How much does a carton of milk cost? The Costa Rican daily newspaper La Teja translated this old political standby question to the metric system when it asked several of the leading presidential candidates how much a liter of milk, among other things, cost on Sunday.
National Liberation Party candidate Johnny Araya – the once longtime mayor of Costa Rica’s capital city – should have consulted with his vice presidential running mate Jorge Pattoni, general manager of the Dos Pinos dairy cooperative, before answering how much a liter of milk goes for nowadays.
Araya estimated the cost of a liter of milk at ₡200 ($0.40) and a kilogram of rice at ₡300 ($0.60), half the actual prices, based on 2013 figures from the Economy, Industry and Commerce Ministry.
The median price for one liter of 2 percent milk is ₡626 ($1.30) and ₡707 ($1.40) for 1 kilogram of rice.
The former mayor of San José added that Ticos could get a casado — a typical lunch or dinner meal of meat, rice and beans, and a salad — for as little as ₡1,000 (roughly $2).
The PLN candidate’s answers sent Ticos to Twitter and Facebook, where they snidely asked the candidate where they could find such bargains.
Other candidates were closer to the mark. Social Christian Unity Party latecomer Rodolfo Piza came the closest of those asked, at ₡600. Broad Front candidate José María Villalta was close to the price of a kilo of rice with his guess of ₡700, but overestimated the cost of milk by almost as much as Araya low-balled it, saying it cost ₡1,000. Admittedly, Villalta said he doesn’t drink milk.
Libertarian Movement Party candidate Otto Guevara abstained from most of the questions about the household index, saying he “doesn’t do the shopping in the house.”
The newspaper asked Citizen Action Party candidate Luis Guillermo Solís other questions about the household index. La Teja also asked the candidates how much they pay for electricity and their cellphone bills, and how much a liter of gasoline goes for.