The Price of being Pensive

I read this morning, in the August 3, 2017 online English version of Corriere della Sera about a German man named Roland Siedler, who made a habit of eating and drinking at multiple fine restaurants and bars in Florence, Italy and then refusing to pay. His excuse: “Italians pay. I’m German, I don’t pay.” He was arrested multiple times but, upon his release, returned to his practices of scrounging fine food from fine establishments. Siedler’s craven disregard for decency finally caught up with him.  He was sentenced to two years and two months in Sollicciano prison, after which he will be expelled from Italy.

After unsuccessfully attempting to read the original Italian version of the online paper (though I could make out a bit of the reporting), my wife woke up and I finished the breakfast I had started much earlier. Here’s a photos of it. In case you’re wondering, it’s a cheese omelet topped with five-pepper salsa (with a sprinkling of okra taco seasoning, which will be the subject of a future post),. In addition, there’s sliced peaches, blueberries, a sliced radish, and Canadian bacon. Thanks to the presence of ground coriander seed in the seasoning, the omelet’s flavor was (to me) a tad reminiscent of Indian cuisine. I told my wife the plate reminded me of a breakfast served to me by two little old ladies—one English and one Mexican—who jointly owned a little B&B in a village on the outskirts of Mumbai. She laughed, knowing full well I had never been to India. Her laugh, which sounded Canadian to me, made me think one of the two women should have been Canadian, inasmuch as the plate included Canadian bacon. But the Canadian bacon we buy is obviously processed in some strange way that’s probably not Canadian at all. Its shape is artificially round. And I wonder whether the pork is sliced from a whole piece of meat or, instead, cut from a loaf of meat chunks pressed together and “glued” with some form of animal fat and/or protein. I’ll have to explore that. I’d really rather be eating something natural; I want any flesh of an innocent animal I put in my mouth to be unsullied by artificial deformation and unnatural trimming.

Our conversation then moved to the mug from which she was drinking her tea. I told her I thought it was quite attractive. “I paid $3.25 for it,” she responded, proud of the seventy-five percent discount price.

“You could buy a lot of bubble gum for that much money,” I said.

“Are you sure? Bubble gum’s not a penny a piece any more.”

That made me think how important pricing decisions can be to producers. If you sell something for a penny, your only choice when faced with a need to increase prices due to increased costs is to, at minimum, double your prices. But then I thought, no, you could increase your price by one hundred percent, but give more for the money. Like four pieces for a nickel. That’s still a twenty-five percent increase, but it’s the best you can do under the circumstances.

Today is the day of a total eclipse of the sun. Here in Hot Springs Village, the eclipse won’t be total; it will be less than ninety percent but sufficient, I’m sure, to be a stunning experience. The partial eclipse begins at 11:46 local time and reaches maximum coverage at 1:16 p.m.; the partial eclipse ends at 2:45 p.m. In between waiting for and reflecting on the eclipse, I’ll sweep gravel from my driveway and contemplate what life might be life living alone on a lovely, cool, comfortable planet a thousand light years away, with nothing but ice cream and Indian food to keep me company.

About John Swinburn

"Love not what you are but what you may become."― Miguel de Cervantes
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