Soda Buyback Program Offers Veggies for Cans of Coke, Opportunities for Arbitrage


In New York last week, anti-soda campaigning reached a new level of point-missing and farmer's market fetishism:

In a bid to fight obesity and sugar-related diseases, the Alliance of Healthier NY hosted a program to buy back soda and carbonated soft drinks in the afternoon on Wednesday at Brooklyn East NY, New Lots Family Centre. Families are able to exchange these drinks which are termed as unhealthy for food vouchers and gift certificates for fresh vegetables and fruits….They can use these vouchers at the city farmer's market.

I'm sure it was all in the service of "awareness raising." Which is fair enough. But the program doesn't make a ton of sense. It's modeled on firearms buyback programs periodically run by police departments to get guns off the street. But guns are durable goods; they are expensive and somewhat difficult to acquire. Removing one gun from circulation might theoretically have an impact over time. But sodas are everywhere, and they are cheap and easy to get. In fact, setup of the program suggests some serious opportunities for arbitrage.

The Associated Supermarkets a couple of blocks from the trade-in site has a sale going:

And here's the deal the soda buyback team is offering:

They will buy back 1 can of carbonated drink for $2 voucher, and a bottle of 2 litres for $6 voucher.

Looks like an opportunity to scam from serious free kale and Swiss chard!

Of course, my arbitrage suggestion comes too late—the soda buy-back program happened last week—and it's sort of ridiculous, but let's just call it awareness raising about basic economics.

For lots more on New York soda fights, go here and here.


NEXT: More Classy Commentary from ACORN's Bertha Lewis

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  1. Cash for Cola?

  2. Seagrams 2 for $3?
    At that price I might actually drink it.

  3. Last night on PBS (frontline) they had a program about how the poor have to — just have to — buy fast food to feed theri families. On person said it’s cheaper because they can get a double cheese burger for a dollar, but a head of broccoli costs two dollars. And I though yes, the brocolly costs twice as much but it weighs several times what the burger does.

    I live well now, but years ago I was poor so I know how to eat cheap. You can buy a 5 lb sack of potatoes for $3 and it will feed you well fo at least three days. Just ask the pre-1847 Irish. Healthy food is pretty inexpensive.

    1. brocolly? Jeebus!

    2. Cabbage is dirt cheap, and is very good for you. As are carrots, parsnips, turnips, and other root vegetables.

      It’s very easy to eat healthily on the cheap. But you have to know what healthy eating is in the first place.

      1. Pasta. Sauce. Eat.

        I did that for years when the money wasn’t flowing. Now I eat larks’ tongues, otters’ noses, ocelot spleens, wrens’ livers, badgers’ spleens, otters’ noses, and other food selected merely for its gratuitous expense.

        1. Make your own sauce, though. None of that jarred stuff.

          1. If you are truly hardcore, you make your own pasta as well. But you’re too much of a candyass for that.

            1. I’m smoking my own bacon and pastrami as we speak. I’ll be ready for the Thunder Dome by time it hits.

            2. Same with pizza. Homemade is really cheap. And if you aren’t working, you have plenty of time to kneed the dough.

              1. Flour. Water. Yeast. Salt. Not very complicated, is it.

                1. Majdara: Arab dish made of rice, lentils and onions. Dirt, dirt cheap (esp. if you buy a big ol’ sack of rice), and absolutely delicious.

                  1. Add some chickpeas and it becomes Kushari

            3. Actually, that’s bull. Homemade pasta is good for some things; dried pasta is good for others.

              My problem at the time wasn’t just money, it was time to spend on cooking. I imagine that’s a common issue, especially for poorer parents working multiple jobs.

              1. Lack of time? Two words: Crock Pot. Throw ingredients in, turn on low, go to work.

                1. Mainlanders — bah.

                  Brown rice is even cheaper than pasta or potatoes per serving, and is healthy if supplemented with some veggies and protein.

        2. What??? No wolf’s nipple?

          1. Uh, we’re using it?

          2. No pickled porcupine pancreas.

        3. Its the food stamps that let you eat that way, isn’t it, Pro? You can tell us.

          1. Yes, without Roman Food Stamps, my in-house salary would be inadequate for such things. Well, it’s not so much the salary that’s the problem but the fifty children.

          2. Fortunately, El Pollo Loco on the corner of Alvarado and Temple in L.A. now accepts food stamps.

        4. larks’ tongues

          in aspic, I assume.

