“Hey, buddy! Hey, yeah—you! You wanna hot dog? I got some fresh water hot dogs ready for the guzzling. Some fresh New York City water dogs, all boiled in dirty water. This one’s on me—just kidding, what do I look like, some kind of dirtbag? That’ll be $30. No refunds.”
Imagine this happened to you, a poor, naive tourist exploring the streets of the Big Apple. How would you react? Would you demand the inclusion of takebacks? Would you pay the $30 because you are too stupid to know the difference? One hot dog vendor named Ahmed Mohammed, stationed near the World Trade Center, certainly hoped there would be no trouble. That is, until he was caught pulling this fast-change garbaggio on camera:
NBC 4 New York cameras recently captured him trying to charge a man named David $15 for a hot dog and a pretzel near the World Trade Center.
“I said, ‘What are you, a crook?’” David later told NBC 4 New York. “I’m not a tourist, so I know the price in New York.”
Customer after customer recounted how the vendor tried to charge them $20 to $30 for a hot dog.
This man is definitely a crook, David. NBC 4 cameras, on their mission to bust this scam wide open, approached Mohammed as he tended his stall downtown. Here’s what happened:
When a self-identified NBC 4 New York reporter asked the price of a hot dog, Mohammed said $3. When asked why the price changes, he claimed not to speak English — even though cameras had captured him speaking English earlier, asking customers: “Yes, guys. Yes, sir, you need anything to eat or drink? Have a good day, guys.”
The price for a hot dog at Mohammed’s stand is not posted, which makes it particularly difficult for anyone who would rather pay $45 for a hot dog than $30 to know what to do. This guy makes it up as he goes along, which goes against the Department of Consumer Affairs’s standards. While they investigate this vendor, my advice is to get a steaming dog somewhere else, man!
Image of a New York City hot dog stand from 1998 via Getty