Wednesday, March 30, 2016

With a name like Smuckers

NPR had an interesting story the other day about the despair being felt in Newfoundland.  The hardy seafaring people of that eastern Canadian island like their mustard pickles, they do. I've never heard of putting up pickles like that; it turns out that it's a zesty side dish made with cucumbers and onions, pickled in mustard sauce along with turmeric and celery seed.

Newfoundlandians (Newfoundlers?) enjoy mustard pickles with lobster (that is prime lobster territory for those lucky folks!) and other dishes, and they are very fond of two brands, Habitant and Zest.  (We have Zest bath soap in the USA, but it does not go well with lobster.)  The good people over at Smuckers have made Habitant and Zest for years, but now they are ceasing production of mustard pickles, leading to panic in the streets.

As you might have heard in an Econ 101 class one sunny afternoon, there is such a thing as the law of supply and demand, and if more people demanded mustard pickles, the Canadian division of Smuckers would keep sending it to the grocery shelves of Newfoundland and everyone would be happy. I mean, if a jar of pickles is all it takes, that is.

That's just sound business practice; taking a loss just to continue to produce something that hardly anyone wants doesn't make sense. This explains why you can't find Martin Shkreli brand pretzels and snacks. 

Years ago I came down with a bad case of poison ivy, because my immunity to it had been used up in my rural childhood. There was a vaccine available at the time that restored my body's defenses against that dreaded itchmaker, but the vaccine is no longer made, because, as my dermatologist put it, the cost of research and testing to satisfy the FDA would far exceed whatever profits could be made from people who needed the vax.

My idea is to tie all this together and find a way to put poison ivy vaccine in mustard pickles. It's a win-win.

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