The other day I went to one of those places that make burgers in a hurry, to order a cheeseburger meal. I don’t want to mention their name because I don’t want to be liable for defamation, but this place in one of those In and Out places that are really fast. I noticed they had a signed posted at the cash register that they are not using any tomatoes in their burgers as a precaution because of the U.S. tomato recall (even though their tomatoes were not from any of the suspected areas in question). After I made my order I noticed the price of my meal without tomatoes was exactly the same as ever before. I asked the cashier if I was entitled to a reduced price since I was not getting any tomatoes.
Cashier: “No sir, it’s the same price.”
It was passed 4 PM and I had no lunch yet, and I was not about to go somewhere else.
Me: “How do you know price of a burger with tomatoes and without tomatoes is the same?”
Cashier: “That’s what the register says, sir”
Me: “I know. I can see the total. That’s not what I mean. How did your company figure out that they should not reduce the price of burgers without tomatoes?”
Cashier: “I don’t know sir. Would you like to talk to the manager?”
Me: “Oh no. I was just wondering.”
I paid the cashier and moved to the side and waited for my order. By the time I got my food and sat down to eat, a lady approached my table and introduced herself as the shift manager and asked if she might help me.
Me: “I was wondering what happens to the money that is collected for tomatoes that we don’t get to eat?”
I am sure the cashier had already briefed her before she approached me, but I don’t think she was expecting to be asked about what happens to the money.
Manager: “Well sir, the money is deposited in the bank everyday.”
Me: “No, I mean isn’t that extra profit for the company? They don’t have to buy millions of dollars worth of tomatoes but still collect the money from consumers for it.
The whole exchange was awkward. I didn’t mean to be nagging about pennies. It was just an interesting economical situation where price of a commodity did not seem to be worth what it should be, like how bottled water is highly over priced, sometimes more expensive than petroleum.
Manager: “We are concerned about public health, sir”
I love how polite these people are. In Iran by now they would told me “ageh khoshetoon nemiyad lotfan az yeh jaayeh degeh bekharid.”
Me: “Really! That’s really interesting because I have a blog about health issues. I usually write about personal illnesses like kidney stones, and rectal exams, but it would be interesting if I wrote about salmonella outbreak from eating tomatoes.”
Manager: “Are you a doctor?”
Me: “Oh no. I am just a sick person.”
Manager: “Is there anything else I can do for you, sir.”
Me: “I was wondering if, when there was tomatoes available, do you charge extra for extra tomatoes?”
Manager: “No sir, we never have and we never will.”
That’s very odd, don’t you think? It’s as if tomatoes have no value. Whether they give you extra tomatoes or they don’t give you any the price of a burger stays the same. Yet, in some super markets tomatoes are sold as much as $3.99 per pound. That’s like a quarter per slice.
I’ll never figure out how capitalism works.
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