Price survey again shows that variations are large

The jungle may be in the nation’s stores and not in its hills and valleys.

Another survey by the economic ministry’s consumer division found startling price differences in children’s toys and in the ingredients to make the traditional Christmas tamal.

Surveys found a difference of 325 percent between identical toys and 749 percent between similar items when they checked 18 establishments.

The report said that the 325 percent figure might be skewed because the item, a Mattel Angry Birds table game, was on sale at one of the establishments the day surveyors arrived.

But the wild differences in price continues with foodstuffs. Peas, which are part of the tamal mix showed a difference of 69 percent.

The Mercado Central de San José and the municipal markets in Alajuela, Cartago and Heredia were competitive with local supermarkets, the report said.

Other ingredients checked included flour, olives, rice, chiles, banana leaves for wrapping the tamal, pork, chicken breast and various vegetables. The items needed to make 50 tamales cost 21,896 colons ($40.70)  at the low end. The top price was  29,248 colons ($54.36). That’s a difference of some 7,352 colons or about $13.67.

The price surveys are traditional around major holidays.

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