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Cheap Eats: Part I

November 9, 2009

“Dude, look at these!  They’re only $2.50!”
“Oh my god.  We should get five of those.”

I wandered down the frozen foods aisle to see what Austin and Blake were so enthusiastically pulling out of the freezer.  Frozen Tombstone pizzas.  The pile in their cart resembled the Leaning Tower of Pizza.

“$2.50?  For a whole pizza?  Aren’t you guys the least bit weirded out by the fact that you can buy a whole pizza for only $2.50?  I mean, these companies are selling whole pizzas at $2.50 and still turning a profit.”

“Well, the ingredients are really cheap.  It’s not like it’s a high quality pizza.”

“But doesn’t that make you nervous?  How do you know how good this meat is?”

“I don’t.  But it’s cheap.  And they’re so good.”

The guys left Wal-mart that day satisfied and excited to eat their cheap pizza finds and once again cost trumped quality.  The existence of CAFOs, government subsidies, and industrial food production too far from their daily lives to illicit any change in their food choices. On the other hand, the presence of the dollar, or the lack of it, made a very real difference in their eating habits.

Reading “The Psychology of Environmental Problems” by Deborah DuNann Winter helped me better understand why that was.  When humans were still hunter-gatherers, survival was their main focus.  Their perceptual systems evolved in a way so that only the most sudden, urgent, and current issues were on their mind.  Big-picture or long-term ideas very rarely, if ever, entered their thoughts.  The evolution of our psyche plays a large role in how we perceive and act on environmental issues that don’t directly effect us.

Therefore, when the Dollar Menu was introduced, we flooded fast food restaurants with our George Washingtons, eager to “indulge” in such a deal without hesitation.  And yes I will admit, I too have passed through the drive thru for a McChicken Sandwich.  Very few of us questioned how they ever managed to make food that cheap.

So how exactly did Tombstone sell pizzas for $2.50?  How do we get double cheeseburgers for $1?

I asked a couple people at school why food is so cheap.  Here are some of their answers:

While some people had pretty good guesses, others had no idea whatsoever.  So why is it that food is so cheap?  And what can we do about it?

Tune into Part II of this post for answers!  In the meantime…why do YOU think food is so cheap?

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One Comment leave one →
  1. November 12, 2009 5:20 pm

    It’s so cheap sometimes…because its not real food. :)

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