People like a chip with a break point of about 4 pounds per square inch

blizzardIt has been a blizzardy couple of days. Michigan Tech closed yesterday at noon, and has been closed all day today. The blizzard of high winds and quite a bit of snow hit the Houghton area harder than it did out here. Alice made it home alright yesterday, although she had a few dicey moments in town getting the car going. Once she got on the main roads, things were pretty much fine. I think they kept things closed in town today mostly to give themselves an opportunity to clear away the snow without having all the cars in their way.

I found myself in Tapiola, about 4 miles from home, at around 9:00 last night. Since I was out with the truck and had finished up my business, I decided to drop by Karvakko’s Market for some junk food. I wound up talking with my friend at the counter for quite a while since the weather had made business was so slow. In the end, I purchased a large bag of Frito’s Potato Chips and took them home.

Alice and I don’t allow ourselves many of these snack foods. Perhaps because of that, there is a bit of a pent-up-demand going on. We dived into that bag of chips, and emerged with greasy salty lips, and a lump in our stomachs. Gosh they were good though.

But why don’t we allow ourselves more of these snacks? And why is it that among the many indulgences we could allow ourselves, that this one comes out near the top of the list. Today as I was perusing my Google News, I came across an article entitled, “The Extraordinary Science of Addictive Junk Food” in the New York Times Magazine. One sentence from the article struck me as so sad and funny at the same time that I used it for the title of this piece. It seems we’ve marshaled our best and brightest not to make us healthier, but to maximize profits by figuring out what combinations of ingredients make us want to grab another handful, aggressively positioning these items on supermarket shelves, and then standing back and watching the dollars roll in.

kitchenThere are many ways we could choose to organize ourselves to maximize our potential. It seems to me one of the great ironies of capitalism that “consumer spending” is such an important part of our economy. And that it doesn’t matter what we spend on, as long as we spend. A dollar is a dollar, whether it is spent on walnuts or potato chips. Kind of makes you think…

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