I have been watching this scene with the deconstructed doubles from Fat Boy and St. Christopher’s gas station with great interest, not because I have any interest in doubles, far from it, I don’t eat it unless I’m drunk and there is nothing else available…and it’s free. No, my interest is purely from an economics stand point.
At first I was surprised that people would be willing to pay $30 for 4 doubles in a plastic container. I mean simple arithmetic would tell you that paying $7.50 for 1 doubles for a mark up of 50% makes no sense. Yes you might counter with the argument that you have to pay for the packaging, distribution network and convenience but 50% seems excessive to me. I mean that is the profit margin I would expect on the products sold by Escobar or El Chapo. Although some people would argue that doubles has the same power over them.
Which brings me to my point. To me, the fact that people would be willing to leave their house, risk their lives and pay a 50% mark-up suggests two possibilities; 1. people are so desperate for some semblance of normalcy and this doubles in plastic represents some fraction of that or 2. the demand for doubles is inelastic so no matter the price plenty people will buy it. Option 2 is way more interesting for this blog.
When we speak about elasticity we’re not talking about the consistency of the bara, although you could use some people bara to lasso corbeaux on the Beetham. No, in micro-economics, price elasticity of demand refers to the change in the quantity demanded in response to a change in price. If demand is very responsive to changes in price then we say it has a high price elasticity. If demand changes very little or not at all then we say it has a low price elasticity or is inelastic. This explains why when the government needs funds they increase taxes on goods with inelastic demand such as cigarettes or alcohol. Which is also explains why some soca artistes could charge anything they want for tickets to their concert and others have to attach theirs to a White Lily milk box as part of a promotion.
Now if I were to provide advice to doubles men out there I would tell them that if people were willing to pay $7.50 for gas station doubles then they should be willing to pay the same price for street doubles. When the lockdown is over they should form a cartel similar to OPEC to regulate doubles prices. The could call it the Bara Assemblers and Retailers Association or BARA. They could make $5 doubles available to the needy but everyone else pays the same $7.50 they were willing to pay for Fat Boy plastic gas station doubles. If any vendors decide to step out of line and charge $5, the BARA cartel would undercut them and charge $3 until they either fell in line or went out of business…like a proper cartel nah, except without the violence or Danny Trejo.
What? Doh blame me for doubles prices going up. Is allyuh set the precedent. I just providing some free, unsolicited economic advice. BARA link meh.