How much money does Stanley Ho Hung-sun need? Macau gaming revenues might be a little dented but surely he's made enough to retire in comfort?
Having spent a day discovering just how bad public transport in Macau now is and then sitting on a ferry that initially would not start, on the journey home I really needed a beer and packet of crisps.
A small can of Blue Girl on one of Ho's ferries costs HK$40 (yes, four zero) and the Hot & Spicy crisps are a gobsmacking HK$25. The same beer costs about HK$10 and three packets of these crisps are HK$12.50 in my local supermarket.
Clearly what Ho is losing on the gaming chips he's making up for on potato chips.
Of course, no one is expecting the captive audience on a ferry to pay supermarket prices, but I've been catching that ferry for 25 years and never experienced pricing that "ambitious" before. It's not as though I was poured the beer by an award-winning barman. I was passed both by a grumpy old git.
Ho is not the only tycoon racking up the retirement funds. At Taste supermarket - part of the Li Ka-shing-chaired CK Hutchison Holdings - a baked samosa is HK$18.
A comparison with Indian prices would be unfair (but, FYI, I paid HK$3 for a deep-fried samosa in Bangalore in June), so let's put it another way: a samosa is a tablespoon of spiced meat or potato in a casing made of flour, water and salt. The expensive element is the oil or clarified butter used for the deep-frying.
Taste's samosas are baked.
Does Li also have a shortfall in his retirement fund?