The deli-counter worker who ate Sam Whitelock

An Ohio grocery store employee is facing theft charges for stealing deli meat, a few slices at a time. In eight years working at the deli counter, the woman reportedly helped herself to up to five slices of ham every day, occasionally taking a few slices of salami instead.

Vice.com reports the shop's loss-prevention manager reported the theft after receiving a tip about it, and she admitted her crime. Then someone pulled out a calculator and found she'd downed more than $9000 worth of deli meat.

As one Facebook commenter pointed out, Giant Eagle must sell some fancy ham: if she ate two ounces (56 grams) each day, five days a week, for eight years — and assuming she didn't take a day off from either work or eating ham — that adds up to 118kg or the equivalent of All Black Sam Whitelock.

But here's where things begin to come unstuck ... If the store valued her theft at US$9200 ($13,300), its deli ham is $112 per kilo, which is over four times as much per kilo as, say, Farro's most expensive pig, Harrington's Ham On The Bone Half which goes for $26.99 per kg. So take that calculation with a grain of salt ... and a spoonful of honey mustard.

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Rip off NZ

"We have a holiday home in Port Douglas and had to buy a new washing machine — bought an Electrolux 7.5kg model from Harvey Norman in Cairns — not a major city and a long way from Brisbane or Sydney and paid A$635 ($674). The same washing machine here is $1298! Also bought a Weber barbecue Q3100 Black from the local hardware shop for A$715 ($759). The same one here is $959. Can someone tell me what's going on — we are royally getting ripped off somewhere."

Avoid the stairs — for four years

"They've only been waiting four months for the boardwalk between Sands apartments and Takapuna Beach to reopen, but spare a thought for the many people who used to enjoy linking into the Hobson Bay Walkway by the Bentley Steps on Elam St in Parnell. This sign has been up at the top of the steps for over four years! Calls to the council have made no difference here either. Maybe Sideswipe can help us too?"

Size matters with markets

"I'm a Kiwi expat living in the US," writes a reader with an economics lesson for Ed Ackman. "Totes get ya point, mate, but let's be honest. I'm sure you learned in fourth-form economics about supply and demand and how the size of a market affects its price for goods and services. Australia has over five times the New Zealand population and the US population is nearly 70 times that of EnZed. How else do you think you can buy milk so cheaply in those economies? Keep in mind, too, that the average minimum wage in the US is US$7.50 ($10.80) and in NZ it's $16.50. And don't complain about the price of ice cream — you are paying for quality — it's by far the best in the world!"