      2. Many years ago, I worked as a supermarket cashier in a fairly poor neighborhood, it was frightening to see what regularly came down the belt.

        When they ran short on cash and had to pull items out of the order, the Kool-Aid and Sunny D was the last thing to go back. Meat, veggies, back they go!

        The nutritional pamphlets freely available at the end of the register rarely needed refilling.

        1. One cannot survive without one’s bug juice, JW. God, I hate bug juice.

        2. A few years back I tried shopping at the “urban” supermarket that was slightly closer my house as its upscale competitor.

          Abandoned that after my first trip when I saw a mother tell her child to put back the juice and buy Kool-Ade instead; mom’s cart was full of beer.

          Realize this will cause howling attacks from the trolletariat, but some people deserve the misery they endure. Shame their kids have to suffer, too.

          1. slightly closer TO my house THAN its upscale competitor.

            Stupid fingers.

          2. Shame their kids have to suffer, too.

            It’s the only way they’ll learn.

        3. Meat and Veggies aren’t essential ingredients in a Brass Monkey. Just sayin.

      3. Yup. One of the things I made was easy and cheap.

        In a large skillet, brown a pound of hamburger, cover it with a head of shredded cabbage, cover that with a can of tomato soup (+ 1/4 can of water). Cover and simmer until cabbage is tender, but not overcooked. Makes about six huge servings at a cost of about $1.30 / serving.

        1. Dude, if you want to go really cheap, just beans, rice, onion, cabbage, and tomato gives you a complete protein and tastes pretty good if you aren’t culinarily retarded. It’s really, really simple to eat healthily and cheaply.

          But you have to want to.

          1. “”But you have to want to.””

            That’s the key.

            You can make a quick pasta with or without a jar of Prego (or whatever).

            Saute some garlic, onions, and red bell pepper in olive oil, dump your favorite sauce (if you have one). Works well. I quit using the jar sauce and now I cook a few tomatos, peel them, and add that to the mix for a hybrid oil/tomato sauce. Tastes really good.

            There really are cheaper ways to cook than fast foods. Which, in NYC, isn’t that cheap.

            1. If you want to know how to make great spagetti sauce yourself it’s simple:

              Saute some minced garlic in olive oil. Throw in a little fresh basil. Add 1 can of diced tomatoes and (optional) 1 can of plain tomato sauce. Add whatever other spices and ingredients you like. Cheaper and tastes better than Prego.

              Personally, I like throwing in some white wine and simmeering that for about 20 minutes.

              Considering how easy it is, I am now amazed so many people buy Prego.

      4. I made a giant batch of awesome split pea soup with ham yesterday for about $4.* That includes the peas, carrots, celery, garlic and onion. It isn’t that difficult.

        *Full disclosure: The ham bone was a frozen leftover from Easter.

        1. The most expensive part of tasty cheap food is the spices. My split pea features cajun spices from my most recent trip to New Orleans and Old Bay Seasoning, which if applied in huge quantities like I do can cost more than the other raw ingredients.

          Merely good split pea costs less than Teh Awesome stuff.

          1. Yeah. I didn’t mention the saffron. Or the truffles, for that matter.

            1. OK I read 1/3 of these comments and now I’m starving

              Need to go get a burger or something.

      5. “But you have to know what healthy eating is in the first place.”

        That’s why I support government educational efforts in this area.

        1. I’m going to stab you in the head with dried pasta for that remark.

          1. I guess we should have voluntary charities formed around promoting healthy eating to provide that info, and they will be able to compete with private vendors advertising to get people to by fast foods.


            1. Nobody thinks McDonalds is good for you. I don’t think education is the major problem.

          2. Fusilli Jerry MNG?

            And MNG, you can’t educate people who don’t want to learn. The public school system is a perfect example of that.

            1. I’m not for making such education mandatory, just putting it out there for those who may be so inclined to use it.

                1. I don’t click links, can you just cite?

                  1. Pretty much anywhere on the interwebz

              1. MNG, how is this education not already out there? There’s pamphlets, websites, don’t know about PSA’s but there used to be a lot of food pyramid crap interrupting the cartoons when I was a kid.

                1. Pamphlets, websites, not sourced from the gov or using gov figures?

                  1. Much of the information is published by the government. So what?

                1. JW
                  You have heard of this thing called the “digital divide” right? So showing how easily accessed it is on the web may not help your case as much as you think…

                  1. Hmmmm…Maybe they can’t get to that info on their ever-present cell phones. Or borrow a friend’s computer. Or go to the library. Or get one from a charity.

