Loss Exceeded 9/11
From The World Journal
August 16th, 2003

Because of the power failure, Chinatown businessmen were unable to do business for a day and half. Because they had to depend on refrigerators to keep food fresh, restaurants and fish and meat stores lost the most during the black out.

The owner of a seafood and meat store on Canal Street said that the power failure, more so than 9/11, left him ‘without a return on investing capital’ — existing stocks valuing over $100,000 were all finished off in one day.

Tan Shi-Hao, storeowner of M&F Fish & Meat Food Market, Inc. at 214 Canal Street, hurried back to the store on Friday at 6 a.m. to check the conditions of the fish and meat. However, when he opened the door and smelled an offensive odor, he knew things were far from good.

Tan said that before the power failure on Thursday, he had just stocked the store with goods worth more than $100,000 for the coming weekend, never thinking a black out would come at 4 p.m. that afternoon.

After the power failure, he closed the store immediately and stopped doing business. Although he had already spent about $200 buying ice yesterday trying to save fish and meat, most went bad after Thursday night in the store.

According to Tan, he has been in the fish and meat business for around 20 years, but he has never encountered such a heavy loss before. September 11 only caused him to be unable to open the store on the first day of the attack and on the following day. But this time, when the weather was hot and the refrigerator was not working, he couldn’t find a way to store the fish and meat, and could only watch them rot one after another.

Learning from this experience, he said he is considering buying a generator in the future to prevent a similar situation from happening again.

One fish and meat store at East Broadway lowered its prices on Friday morning to reduce the loss. For seafood originally sold from $4 to $5, the price was changed to $2; or, if originally sold from $2 to $3, the price became $1. According to the storeowner, if these goods were not sold out in the morning, they would all turn bad in the afternoon. Loss from cheap-selling would still be better than throwing the goods away.

No Chinatown restaurant could do business yesterday. Some restaurant owners and workers have sat waiting outside their restaurants for electricity to come back since Friday morning.

They said that after the power failure on Thursday, some foods were already discarded, and the rest were put in the most freezing refrigerator. Thereafter, as to avoid losing cool air, they have been afraid to open the refrigerator. They believed if electricity had still not been restored on Friday night, all food would be rotten.

They said they would wait until the electricity came back to reopen the refrigerators so they could check the food to see what can be kept and what has to be dumped out. Only then they could account for their losses.

Since yesterday morning, in order to lessen loss, some restaurants and food stores have been using gas stove to cook goods that haven’t been turned bad to sell. Even Japanese restaurants lowered Sushi’s price for sale — for Sushi usually sell $8 to $9, they now sold $4 to $5.

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Translated from Chinese by Michael Huang

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