Coffee lovers who usually stop at a coffee kiosk every morning on their way to work have witnessed an unreasonable price hike while buying their daily cup of joe.
Starting from last weekend, regular coffee drinkers noticed that the prices on their favorite hot beverages have gone up by SR2, which is an increase of 30 to 40 percent.
Consumers complain that the rise in price has come without a warning or a reason because the cost of a kilogram of coffee beans and sugar remains constant. On the other hand, coffee kiosk owners say that they have been compelled to increase the prices on tea and coffee because of the skyrocketing rents.
“If the wholesale prices of coffee, sugar, and milk are stable and have not increased, then why have the prices on regular cups of tea or coffee gone up?” asked an annoyed customer.
An employee at one of the coffee stalls on a busy road in Jeddah told Okaz newspaper, “This is not the first time that the owner has raised the prices of coffee, tea and beverages. As workers, we have no control over the increase in prices nor are we given any explanation.
“The problem is that the owner did not even consider offering us a raise to coincide with the higher prices of beverages sold. The average salary for us standing at the coffee stalls every day ranges between SR1,000 and SR1,300. “Even worse is that the customers who are frustrated over the increase in the cost of a cup of coffee are now so upset that they refrain from offering us any tips as they used to earlier.”
Some customers expressed that the unreasonable increase in price should be brought to the Ministry of Commerce and the Saudi Consumer Protection Agency’s notice, so that they can intervene.
“This increase is inexcusable since there have been no sudden spikes in the cost of nutritional products such as sugar, milk, coffee, and tea leaves this month. Adding SR2 to a regular cup of coffee or tea is equivalent to a 40 percent increase, which is too high. I intend on boycotting every coffee stall and kiosk that has suddenly increased its prices,” said Sultan Al-Seraihi.
Khalid Abdullah, another customer, recalled a past incidence: “Two years ago, a similar increase of SR2 occurred on each cup of coffee at kiosks throughout the city. Due to customers’ fury and pressure from governmental inspectors, the coffee kiosks were forced to compromise and decreased the price by SR1. I believe that this jump of SR2 on a regular cup of coffee is another ploy by the owners of these coffee kiosks to succeed in raising their prices by SR1.”
Jeddah municipality denied any rental hikes on coffee kiosks and drive through coffee shops, Okaz newspaper reported. — SG