                    Maybe, just maybe, they could access this information in this new-ish technology, called *books*. There might be some of those around in the form of magazines or pamphlets.

                    1. None of these may be readily accessible to the poor. As you like it things cost money, few people provide them for free. therefore those with less will have less access. This is why it is good for government, with no profit motive, to fill in here.

                  2. Ya know, I was having a tough time believing that you were clueless enough to be taking the side that there isn’t any nutritional information availble to the poor.

                    I mean you’d have to be an idiot or a complete asshole to be dragging that dead cat around for this long, right?

                  3. Public libraries have internet access for patrons. And reference librarians to help people look stuff up.

                    The whole point that I and others have been making is that the resources are out there. Many, though not all, poor people simply don’t make any effort to better their own conditions.

                    1. “Much of the information is published by the government. So what?”
                      “Public libraries have internet access for patrons. And reference librarians to help people look stuff up.”

                      And public libraries are usually decried by libertarians. So I’m afraid you can’t resort to them. Because you oppose them.

                    2. No, libertarians generally think libraries are a good thing, they just want to end the subsidized government ones so private libraries can thrive.

                      It’s hard to compete against someone giving away stuff stolen from others — * free * is a hard price point to outcompete, even if that free is due to looting others.

                    3. Oh, so the PRIVATE libraries would make this info widely accessible to the poor. Because that is such a good business model, providing services for those who cannot pay.

                    4. I’m sure those wretched poor have never been to a blockbuster either.

                    5. Why, yes, private libraries do and would. Google “Enoch Pratt Free Library”.

                      Epic fail, MNG.

                    6. The “charity of strangers” argument.

                    7. The “charity of strangers” argument.
                      Andrew Carnegie was kinda charitable

                    8. Epic fail.

                      And public libraries are usually decried by libertarians.

                      Nice strawman. I don’t believe I’ve ever written anything opposing public libraries, here, but challenge you to find where I have.

                      So I’m afraid you can’t resort to them. Because you oppose them.


                    9. Tonio
                      Can you not scroll down and see the many denunciations of public libraries on THIS VERY THREAD? Yeah, what a strawman that was!

                    10. And public libraries are usually decried by libertarians. So I’m afraid you can’t resort to them. Because you oppose them.

                      Sure the libraries are bad because they have to BUILD ROADS TO GET TO THEM!!!

                  4. The one that even the government has called largely mythological. Yeah, I’ve heard of it.

        2. How is government going to educate them, exactly, if we rule out schools and the internet and anything written (which wouldn’t help the illiterate)? 15-second TV ads?

          Besides, education can’t cure lazy (I say this as someone who is personally too damn lazy to cook anything that takes more effort than heating in the microwave — fortunately I have a domestic servant to keep me eating tolerably well).

    3. You could pretty much live your whole life eating beans and rice and a few green veggies here and there, which tastes good and probably costs < $1 for a full meal if you buy dried beans and big bags of rice.

      As much as I can’t stand going to the place, what inner city poor people really need is Walmart and similar places so they can buy inexpensive ingredients and make real food.

      1. But, but, they’re big and boxy!

        1. And they hire darkies!

          1. and don’t pay a living wage.

            1. At least old people die in the two-hour prescription line. That’s always entertaining.

          2. Yes, they do, which is why whenever I’m at a Walmart, I grab the PA mic and ask them all to leave the store.

            1. I go to Target. Best…decision…ever.

              1. (For my meds)
                Not the old people.

      2. You could pretty much live your whole life eating beans and rice and a few green veggies here and there, which tastes good and probably costs < $1 for a full meal if you buy dried beans and big bags of rice.

        No shit. Dried pinto beans are about 7 cents a pound. Any kind of dried bean is

        I regularly cook indian, which is what, well, indians, live on … dirt cheap. Lots of beans. Lots of rice. Veggies. Some cheese, milk, cream. Flatbread. Yum.

        Even the beans imported from india are dirt cheap.

    4. Dear Lord deliver my people from the food desert..

    5. On person said it’s cheaper because they can get a double cheese burger for a dollar, but a head of broccoli costs two dollars.

      Where in fuck-all can you get a double cheeseburger for $1?

  4. But you have to know what healthy eating is in the first place.

    Obviously, the solution is a massive, federally-funded healthy cooking education program. Obviously.

