SF Grocery Store Holds "Poverty Line Prices" Promotion to Raise Awareness on Income Gap

SF Grocery Store Holds "Poverty Line Prices" Promotion to Raise Awareness on Income Gap


In a city where most residents don't bat an eye at paying $4 for toast or $10 for green juice, it's important to remember that a lot of San Franciscans are not benefiting from the booming tech-fueled economy.

In an effort to shed light on the city's large income gap, local non-profit Tipping Point, which works to end poverty in the Bay Area, took over a Nob Hill grocery store to give customers a glimpse of what life is like below the poverty line. The organizers put up signs around the store advertising a promotion called "Poverty Line Prices." But instead of getting a discount, customers were asked to pay five times more than the normal prices—milk was suddenly $24.50, while cold medicine jumped to $45.

A hidden camera captured shoppers' not-so-happy reactions as the cashier acts as if everything is normal.

Rich Silverstein, a partner and co-chairman at Goodby, Silverstein & Partners, the creative agency behind the campaign, told Mashable that the goal was empathize with low-income residents without making their lives seem pitiful or shaming viewers into feeling bad.

"It was very important that it came across with the utmost respect for the integrity of the people of the Bay Area. We didn't want to denigrate anyone who lives here," Silverstein said.

The online video also comes with an interactive tool where visitors can get a sense of how much more expensive rent and other living expenses would feel if your own income was below the poverty line.

Imagine shelling about $25 for Trouble's cinnamon toast? Or $50 for Josey Baker bread? And remember to give back this holiday season.

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