Just like real estate, the price of a Christmas tree will vary significantly depending on which neighborhood you center your search. DNA Info recently conducted a reader poll to find which local tree dealers are gouging evergreen buyers and which are keeping with a more charitable holiday spirit. Pollsters zoomed in on several neighborhoods across Manhattan, Brooklyn and Queens and found some major price disparities even when it came to minor details like whether a vendor was set up on a street corner or just a typical stretch. Just check out the $50 price difference at two Williamsburg locales ahead…
According to an earlier story by The Post, the city’s Department of Consumer Affairs says that “pretty much anyone can sell trees anywhere they please for any amount—as long as they’re not blocking other businesses’ entryways.” The lack of regulation allows vendors to price tress however they want all of December; the lax rules, according to DNA Info, are because of the “coniferous tree” exception adopted by the City Council in 1938 when then-mayor Fiorello LaGuardia was intent on ridding the streets of peddlers.
The only tree vendors subjected to any sort of oversight are those who sell in the city’s parks. These sellers are required to bid for a permit with the highest bidder winning the right. DNA Info found that some sellers pay up to $56,000 for a monthly permit.
Other factors that play into a tree’s pricing include where it came from (e.g. Jersey versus Oregon), its species, the type of retailer and its height. In fact, if you visit SoHo Trees at Sixth Avenue and Spring Street, you’ll find “really big, rare trees” going for up to $400 a pop.
SoHo Trees operator Scott Lechne defended his prices to the Post saying that he pays $36,000 to rent his two-acre space and it costs him about $8,000 a day to operate. “I get my trees from all over the place, and they’re always the last cut… they’re here in 72 hours [after being cut]…Do you walk into Macy’s and try to haggle the price of a sweater? No. If they tell you it’s $50, you have to pay it—but we work outside, so people think it’s OK to bargain.”
Last year, a survey conducted by the National Christmas Tree Association found that $39.50 for a real tree was the average paid by their participants.
[Via DNA Info]
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