    1. I like your thinking! Would you like to be hired on as the 218th member of my staff?

    2. Why is that so crazy? Not everyone knows about this, and many were raised in families that fostered such ignorance. Why not provide reliable guidance for those people if they want it?

      1. People operate electronics without government education programs. And, let us note for the record that the government doesn’t have a great record on promoting nutrition, as certain factors other than food quality enter into the educational literature. Big Corn! Big Wheat! Big Influence!

        1. How do you see operating electronics as analogous to buying, preparing and eating foods? They both are “stuff we do?”

          1. Actually, I see it as something more complicated than simple nutrition. Do you really think poor people have no clue that a Big Mac is fattening?

            1. I think most do, but I think many are not very aware of a lot of basic info that might lead to a healthier lifestyle. Also, such messages get drowned out by appealling to emotion ads by incredible factors (100 to 1, etc)

              1. So, it’s not possible that some people are just too stupid to reach and that money spent trying to do so is wasted?

                1. Sure. Should we stop trying to assist those who are not because of the people you mention?

                  1. At what point do you stop assisting people? And I’m talking about the point of diminishing returns, here?

                    1. A fair question. But this is not like assistance where the other side doesn’t have to have the right attitude to use it (a welfare check). Many will foolishly ignore the resource, but some deserving few will have access to it. I’m willing to go a ways to help such people out, minority or not.

              2. Really, I think you don’t give enough credit to people. They may make foolish decisions, but that doesn’t make them stupid.

                And the idea that advertising overcomes common sense so completely seems unsupportable.

                1. “the idea that advertising overcomes common sense so completely seems unsupportable.”

                  Billions are spent on this very premise every year. They are on to something.

                  1. Billions are spent in influencing decisions, not destroying the ability of people to make decisions. Leftists are so nuts on this issue.

                    1. And you’re nuts to think that influence is safely ignored. It means something and matters, otherwise billions wouldn’t be spent on it.

                2. You’ve never been chained to a table with Count Chocula.

      2. Why not provide reliable guidance for those people if they want it?

        Anyone who wants it can get it now.

        Anyone who doesn’t want it will continue to ignore it even if it comes from the government.

      3. Why not provide reliable guidance for those people if they want it?


        Obviously, what we need is a large and expensive government program that will force the poor to read and use the available information.

        1. Great idea. We’ll call them public libraries.

          1. Which most here say they are opposed to!

            1. See above, about using for-profit private libraries as soon as the government quits running socialized libraries funded by looting others.

              1. See my reply directly below the point you reference.

            2. And see above about the Enoch Pratt Free Library. It was founded by a wealthy philanthropist, using his own money. In 1886. That’s right, an Evil Capitalist(tm) in The Gilded Age (boo, hiss).

              From Wankipedia, but still true: Pratt intended his gift to establish a library that “shall be for all, rich and poor without distinction of race or color, who, when properly accredited, can take out the books if they will handle them carefully and return them”.

              And in case you missed it, it’s a private, FREE (no fees charged), library.

              1. And this kind of thing is common enough that the poor around the nation could rely on this “kindness of strangers?”

      4. I’d like to point you to JW’s post above. Specifically:

        The nutritional pamphlets freely available at the end of the register rarely needed refilling.

        The US government has spent millions if not billions trying to get children to exercise and families to eat right. Ever hear of the “food pyramid?” Plenty of non-profits have done similar things, including community gardens. The reason we ridicule these massive federal campaigns is that, despite the good intentions, they’re ineffective and a tremendous waste of resources. If you’re going to spend millions of dollars drawing up pyramids that your target audience won’t look twice at, why don’t you just use that money to give them vegetables?

        1. Where is it, other than government sources, so easily found?

        2. The solution is simple. We just have to sell all of our fancy pens and give the money to the poor.

          BTW, the Left and the Right each argue that Jesus would have been in their camp. You rarely ever hear Libertarians make that claim.

          1. I’ll give up my Waterman when you pry it from my cold dead hand.

            Incidentally, IIRC Jesus loathed hypocrites more than anyone else. So pretty much any political philosophy, from that perspective, is screwed. Very, very difficult to find a pure adherent of any given political philosophy.

            1. “difficult to find a pure adherent of any given political philosophy” Interesting conclusion. I guess you really aren’t a libertarian then?

