Economics Haikus

Justin here. One of the blogs I have set up in my Google Reader is Freakonomics at the New York Times. They follow all the cardinal rules of blogging: short, funny, plenty of pictures, frequent but not too frequent posts.

A few weeks ago they asked readers to submit entries into an economic haiku contest (9th grade english refresher: poem with 3 lines each containing 5, 7, and 5 syllables in each respective line.) They had over 300 entries, but see the final six here.

I submitted the following haiku in honor of Jon’s (his name at work) aka my Dad’s (name on the weekend) 58th birthday today:

My Dad’s Lesson to Me:
Speed, Price, Quality
You can get one, maybe two
But never all three.

— Posted by Justin

If my poem doesn’t make sense, don’t feel too bad; it’s only because “Speed Price or Quality” wasn’t said to you at least once per day as a kid. Like sitting at a slow gas pump because they are selling it for $0.05 and all the pumps are being used. Or when a fast (yet expensive) car would zoom by us on the road. Or when our pizza (fast and inexpensive) was delivered only partially cooked.

I carried on the tradition. Millie has always shopped at Wal-Mart, and when she comes home after waiting in the checkout line for 45 minutes, she says “Speed, Price or Quality” through her teeth. That was, of course, until the quality started to go south, and she decided it wasn’t worth it to just get “Price”. So she started shopping at Harris Teeter where she gained speed and quality, yet gave up price. And then she started clipping coupons, thus giving up speed and gaining back some price . . . and on and on the endless pursuit of all three.

Fascinating how that works.

The closest product I’ve found that has all three is Pastabilities, a restaurant in Greensboro with the best bread and pasta in town, fast service, wonderful ambiance, and a dinner for two with tip is under $20. Of course, usually when you find all three, prices go up, so get it while you can!

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