Ahmed Mohammed, who peddles dogs at Greenwich and Albany streets, was caught on camera charging the exorbitant price.
“I asked for a hot dog and a Dr Pepper. ‘$30." I said, ‘You’re joking, right?’ ” a New Jersey customer named Ben said. “He was like ‘$15, maybe $10.’”
The high-priced hot dog man appeared to target customers with accents, who might be tourists.
Another customer, David, who has a thick French accent, said he lives in New York and knew he was being ripped off when Mohammed demanded $15 for a hot dog and pretzel.
“I am not a tourist, so I know the price,” David said after storming away from Mohammed’s cart.
Street vendors are free to charge whatever they want, but prices have to be clearly posted, according to the business advocacy group Alliance for Downtown New York.
“It gives New York a bad name,” said group president Jessica Lappin. “To rip off someone, to charge them $35 for a hot dog and pretzel, that leaves a terrible impression.”
When WNBC reporter Melissa Russo approached Mohammed and asked why he was charging so much, the hot dog man had no answers.
“Me?” Mohammed said.
“Yeah, you,” Russo said.
“Maybe they [complaining customers], don’t speak English,” Mohammed said.
“We have videotape of you talking to people in English,” Russo responded.
This sound crazy because it is. But that is only because everybody knows how much a hotdog should cost. But here's some food for thought. Imagine how much more we pay for other things that are not worth our hard earned money to increase someone's profit margin.