Monday, July 24, 2023

You think what I'm eating is decadent? I'm subsidizing your desert.

 You've got to think that the difference in meal cost between steak and eggs at a diner, and whatever crap breakfast everyone else is eating isn't that significant to begin with.  I mean, how much do blueberry pancakes and home fries cost compared to my petite sirloin?    That being the case I have a hard time ditching this sensitivity that I'm being decadent, or flexing, or whatever the modern language is.

I had a waitress reinforce this once by mocking me for ordering steak and eggs frequently, so it's not entirely in my head.

The thing here is, and I've written about this before, is that there are some health externalities to that "cheaper" breakfast.  These health externalities are being paid for by everyone with health insurance.  The cost of all of that obesity is averaged across the whole population, healthy or unhealthy.

So to that waitress who made fun of me -- I'm in effect paying for the guy who waddled to his seat, sat down with a huff, sucks air through his mouth for the effort, and orders a shit-tonne of carbs, and wolfs them down with maple syrup on top.  So by extension, I'm paying your salary twice, once for my meal, and once for his.

This is obviously emotional, but it's also economic.   The $10 price difference in the meals might be the difference between needing to be on exogenous insulin for the rest of your life or not.  It might mean the difference between being able to conceive without help, or between staying healthy and having to engage the services of a cardiologist or cerebral vascular specialist.  All that shit is expensive.

There are other externalities too -- imagine the societal cost to everyone running around with low energy and depression because of their diets?  Imagine the loss of productivity when a huge majority of workers are eating carbs for lunch and then fighting the need for an extended nap at 1pm.  Imagine the kids growing up essentially latch-key because their parents are too metabolically wasted after work to give them any attention.

People say, "oh, I can't afford to eat like that, you must be really rich."  I was going to end this post with a cliche like "can you really afford not to", but that seems unnecessarily glib.  It's frustrating to simultaneously have no views on my writing, but walk through the world with eyes wide people who complain that the world has gone to shit, but can't see that a large part of the problem is on the plate in front of them.  Or the sack in their car.  Or the plastic cup with the Starbucks "classic" (sugar syrup) and caramel sauce.