Hurricane Creates Pricing Trouble, Opportunity

In the wake of Katrina’s devestation, so many people have so much more critical things on their minds than pricing that it almost seems frivolous to talk about pricing. At the same time, businesses must function when possible and a strong economy is what generates the wealth that in theory would finance the defenses and responses to these types of disasters.

The biggest short term impact on the national economy is in gas prices. The hurricane hit refinery capacity and sent gas prices shooting over $3 per gallon in many parts of the country. In Oklahoma, gas stations successfully lobbied the state for permission to post prices for half gallons. Some pumps cannot display prices above $2.99 per gallon.

In slightly happier news, Cinemark theaters is offering half pricing in for all movies in Louisiana and Mississippi. For people who have lost everything, even $4 for a movie will be too steep, but for many relief workers and others involved in rescue efforts, 2 hours of escapism may be welcome break. This is not a decision that will make Cinemark more money, at least in the short term, but it’s a nice decision nonetheless.

For folks looking for news on loved ones, see Survivors Reunited.

One Comment

  1. Jon

    Hi Reuben,

    Interesting post. At the time of 9/11 I was pricing internet access across a chain of internet cafes. We had the world’s largest internet cafe, on 42nd Street in NYC (717 terminals).

    All the cell phone networks were knocked out by what happened that day, and we had people queuing along 42nd street to send e-mails and IM’s to loved ones to tell them they were alright.

    While demand far outstipped supply, there was no way we could increase prices, despite some employees asking ‘why not’.

    Sometimes, compassion is more important than capitalism.


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