A can of 23-ounce AriZona Iced Tea cost $0.99 in 1992 when it was first introduced and still costs the same.
As companies in the U.S. are jacking up rates citing inflation and gas prices, there is one company that simply refuses to shift the costs onto the customers. AriZona Iced Tea has been in convenience stores throughout the U.S. for more than three decades. A can of 23-ounce AriZona Iced Tea cost $0.99 in 1992 when it was first introduced and still costs the same. The gas prices have quadrupled since the can's introduction 30 years ago, but the owners have refused to increase prices, focusing on their customers. "I’m committed to that 99-cent price," said AriZona co-founder and chairman Don Vultaggio, reported Los Angeles Times. "When things go against you, you tighten your belt. I don't want to do what the bread guys and the gas guys and everybody else are doing. Consumers don't need another price increase from a guy like me."
At a time when U.S. companies posted record profits in the past year, many have passed on the rising costs to their customers. The people at AriZona Iced Tea could have used inflation as a perfect excuse to increase its price, but it maintains that it'll ride out the storm without burdening the customers. AriZona Iced Tea's prices have weathered many storms including periods of inflation, economic upheaval and even a global pandemic. One of the major differences between companies such as Coca-Cola, PepsiCo and AriZona is that AriZona is privately owned, enabling the people in charge to make radical financial decisions such as this.
PSA: Our recommended selling price for AriZona in the USA is still 99c! The can on the right is from Canada, where $1.29 converts to around 99c!— AriZona Iced Tea (@DrinkAriZona) January 20, 2021
Don’t worry fam, we still got you 💚🌸😊 https://t.co/lZgHEsTBly
Don Vultaggio is worth more than $4.3 billion and his company sells close to three billion cans of tea per year. He knows his company can take a hit while not shifting the burden onto its customers. "Everything (people are) buying today there’s a price increase on. We’re trying to hold the ground and hold for a consumer who is pinched on all fronts," said Vultaggio, reported TODAY. "I’ve been in business a long time and candidly I’ve never seen anything like what’s going on now. Every single thing has gone up, and I call it 'from a paper clip to a too-big filling machine.'"
Similarly, Costco's meal combo consisting of a ginormous hot dog and a 24-oz soda is priced at $1.50, the same since 1985. When there were rumors the CEO wanted to increase the price of its iconic combo, Costco founder Jim Sinegal told CEO Craig Jelinek, "If you raise the [price of the] effing hot dog, I will kill you." Costco literally started its own hot dog manufacturing plant to offset the costs.
Many Democrats are calling out companies for posting record profits and then jacking up prices and burdening the customers. “Giant corporations are using inflation as cover to raise their prices and boost their profits,” said Senator Elizabeth Warren. “In industry after industry, we have too little competition and companies have too much power to increase prices. I’ve been calling out this corporate profiteering & price gouging.”
AriZona iced tea has been priced at 99 cents since its inception in 1992, and there are reportedly no plans to change that. pic.twitter.com/as1Pgl4r0N— NowThis (@nowthisnews) April 20, 2022
Corporate profits after tax were $2.7 trillion in the fourth quarter of last year, just off the all-time high of $2.72 trillion in the previous quarter, according to the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis and compiled by the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, reported The Hill. That marks a 40% increase in profits from the pre-pandemic level of $1.96 trillion for the fourth quarter of 2019. Democrats are accusing corporations of using inflation as an excuse to fleece customers.
“Take a look around the economy. McDonald’s: profits up 59 percent. They’re raising prices. Starbucks: record profits. They’re raising prices. Amazon: record profits. Shock of shocks! They’re raising prices!” wrote Bernie Sanders on Twitter.