Complete Whimsy, Deficits, Game Theory, Individual v. Collective

Leggo My Eggo: Waffle Shortage Sending Shock Waves Throughout Country

Western Washington FloodsDuring the rainy season, flooding can strike fear into local communities. Dams can overflow, effecting the safety and use of public roads. Even worse, your home could be in grave danger if it rests near a body of water, or is built on a hill experiencing slides. These are serious concerns, particularly during dire economic times when local and state government budgets are in the tank. Raising public funding fast becomes a daunting task in order to deal with faltering dams, and other public challenges. Perhaps the only thing scarier than out-of-control government spending is the awesome destructive phenomena of nature, to use a term from FEMA’s “Are you Ready?” earthquake webpage. By the way, yes, I’m ready*. After Hurricane Katrina, the more insightful question is: are you?

In our advanced technological age, we have more warning time than ever before to detect weather events and earthquakes before they wreak havoc. We can identify weather systems which may cause hurricanes, tornados, tsunamis and floods, or measure real time seismic data to detect the initiation of an earthquake. Metaphorically speaking, we know when tectonic plates are shifting.

But no computer algorithm or breakthrough in nano-technology could prepare our species for this latest blow below the belt: Eggo waffles will be rationed until mid-2010! Kellogg’s, the maker of these toaster delights, reported grocery stores will experience a shortage due to flooding of an Atlanta bakery during heavy October rains, as well as mechanical problems with equipment at its largest waffle facility in Tennessee. (1)

“We are working around the clock to restore Eggo store inventories to normal levels as quickly as possible,” said company spokesman Kris Charles in an e-mail. (1)

Remaining Eggo inventory will be rationed to stores across the country “based on historical percentage of business.” (1) Is that supposed to comfort me? I think it’s safe to say that when Eggos are rationed, you can throw all historical precedents out the window.

Kellogg's Eggo WafflesAmerican’s will have yet another opportunity to show their resolve. The U.S. is just coming out of a GDP recession, facing almost certain stagnant growth for some time, if not a double-dip recession. This point in history forces me to channel my inner FDR. In order to stimulate the economy, we must slaughter and burn a portion of current Eggo inventories. No, seriously, hear me out. Demand for Eggos will skyrocket in the coming months as faithful, unhealthy consumers rush to hoard the breakfast item. If we can ride this demand-pull inflation, and increase its magnitude by further rationing Eggos, the economy could get the stimulation it sorely needs. This doesn’t even take into account personal hoarding to re-sell on eBay, or other secondary marketplaces. And what if we were to outlaw Eggos about two months into this plan, creating a vibrant underground economy which would increase the velocity of money, and spur new consumption and investment? It’s a fool-proof plan sure to turn a negative into a negative. Also, it should be adequately difficult to quantify the results, making it easier to deem a “success”.

Get your Costco cards ready. Godspeed to us all until mid-2010.

*I choose not to live in high hazard earthquake zones
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(1) Leggo your Eggo: There’s a waffle shortage – CNNMoney.com, retrieved November 18th, 2009, http://money.cnn.com/2009/11/18/news/companies/eggo_waffle_shortage/index.htm

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