In poverty, groceries can be five times more expensive, as this video stunt shows.

Watch a Grocery Store Experiment That Showed How Much Food Costs in Poverty (Milk: $24)

Watch a Grocery Store Experiment That Showed How Much Food Costs in Poverty (Milk: $24)

Slate in motion.
May 19 2017 8:03 AM

What It's Like to Buy Groceries in Poverty

That milk will be $24.  

screen_shot_20161204_at_9.57.17_pm

A hidden camera in a San Francisco grocery store last year captured patrons' reactions when their items ring up as five times more expensive, adjusted to reflect the cost of living near the poverty line. In "Poverty Line Prices," above, people are shocked when they see their totals. When you're poor, milk can have an adjusted cost of $24.

The video comes from Tipping Point Community, an organization that combats poverty in the Bay Area, and advertising agency Goodby Silverstein & Partners. In San Francisco, the average annual family income is $153,000, which, after taxes, is five times the $24,300 a year that families living on the poverty line earn (or roughly 1 in 10 families in San Francisco). The video was filmed at a high-end grocery store in Nob Hill, one of the city's most affluent neighborhoods.

Advertisement

You can also go to the website and enter your salary to see how much more expensive certain items would feel if you were living on the poverty line (and donate the value of those marked-up items to people in need).

Update, May 25, 2017: This post has been updated to note that the the average family income in San Francisco is five times that of a family living on the poverty line after taxes.

Madeline Raynor is a Slate freelance video blogger.