I’m in New York City today for the Concord Coalition’s annual fundraising dinner that’s tonight. When I come to NYC I come fully prepared to face higher prices than I normally have to pay back in the DC area. But I’m “lucking” into collecting a lot of “consumer surplus” today (the excess of what I’m willing to pay over what I actually paid). First, I was the last of the Concord employees in line to get our rooms at 3 pm, and they ran out of regular rooms and so just gave me this extra-big suite. Second, I went shopping before checking into the hotel (perhaps the factor that caused me to be last in line) and decided to buy a sweater from a chain store that I realized I could pay less for back in northern Virginia, given that VA is a low-tax state relative to NY. But instead, I go to the checkout counter to discover that there’s NO sales tax on apparel less than $110 in NYC–and that’s not just this week, but all the time here. So I got a suite for a regular room rate, and an NYC-purchased sweater for (only) the price on the tag. I figured out that’s worth about $90 of extra consumer surplus beyond the baseline consumer surplus I would have enjoyed anyway, right there!
Oh, by the way, the photo is taken from my blackberry camera of the Christmas tree at Rockefeller Center, which was being decorated today (see how it’s done, with all that scaffolding?!)… and that’s a huge Swarovski crystal star being hoisted to the top. Talk about a symbol of surprisingly high consumer surplus!