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I can make it at home for nothing!

I can make it at home for nothing!

Should restaurants be penalised for hiking up the prices of bottled water for more than 1000 percent of the supermarket sale price? Kipp doesn’t think so.


August 12, 2011 12:01 by

There was a character on BBC’s excellent sketch show Goodness Gracious Me who was famous for her catch line: “I could make it at home for nothing.”

The line first emerged in a skit that had an old Indian mother and housewife going out to a restaurant with her family. On seeing the extensive and expensive menu, she begins to dismiss every recommendation with the claim that she can “make it at home for nothing.”

“How about some pasta” her daughter proposes helpfully.

“Pasta? I can make it at home for nothing.”

Her husband and son follow shortly with their recommendations. The mother is unmoved: “I can make it at home for nothing.”

That skit was the first thing Kipp thought of when we read this interesting article from The National concerning the sale of bottled water in restaurants. Out of the 60 restaurants The National surveyed, 30 were found to serve only imported water and not its cheaper local counterparts. Of those that did serve local water, it wasn’t unusual to find that restaurants increased the price of water bottles by almost 1000 to 2000 percent. The National found that the average cost for local water was Dh18.6 – “almost 1,300 per cent more than the average supermarket price.”

Now it really isn’t breaking news that bottled water is severely marked up at local restaurants, but we were pleasantly surprised by the Minister of Economy who said the practise was illegal. Dr Hashim Al Nuaimi, the ministry’s head of consumer protection, said “I am OK with a restaurant selling larger bottles of water for Dh2 or Dh3, but when they charge Dh5 for a bottle that originally costs Dh1.5, then that is completely wrong and unacceptable and actually illegal.”

Now anything that cuts down the price is a welcomed change for Kipp, but if you are asking us, marked up bottled water comes with the terrain of going out to eat. Dining out is an extravagance that we all knowingly take on, despite the inflated prices. Would an espresso shot really set us back by Dh15? No, we probably could ‘make it home for nothing.’ Would a herbal tea really cost Dh18? Most definitely not. Give us some free hot water, a tea bag and presto: we would have ‘made it at home for nothing.’

What do you think? Should restaurants be penalised for hiking up the prices more than 1000 percent of the supermarket sale price? Kipp doesn’t think so. If we went down this road, what implications does this have for soft drinks, tea, and there we say, the rest of the meal?


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