Somebody is a Quick Study of Capitalism

Four days ago, I posted about the clever entrepreneur selling double-layer, home-made face masks for a buck. They’re a bargain no more! Since seeing the unattended sales display on Jan. 9, 2021 along Maryland Street in San Diego’s University Heights neighborhood, something changed—the price! Four dollars more—a 400-percent increase! Granted, the presentation is fancier, and Venmo payment is now accepted—with QR code option, no less.

Smooth sales tactics, reminiscent of retail operations everywhere, are evident in the “originally $10 each”, too. That’s not the price I photographed last week, hehe. I wonder why the change. Were too many selling at $1? Was the price below product cost? Were passersby abusing the honor system and stealing them? (Behavioral studies show that people are less likely to swipe things that are more valuable.)

Whatever the reasons for bumping up the price, potential buyers are given a much more appealing—and professional—off-the-sidewalk display (now attached to the fence and showing off samples). With incoming-President Joseph Biden calling for 100 days of face mask wearing to combat SARS-CoV-2 (severe acute respiratory syndrome Coronavirus 2), which causes COVID-19, the entrepreneur’s product is timely. Mmmm, maybe that’s why the face coverings cost $4 more each and the seller set up something more permanent.

I used Leica Q2 to capture the Featured Image (warning: 21MB file), today. Vitals, aperture manually set: f/2.8, ISO 100, 1/800 sec, 28mm; 10:03 a.m. PST. During post-production, I chose not to boost exposure or use a fill-light tool; the subdued foreground contrasting the brighter blurred background beyond the fence is deliberate.

BTW, believe it or not, the sign in this post is the same as the one shot on the 9th. Color is accurate in both, despite the richness of the older compared to the newer. What you see, if you look, are the bleaching effects of Southern California sunlight.