Inflation and crime have gotten so bad in New York City that even cheap meat like Spam has to be locked up.
At Duane Reade’s store in the Port Authority bus depot, the shelf-stable product — only $3.99 a can — is now being stocked in plastic, anti-theft cases.
“I’ve never seen that before!” one cashier laughed while using a magnet to remove a can of Spam from its cage.
The cashier was among the employees, tourists and store regulars stunned that the iconic blue-and-yellow cans are now being kept under lock-and-key.
Jenny Kenny, 43, who was visiting from Louisville, KY, was aware of the ongoing crime waves hitting cities like New York and San Francisco, but still couldn’t believe the sight of “so many things in boxes.”
“Some of these things are pretty ridiculous,” she said.
As prices and crime skyrocket, New York City stores have taken to locking up staples like toothpaste and soap to prevent crooks from stealing and then hawking the products on the sidewalk or online marketplaces like Amazon and eBay.
Employees at the store said thefts have been surging over the past two-plus years, with one estimating a minimum of four shoplifters every evening shift.
With inflation out of control — the consumer price index spiked 9.1 percent in June compared to a year ago, even as President Biden last week refused to acknowledge the nation is in a recession despite the economy contracting two quarters in a row — emboldened thieves have found a ready market for discounted stolen goods among recession-weary consumers.
Petit larceny complaints for the NYPD Midtown South Precinct, which includes the Port Authority bus terminal, have shot up 52 percent — to 1,771, through July 24 — compared to the same period last year.