, 10:29 AM
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Dear Amandab - the answer is not to drink coke in a cafe, but to buy a large bottle in the monoprix and decant it into smaller bottles to drink on the street during the day, if that's what you really want to do. In a restaurant with a meal, drink what the locals do - wine or water - "un carafe d'eau" will get you a jug of tap water and glasses. In a cafe drink "un cafe" or something like a "citron/orange presse" which is freshly squeezed juice, with water and sugar to taste. Still expensive, but much nicer!
As to your friend with her inflated prices, we were horrifed to find out that 2 small beers and one large one were going to cost us E6 & E8 respectively when we were desperate for a beer after doing the vatican and St. Peter's all day. So we went for 3 large beers - our daughter initally thought she'd never drink hers, but with a little bit of help from Dad, she got through it ok.
I'm not suggesting you share a small coffee [i thik the waiters would soon rumble that one] but there's no reason you can't be creative!
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Old Jul 31st, 2006, 11:25 AM
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Here are several things to take into account:

There is no set price for something in "europe" since prices vary tremendously between countries

Prices can also vary tremendously withing countries - things in small towns (except resorts) usually costing less than in big cities.

Within each city you can find places that are more or less expensive - depending on your budget - search them out - and check out prices before you sit down.

Many things in europe will be more than in the US:

in part due to the pitiful state of the dollar

where you're from (if from a smaller city/town or less expensive area prices in a big city will be much higher - just as they are in New York)

some things in europe (such as soft drinks or cocktails) are MUCH more expensive than in the US, while others (local wine or beer) are usually less

if you buy anything at all - even a bottle of water - in the immediate vicinity of a major tourist attraction the price will probably be outrageous

(Also, in general, the US is a bigger market and discounting on almost anything is much more common here than in europe. Think what it would cost to buy toothpaste in a local, privately owned - not chain - pharmacy vs in the supermarket.)
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Old Jul 31st, 2006, 11:29 AM
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the idea that:

"in europe, wine is cheaper than soda"

needs to be filed under myth/fantasy/urban legend.

not saying that this would NEVER be the case but for all the fanfare, it is very rare in my experience.
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Old Jul 31st, 2006, 11:34 AM
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well, walkinaround, I've experienced many places where wine WAS cheaper than soda. In fact I've eaten at a lot of little trattorias where a glass or even a bottle of wine was included with the meal -- but have never seen where they'd substitute a soda for the wine -- that would be extra.
And I've often had a glass of house wine for 1 to 2 euros, where I'm 99% sure the sodas cost more than that.
Old Jul 31st, 2006, 11:39 AM
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1/2 liter can of beer from shop 60 cents USA.
a 1/2 liter glass of beer from pub tap $1.70 and up....
Wine...$2.25 for .70 liter bottle.
A cup of coffee at the local airport..$1.30.
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Old Jul 31st, 2006, 11:46 AM
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Normally, a glass of coke in a bar or restaurant should be between 2 and 3 Euros. If you buy a bottle in a supermarket, it costs 1 Euro for 1 liter( about 4 glasses).
A tube of toothpaste: 1,30 Euro.
And for a meal in a restaurant 20 euro seems a reasonable price to me.
One more tip: the average European doesn't eat in a restaurant every day.
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Old Jul 31st, 2006, 11:49 AM
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She might not have lived there all her life, but my Mom was born and raised in England, and in the era when they sang "There'll always be an England" with spirit - possibly because a member of the present-day EU was bombing her home town of Portsmouth at the time. England/the UK, she will tell you (currently from her hospital bed) is not in Europe, which according to her is a continent.

Look, I hear you, but it is dangerous to argue with an 85 year old armed with a hypodermic syringe....

(Back to the question)

I think one also needs to remember marketing strategies vary from place to place. OP says the meal cost 20 euro but the coke was 15. We aren't told what a glass of wine would have cost, but it's possible the operator is seeking to present the meal as a loss leader and the drinks as where he makes his profit. This is not uncommon at pubs where I live. In any case, the total cost for OP's friend for this meal was 35 euro. For two, this would be a bargain, but still not out of line for one person.

The other possibility is that she was simply ripped off. On our last trip through northern Italy we encountered something we'd heard about, but of which we had had no personal experience on earlier trips - an unusually high frequency of 'slow counters' (cashiers who give change in two parts, with the second part coming only when you 'remind' them) and grocery store clerks who couldn't seem to read price labels. (This didn't occur at major supermarkets, which had price scanning wands at the cash register.)
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Old Jul 31st, 2006, 11:53 AM
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thanks for the wonderful comments guys!!
Walkinaround - you got it close, we are from NZ not Oz, our dollar is worth nothing when we travel, which makes it even scarier if these prices were for real (so glad its not the norm).
My hubby and I will certainly be eating like the locals, not as rich tourists. Thanks for the comments about going to the bar and not being served by a waiter, didn't realise that one.
I don't know whether she's got the decimal points mixed up, she's well travelled and seems to know her stuff, though obviously not where to eat and shop.
Think we will have the occasional restaurant meal, but mainly picking up bread, cheese, meats etc from delis.
Has anyone taken over their own flask and coffee and made it up each morning at their hotel to take away? However having said that, I certainly don't mind paying 1 or 2 Euros for a coffee on the go.

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Old Jul 31st, 2006, 11:55 AM
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Once upon a time, my wife and I lived in the center of a major American city, where she and I both walked to work, did not own a car, and used public transportation when going farther afield. We used to say that we could afford to live there...but we could not afford to be a tourist there.

Much of the same economics -- and reasoning -- applies to tourists from America visiting Europe.
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Old Jul 31st, 2006, 12:04 PM
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Hi amandab, our posts must have crossed.

When you say, make up coffee in a flask, are you talking about using an immersion heater to make your own coffee (which a friend does) or using the in-room equipment (not always supplied, depending on the hotel)?
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Old Jul 31st, 2006, 12:15 PM
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Sue - As Portsmouth only exists as a base to launch attacks on Europe, this attitude doesn't surprise me in the least. (Pompey - as it is known- is my families home town).

Amandab - the point has been laboured here, but in general, do not let prices put you off. I find the UK very expensive, but have eaten exceptional meals in Italy for not very much.
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Old Jul 31st, 2006, 12:42 PM
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Perhaps the 15 euro coke was at a "destination" similar to St. Mark's in Venice, where you are really paying for the privelege of sitting at a table and listening to the music.
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Old Jul 31st, 2006, 01:10 PM
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Missypie..and please add paying for the opportunity to let those pigeons sit on you!
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Old Jul 31st, 2006, 01:21 PM
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I just spent a month in Germany and found many things to be quite expensive,only partly on account of the weak dollar. I seldom ate in restaurants, and I found things like an individual bottle of cola "to go" to be rather pricey.
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