The Thing to Say!

One Mr. Mele Kalikimaka Turner brought some Christmas cheer to a few people in Hawai'i this weekend--those willing to pay for it, that is.

HONOLULU - A shortage of Christmas trees in Hawaii has raised prices to more than $200 each, drawing complaints from cost-conscious shoppers who are eager to buy trees before the holiday.

Tree buyers camped outside a shopping center hours before dawn on Saturday to await a shipment of 130 noble firs flown in from Oregon. A crowd of more than 200 people had gathered by morning, when a salesman announced the trees would cost $165 to $200 each.

Consumers complained that was at least twice the price charged just a few days earlier. In previous weeks, trees sold for $30 to $70.

To me, $200 for a live, healthy fir tree on a tropical island 2400 miles from the US just a week before Christmas sounds like a pretty good deal. Sadly -- and really, you could have predicted it -- Mr. Kelikimaka Turner was labeled a "gouger" by some:

"I am not gouging," said Turner whose first name means "Merry Christmas" in Hawaiian. "It's a fair price for the time and energy. There's a lot involved in bringing a tree to Hawaii."

Sounds about right to me. And the best part of the story is the nicely encapsulated description of the mutual benefits of exchange:

"He thinks he's got us because he's got the trees. But we have the money, and maybe we won't pay," shouted Barbara Taylor of Honolulu.

Merry Christm...er, mele kalikimaka!

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This page contains a single entry by published on December 20, 2004 4:30 PM.

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