A Year In New York

A Daily Bite of the Big Apple

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Day 51: The $7 Toothbrush

August 16th · 2 Comments

Joo and I visited a Duane Reade drugstore late at night to get her a toothbrush. I was in a good mood and was singing, out loud, to Christopher Cross’s version of “Sailing” that played on the store PA. Meanwhile, Joo examined the toothbrushes in aisle 5, getting madder and madder.

“Do you have toothbrushes that cost less than seven dollars?” Joo demanded of a clerk who was mopping the floor.

“Just a minute,” he said mildly, as if customers lost it over the price of toothbrushes all the time. He put his mop away and walked us to an aisle where another clerk, a blonde guy with a tattoo, was crouching to restock the floss.

Here, the toothbrushes cost as much as $10. “Give me a break!” Joo yelled.

The blond stock guy looks up at her. His tattoo said WE BE LOVE in loopy letters. “That’s because of where you’re buying them,” he said. “You’re in Manhattan.”

“You mean they cost less in the other boroughs?” she asked. He nodded.

“They have to pay the $6 toll to get through the Lincoln Tunnel,” I chimed in helpfully.

“Do you live here?” she asked him.

He just looked at her.

“I pay $650 for a two bedroom in Brooklyn,” he said.

“But think about what he saves on toothbrushes,” I said.

Our new blond friend pointed to Duane Reade’s house brand of toothbrushes, $2 for a set of two, clearly an oversight by the accountants. We took our purchase to the counter, where the manager, a middle-aged Indian man, took our money.

“Do you live in Brooklyn?” Joo demanded.

“No,” he said, the corners of his mouth turning up just perceptibly. “I live here, in the store.”

Tags: Sights & Scenes · Urban Survival

2 responses so far ↓

  • 1 sam iam // Aug 16, 2008 at 4:58 am

    you won’t be so choosy when you’re in a panic for toilet paper.

  • 2 mohi // Sep 8, 2008 at 3:01 pm

    psssst…Lincoln leads to NJ…

    Could also be that you’re in the UES. Waaay up in Manhattanville, on the sw corner of Harlem, they grow the toothbrushes normal 🙂

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