      5. I completely agree with MNG. And if that doesn’t work, we can just outlaw salt.

        1. And I disagree with that. So, there goes your caricature brother!

          1. Then you are part the problem you nihlist libertarian scumbag.

      6. Go for it, MNG.

        Just don’t force other people to do it.

        1. I’m just for government funding of educational campaigns, not telling people they can’t choose salty foods. Government exist to promote the general welfare and this would be a good way to do so with minimum coercion.

          1. I’m just for government funding of educational campaigns

            Bzzt. That’s force. What if I don’t want to pay for it?

            1. Well, that’s another debate: voluntary government is the unicorn here, we can discuss it as a model if you want.

          2. The government ALREADY has these educational campaigns — run by big agribusiness who have coopted it and are using it to push their products, which aren’t necessarily healthy.

            And those fucking government-run campaigns can and will include the no-salt nannyism or the no trans-fat nannysism or other dreck, because those are the perverse incentives and perverse people who will be drawn to such programs and their funding.

            1. Don’t forget, we also had Big Government at various times declaring ketchup to be a vegetable, or yogurt to be meat.

              1. Little government (with direction from big government) can be even more obtuse. Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution is a reality TV show about a British chef attempting to bring decent food to a small town school system. In one particularly delicious outbreak of government bureaucracy, the county administrator wouldn’t allow him to serve his 7 vegetable pasta dish, because they didn’t have enough vegetables. Meanwhile, they served hamburgers and french fries to the kids because fries counted as a vegetable and the salad that nobody was taking counted as a vegetable. They showed plate after brown plate going out of the line with a plain burger and a pile of fries and not a hint of color. The administrator said she didn’t see anything wrong with that. Cut to a picture of his highly colorful vegetable pasta dish, obviously full of different vegetables. Cut to her looking at him disapprovingly as he stands open-mouthed. Really fun.

                Actually, I highly recommend this show for this website’s crowd. In another stupendous moment, Jamie tried to put out a freshly cooked meal in the elementary school. The school cooks and administrators huddled together and voiced an objection: we don’t have enough silverware for this. Seems they only give the kids a spoon. They were absolutely aghast at the notion of providing knives and forks to elementary school kids. Jamie repeatedly asked them, “are you kidding me?” and they were equally perplexed. The principal finally asked him, “do they give knives and forks to the kids in England?”

                “Of course!” came the reply. The principal actually asked for a reference on that. He really couldn’t believe it. He didn’t seem young enough to be that naive. I mean, how old do you have to be to have been given knives and forks when you were in school? They can’t have killed that off before the mid-nineties.

                1. Oh, another neat government funded nutritional tidbit from the show…. He tried to get the chocolate and strawberry milk removed from the lunch line, because they have more sugar than a bottle of pop. He just wanted the kids to have regular milk.

                  He did it without permission one day and the kids all just drank regular milk. No problem. When he returned to the school, the county administrators had ordered the return of the chocolate and strawberry milk. Their reasoning? The kids will drink more milk if it has sugar in it, so it’s healthier for them. Gotta love it.

                  And people wonder why there’s a movement to replace public schools with vouchers…

          3. It will wind up being a bad way of not really accomplishing what you wish it would, using coercion.

            Instead of the no-coercion method of people spending a few minutes on the intertubes, or a few hours reading books, to get reliable information free of coercion.

            1. Well see prole you’re against anything government does because it does it with compelled taxes. And you believe in governments that are fee based.

              And unicorns too I’m sure.

              But if we accept that government via compelled support often means an increase in the quality of life and life choices of human beings and get away from libertarian fundamentalism (coercion always bad![except when it isn’t {when it’s anti-coercion coercion!}]) then you can see that an education campaign to help those citizens who are seeking it is a low cost, low coercion way to actually help citizens help themselves.

      7. How come all these health advocates can’t just start a big charity program to go into inner cities and teach free cooking classes? Why even bother lobbying the government? Just do it.

        I would. I’d volunteer to teach a free cooking class to poor people who want to learn how to eat healthy for cheap.

  5. Haven’t we and our predecessors been eating for billions of years now? Surely we’ve got it down.

    1. Technically, a few hundred thousand as humans. If we wanna go back to primates, something around a million. I’m not comfortable analogizing our nutritional savvy with ameoba though.

