Passover Business, Part II: The Aftermath

I mentioned in my last blog about how there is a tremendous amount of business associated with Passover. Interestingly enough, there is a great deal of post- Passover business, too.

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Once Passover ends, Jews are officially allowed to eat all kosher foods, including those that are leavened. Though the holiday is only eight days, many people think that it feels like an eternity. Indeed, there is a variety of foods available to eat. Nonetheless, knowing that something in particular is forbidden psychologically causes people to feel unbearably, excessively deprived. Cue the Egyt slavery jokes.

Definitely not of the same magnitude as lines on Black Friday. But all in the name of pizza? You bet.

Definitely not of the same magnitude as lines on Black Friday. But all in the name of pizza? You bet.

It comes as no surprise, then, that once Passover ends, there is a spiked demand for leavened foods. In particular, people crave pizza and donuts with such intense desire that one would think that these foods are rare delicacies (or that they have been starved for the past week. On the contrary, there are many heavy meals that are served.) Stores in my neighborhood have picked up on this opportunity for major sales and stay open very late after Passover ends. The scene is chaotic: people flock in and out of the stores to pick up huge orders, lines of teenagers go down the block, and the phones ring incessantly with calls from ravenous customers. It is shocking to see how Dunkin Donuts runs out of donuts almost immediately, and the pizzas fly off the shelves in the pizzerias. Interestingly, the pizza stores only sell entire pies, rather than bothering with individual slices; they wisely realize that it is more worthwhile to make whole pies than to invest their time cutting individual slices, which sell for less. Absolutely nothing has been done to these foods to make them tastier or cheaper. Rather, the level of desirability skyrockets is  based solely on the circumstances. Like I said, Passover plays an important economic role, shifting around normal supply and demand. I would venture to argue that in the three days following Passover, stores not only recoup the losses for having not been open the previous eight days, but actually come out on top and make a profit.

For a monopoly, there is only one supply curve. Since the demand is the only thing that is changing, in our case increasing, the price rises. Monopolies benefit because they do not have to worry about anyone else threatening them to lower current prices so as to entice customers.

For a monopoly, there is only one supply curve. Since the demand is the only thing that is changing, in our case increasing, the price rises. Monopolies benefit because they do not have to worry about anyone else threatening them to lower current prices so as to entice customers.

That there is so much potential for tremendous growth margins makes the scene on Main Street following Passover all the more shocking. Granted, people were busy organizing their homes and returning everything back to normal. Nonetheless, there is no excuse why all of the kosher pizza stores on Main Street were closed that night. It pained me that they were missing out on the opportunity to make their monthly profits at least double in matter of hours. I thought to myself at that moment that, had I not had three upcoming midterms and a major project, I would gladly have started making pizzas from scratch, and sold them from a temporary stand. I would have been a monopoly, the sole supplier, at least for the time being, and the money would have rolled in.

Stores do not want Passover foods to stay on the shelves once the holiday does not end. If people are not buying, then these items are wasting precious shelf space that could otherwise be given to foods that fly off the shelves.

Stores do not want Passover foods to stay on the shelves once the holiday does not end. If people are not buying, then these items are wasting precious shelf space that could otherwise be given to foods that fly off the shelves.

With the increase in demand for leavened food comes a decrease in demand for Passover foods. Stores are stuck with their excess supply of Passover foods that Jews suddenly have little interest in buying. In an attempt to entice buyers, the prices of the goods are slashed dramatically.  For example, my local Pathmark was already selling Matzah Meal at 75% off barely 2 days after Passover. While some might be disgusted at the sight of anything Matzah related after gorging on it for eight days straight, it is important not to block it out. Take advantage of these incredible savings by stocking up on some of the foods. No, not for now-you most certainly need a solid 3-month break from Matzah. Rather, save what you buy for next year’s Passover. Many of the goods have no expiration dates, so you can be rest assured that they will last. Passover is inherently an expensive holiday, so why not exploit an easy way to circumvent paying full price next time? I would also recommend buying discounted nuts, an item which is always expensive. Often times, stores do not realize that foods that are labeled kosher for Passover are normal foods that can be, and often times are, eaten year round, too. As a result, unnecessary discounts are given, there for you to benefit. Passover may be a time of extreme spending, but the time afterwards is an opportunity for extreme savings!

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Published in: on April 30, 2014 at 8:22 pm Comments (0)


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