I'm sure that railroads are a tough business. Probably takes a lot of skill and savvy to turn a profit. I'll give you that. But you know what is not a tough business in which to profit? Selling food and drinks at a virtually unlimited markup to a captive audience with no other options. Amtrak cannot even make a dollar doing that.

I mean, I'll forgive Amtrak for never making a nickel in the railroad business, but Jesus Christ, have you ever purchased food at a movie theater, or an amusement park, or in an airport? They can charge you $16 for a sandwich and you will god damn well pay it, because where else are you gonna go? This same principle applies even more so to being on a god damn moving train. No one is going to hop off and run to Burger King. You got em by the balls. Amtrak could simply charge $600 million per cup of Dannon yogurt, and someone would pay it, because are you gonna go all the way to Baltimore without a snack? That's crazy. And yet, the NYT reports:

According to audits by the Government Accountability Office, an investigative arm of Congress, and the railroad's own inspector general, Amtrak loses about $80 million a year selling food. Since 2002, Amtrak's food service has lost $834 million... According to charts shown by Republican committee staff members during the hearing, Amtrak charges about $2 for a soft drink, but the cost to taxpayers is about $3.40 when labor is included. A $9.50 hamburger on the train costs taxpayers $16, the charts showed.

Shit I robbed McDonald's blind of McNuggets and American cheese when I worked there in high school but they still managed to sell 99 cent double cheeseburgers AND make money. Everyone at Amtrak should be fired at once.

[NYT. Photo: jpmueller99/ Flickr]