      1. Don’t be ashamed of your unicellular ancestors. They made you who you are!

        1. Only you could make me feel like a creationist prolib

  6. Cooking requires effort. Why go to the store, pick out some veggies, take it home, prep it, cook it and then spend 10 minutes chewing it when you can buy a burger made out of Argentinian slaughterhouse sweepings and oil-based cheese food that you can gulp down with 40 grams of dissolved corn syrup and phosphoric acid?

    Healthy food is not about expense, it’s about effort… a commodity whose absence is more a defining factor in poverty than what color you are or where you were born.

    1. And a shockingly large number of people just don’t know how to cook.

      1. And a shockingly large number of people have palates about as refined as the moles on NutraSweet’s ass. Don’t ask me how I know about those, by the way.

      2. This fact never ceases to amaze me. How can people not be able to cook? It’s not hard to figure out if you are willing to experiment a bit.

        1. The Beeb ran a poll a little while ago and something like half of the Brits that responded didn’t know how to cook a potato. This confounds me because any method of heat application works with a potato. You can deep fry it, saute it, bake it, roast it, boil it, or whatever you’ve got. I mean, potato is apply heat until soft. All you can’t do with a potato is eat the fucker raw.

          1. I eat raw potato, you bigoted asshole. Not all of us are Mick fucks who boil potatoes and meat like the savages they are. Oh, look, I eat corned beef and potatoes and drink myself into oblivion! I wear green on St. Dipshit’s Day! I’m retarded but functional and I wear a hat and have a job and no one knows!

            1. Wow, struck a nerve, did I, Epi? Eat your raw potato, then, and be proud that you are not in any way shape or form like those filthy Micks who cook their food like the rest of the civilized world.

              1. FINALLY.

            2. A hat and a job? You’re that monkey from Futurama!?!

              1. Oh Ska, you must be a youngster. You don’t get Devo references. How sad.

                1. We shove the poles in the holes!

            3. Jesus Christ monkeyballs, what do I have to do to rile up the micks here? No reaction to this at all?

              1. Speaking as a half-irish second generation descendent of irish immigrants who may or may not have been involved in the irish war of indepdendence (account vary)…

                I could give a fuck about the bizarre tricket festival that is St. Patricks day. Never worn a shamrock in my life, or drunk a green beer, and would avoid like the plague anyone wearing one of those huge green hats.

            4. I for one deliberatly don’t wear green on St. Patrick’s Day. If possible, I wear orange.

              One of these years, I’m going to make a T-shirt with the “26+6=1” slogan on it, but with the 1 in the color scheme of the Union Jack. 🙂

              1. If possible, I wear orange.

                Heh…me too. My last name is of Irish descent (although my ancestors were British so they hopped across at some time). Plus, being protestant and all.

              2. Some non-Irish guy would likely slug you.

          2. Anyway, like I was sayin’, potato is the fruit of the sea. You can barbecue it, boil it, broil it, bake it, saute it. Dey’s uh, potato-kabobs, potato creole, potato gumbo. Pan fried, deep fried, stir-fried. There’s pineapple potato, lemon potato, coconut potato, pepper potato, potato soup, potato stew, potato salad, potato and potatoes, potato burger, potato sandwich. That- that’s about it.

            1. You left out potato spam spam spam spam spam spam spam spam spam spam spam spam spam spam spam spam spam spam spam spam spam spam spam spam spam spam spam spam spam spam spam potato.

            2. And that’s all he has to say about that.

          3. All you can’t do with a potato is eat the fucker raw.

            Actually, you can do that, too.

            1. In a pinch during a rain storm, if your wipers fail, you can rub a starchy raw potato on your windshield. Works just as annoyingly as Rain-X!

          4. Don’t forget microwaving, which is the prep method of choice for most people.

            1. I would kill myself before I nuked a tater.

      3. This despite the home ec, life skills, or whatever they’re now called courses in the public schools?

    2. Those lazy poor people!

      1. Finally, you begin to get a clue.

        1. And you don’t, that was mocking such thinking.

          1. Back to trolling, eh? Gaining individual joy for producing collective unhappiness in the rest of us. Selfishness at its peak. Ayn would be so proud.

            1. No, I just think your point wrong SF. Since about 97% of the population agrees with me you might want to come up with another strategy for debating such than accusing them of “trolling.”

              1. I refuse to participate in your disregard for your own philosophic principles. When you are ready to practice what you preach, give me a ring.

                1. Learning to debate those who disagree with you is fundamental to human flourishing and well being SF. I’m increasing your welfare whether you know it or not.

                  And I get a kick out of spanking you.

