March 12 is fast approaching, fellow New Yorkers, so make sure you’re getting quality time in with large, sugary drinks before the Bloomberg soda ban is unleashed. Once March 13 rolls around, if you’re looking to add a 2-liter bottle of soda to your Domino’s order you can fuggedaboutit.
It seems like Bloomberg is trying to do the right thing here — he’s looking out for the health of New Yorkers, right? We all know salt, sugar, trans fats and smoking are bad. But the collateral damage to our wallets and environment isn’t worth it.
According to the New York Post, last week the city Health Department began sending brochures to businesses that would be affected by the latest ban, including restaurants, bars and any "food service" establishment subject to letter grades.
While merchants will have to make adjustments, the changes are going to affect consumers in a way that’s less favorable. Consumers will now have to pay higher unit prices for smaller bottles. Banning the $3 2-liter bottle of Coke means that customers have to buy six 12-ounce cans to get the same amount of soda, but have to cough up an extra $4.50 (figure that each can is about $1.25, making the total $7.50).
"I really feel bad for the customers," said Lupe Balbuena of World Pie in Carroll Gardens, Brooklyn.
I’m sure you do Lupe, I’m sure you do.
A Domino’s on the Upper East Side of Manhattan is getting rid of the 20-ounce and 2-liter bottles, their most popular drink sizes. This too, will cost the consumer more, not to mention increasing the amount of trashed plastic in the environment.
Plastic pitchers, which hold more than 60 ounces, will probably need their own state if restaurants can’t find a more creative way to use them after the ban.
Frames bowling alley in Times Square, where 26-ounce pitchers are served at kids’ parties, has the right idea: "We’re figuring out a way to have freshly squeezed juice for the birthday parties. We might have to raise the price about a dollar or so," he said, noting drinks with 100 percent juice are exempt from the ban.
Club hoppers, this is going to affect you too. Buying bottles at the bar no longer grants you a full complement of mixers, unless it’s water or 100 percent juice, because carafes commonly hold 32 ounces and the most common mixers are sodas, juices and tonic water.
"Oh, my God. Seriously?" said Lamia Sunti, owner of the swanky West Village club Le Souk Harem.
It doesn’t make sense to me either, Lamia. Alcoholic drinks, fruit smoothies without added sweetener, coffee drinks and milk shakes made with 50 percent milk, and diet sodas (the word diet doesn’t mean they’re healthy, folks) are not subject to the ban, so what about drinks with miniscule amounts of sugar?
Vendors need to get out their calculators and start determining if their beverages have more than "3.125 calories per ounce" or they’ll be facing violations of $200 each. So multiply the amount of calories by the violation price, divided by the number of people affected, take the square root of NYC’s debt, carry the one, borrow from the tens place and we get ... a sincere idea (thanks Nanny Bloomberg) but a complete waste of legislative time and money.