Thursday, April 21, 2011

Today Cadbury Creme Eggs, tomorrow the entire global economy—implementing my lunchroom economic system

“Do you want those Doritos? I'll trade you my snack pack for them.”
“No, I really want these, but that Cup O' Dirt Billy has looks delicious, get it for me, and I will make that trade!”
“Ok, so I talked to Billy and got his Cup O' Dirt, but only after I convinced Jenkins to trade me his Mallomars for Allen's Handi-Snack, but Allen wanted the small intestine of a virgin child to enact that trade. After committing manslaughter on a defenseless (and snack free) Scotty, I went through and made all the trades. So I present to you, this Cup O' Dirt. So, is the trade on?”
The ultimate in candy trading value. Especially in winter.
“Sure, but three things. First, lunch is over. Second, in this litigious society where murder in the first is illegal, you're going to have much explaining to do about Scotty's lack of intestine, oh, and life. Finally, I already ate the Doritos. They rocked. Cool Ranch amazing!”

You have just taken a look into my elementary school cafeteria. It's true not a day went by where we didn't lose a Scotty or a Russell or an Erika, but every day I also had access to the finest processed snack items Cheetos could afford.

Only with the benefit of being 26 do I realize that lunch time trades are a premiere economic system. And I don't mean “premiere” in the fact that it's really cool or communistic, no, I mean it as in we should throw out all monetary forms and rely solely upon the value of Skittles during times of hunger.

Sure, this is an updated form of trade and barter, but instead of focusing on unimportant things like oxen or rudimentary plague cures (which ironically also involves Little Debbie snack cakes), my system focuses entirely upon delicious.
Now the big question is, if we eliminate all forms of currency, how do we purchase said items to trade. As an elementary schooler, my snack items just magically appeared in the cupboard. But my knowledge of classmates' snack preferences—that was pure skill. I'd bring bag lunches packed to the gills with Cheetos. Sure, Cheetos kind of suck, but for some reason this guy John liked them, and he always brought a fruit snack that Brian liked, which resulted in a three-way dance that brought me palatable food.

I realize I'm proposing a system of trade and barter, but this is different because who really cares about things like oxen or plague cures when we're talking about cold hard snacks. That automatically makes this system better.

Even bad Doritos have amazing value
What's really great is this is a self-policing system. When someone claims “Hey, I'll trade you my raisins,” it's automatically met with blank stares. Even if they try sugarcoating it (literally!) with a “They're covered in chocolate, and are really awesome!” The stares turn into glares with this clarification (more like glarification!), and food loser is left with his bottom feeding awful foods.

As you can see, my cafeteria represented the most perfect economics system in the world. Take that microeconomics! So long game theory and the Nash Equilibrium! And I'll see you in hell, mercantilism!

Now I don't brand myself as some sort of economist. Sure, I did take an econ class in college, but when 40 percent of a grade is based upon attendance, you really can't expect to learn much. However, I showed up to lunch every day in grades one through 11 (with sporadic hits senior year) and I know the value of items.

Everyone knows a Fruit by the Foot is worth more than a Fruit-Roll Up, based on simple length alone. But I can go beyond that surface level analysis.

A seasonal item obtained out of season will become the new Benjamin Franklin. Those who hoard Robin's Eggs for the winter or chocolate oranges for the summer will reap great benefit on the secondary market. When I see someone trade some peppermint bark and candy corn for a brand new Jaguar in July, I'll know my new financial system has succeeded.

Eventually I'll get my “A Beautiful Mind” moment where all the other professors (I assume I'll be given an automatic professorship somewhere for advancing this awesome theory) will come and give me their pens. However, since I'll have already proven this world has no use for pens, instead they'll give me stacks upon stacks of Milk Duds. And I will fill an entire room with them. It will seem especially suiting that I'll have paid for that house with strategically earned June Candy Corn.

For anyone wanting to invest in snack futures, I'd highly recommend it, bu you probably don't know relative values. Luckily you are reading this right now and will be able to get in on the hot hot fudge market before it cools down. I think that statement is both literal and metaphorical.

So I present to you the “Hierarchy of Snack Foods.” I have noted and weighted the seasonality of certain items. I'll admit, this is an annotated list, but its placements are solid and hierarchical. Each entry is worth roughly two of the following items.

Cookie Dough
Winter Cadbury Eggs (within the Cadbury Egg Hierarchy, it goes crème, mini, caramel)
Anything Hostess-branded
Winter Robin's Eggs
Fruit Roll Up
Dunk-a-Roos (are these even made anymore? The appeal of putting cookies in your own frosting will always appeal)
Crystal Pepsi (reviled in its time, but unique in this decade)
Summer Candy Corn
Fruit by the Foot
24ct Gold
Jelly Beans
Grapes (technically healthy, but also really awesome)
Economic proof that Raisins are a
big pile of worthless crap
Mentos (but only if they sing the theme song)
Diet Coke
Shaped fruit snacks
Unshaped fruit snacks (you can't play with these ones)
Cumin seed (surprisingly high value comes from scarcity, because really, who brings cumin seed to an elementary lunch room?)
Crystal Tab
Pretzels (the rare item of value with no value)
Raisins (worth even less than Pretzels, which have no value. I think this presents some "divide by zero" error, but it still hold true.)

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