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Outcry Over Overpriced Ham and Cheese Roll

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Outcry Over Overpriced Ham and Cheese Roll

Icelandic money

Photo: Geir Ólafsson.

A buttered roll with ham and cheese being sold for ISK 1,190 [USD 11, EUR 10] is an anomaly, according to Helga Árnadóttir, director of the Icelandic Travel Industry Association. RÚV reports that the overpriced fare was spotted in a coffeehouse in Húsavík in North Iceland yesterday, while the same ham and cheese sandwich is being sold for ISK 520 [USD 5, EUR 4] in Akureyri, just over an hour away.

The news of this price discrepency raised a number of eybrows after RÚV reported it yesterday, but Dögg Stefánsdóttir, the manager of the Gamli Baukur coffeehouse, said she hadn’t received any comments about the roll being overpriced, and noted that they’ve sold a considerable number of them at the present rate.

Helga Árnadóttir called the price “completely crazy,” but said that there are black sheep in every industry. She wanted to emphasize, however, that the tourism industry is not “like a gold-digger” that’s just raising prices because it has the power to do so. She referred to actual earnings within the sector, and said,“Companies are truly struggling as operators try to respond as they’re able to this business environment,”

Helga pointed out that the króna has strengthened by more than 20 percent, leading wages to go up by that amount as well. “This is a labor-intensive industry,” she remarked. “We’re also talking about high interest rates. We can’t forget that the tourism sector is probably the industry that has invested the most in infrastructure in recent years. It invested something around [ISK] 90 billion just last year, if I remember correctly. And so all of this makes a big difference and has an effect on prices.”

In light of the outcry, management at Gamli Baukur says the price of their ham and cheese roll will, most likely, be reconsidered.

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