                  1. My turn MNG, my turn!!

                  2. You poor, poor husk of a man.

                    But I do commend you for the self-reinforcing nature of your delusion.

          2. [golf clap]

          3. Beneath evry wave of comedy is an ocean of truth.

            I have worked with the poor for years and guess what, unless they are immigrants, they are disproportionately lazy.

            1. Cause or effect?

              And, here’s why I get to say “correlation ain’t causation.”

              1. Cause or effect?

                And, here’s why I get to say “correlation ain’t causation.”

                Right, because laziness could never lead to becoming or remaining poor. Moron.

                1. But I did not deny that. I merely suggested the causal arrow can reasonably be thought to run the other way? Didn’t catch that, eh moron?

                2. ^ Thank you.

                  1. That was at Brian. MNG, are you saying that poverty in America causes laziness? Have you ever worked with the poor? I don’t mean manning a soup kitchen on Thanksgiving, but actually spent years working with them directly. They really do tend to be ignorant and lazy.

                    1. Cause or effect?

                    2. I used to think correlation implied causation. Then I took a statiscs class. Now, I don’t believe that anymore. So the class was helpful.


    3. This is true. And it is a large part of what separates the merely poor from the trash. When money was tight around the ol’ T. household, my parents bought zero junk food/fast food- too damn expensive, when basic produce is cheap. And that was in the relative “food desert” (detestable term) of rural Canadia.

      The condescention that presumes that people of certain income levels are incapable of making decisions for themselves is staggering.

      1. *I, however, warrant condescension for my annoying typo.

      2. If laziness=poverty then will some bright boy tell me why every year 3 times more blacks choose to be lazy and poor than whites do?

        1. Not what I said, MNG. You can be poor and make responsible decisions, or you can be poor and make irresponsible decisions. I don’t happen to give a damn either way, but chalking some poor people’s irresponsible decisions up to anything other than themselves is what chaps my ass.

          1. My point is that chalking poverty up to “laziness” is problematic. It just leads to more questions: why are their higher rates of laziness within some groups? Why are some people lazy and others not?

            1. Gosh, maybe some sociologist will go figure that out.

            2. We need a study comparing Speedy Gonzales to Slowpoke Rodriguez to determine this.

            3. I don’t agree that all poverty has to do with laziness, but the worst effects of it do. If you have a low income yet live responsibly and within your means, you’ll probably land on your feet without need of gov’t assistance, even when bad times hit. I have seen many people do just that. These people don’t get talked about much- they’re not politically useful in that they don’t need saving, but they’re also not model up-by-the-bootstraps stories.

            4. Poverty is certainly not entirely caused by laziness (though some of it certainly is). But becoming fat and diabetic because you can’t be bothered to eat real food and drink water is.

            5. Perhaps some people have more fully ingested the creed of victimhood that has woven itself throughout our society and is so enthusiastically supported by official government doctrine.

          2. You know, lack of effort is an issue. I’ve seen it with middle-class kids as well as with the poor. It doesn’t mean that there isn’t a difference in opportunity, but refusing to bust your ass in, say, school, is a fine way to ensure failure later. You can’t just assume away individual responsibility when the individual comes from poverty or other bad circumstances. It makes success harder but not impossible.

            1. And yet there are these regular disparities.

              Why? Certainly individualistic explanations bog down in the midst of these facts.

            2. As a classic latch-key kid, I had to learn to cook. After my parents divorced, my mother decided that for the most part she was done with cooking. At about 12, I took over 90% of it. A lot of stir fry and spaghetti with meat sauce. And I learned to grill even earlier.

              The only difference between eating healthy and eating poorly is effort.

              1. And the family, school, etc., you were born into had no part in shaping that mindset in you. You just sprung out of Zeus’ head with such a mindset.

                1. NutraSweet is Athena? This explains so much.

                  1. Why are you always on about things explaining other things, lately?

                  2. Well, I do cause a lot of headaches…

                2. You have to work at it to fail completely in this country. Unfortunately, we have a lot of people who are evangelical about being a failure. They even organize themselves into groups to perpetuate a state of failure and dependency. These groups have leaders to help them get organized, because without what we’ll call “community organizers” to lead them, their dissatisfaction with their status might lead them to do something on their own to improve their situation. Better to channel that energy into demanding more handouts and set-asides for other people who look like you.

                  They organize to prevent schools from changing (and make sure to have their leaders cancel programs that are working to improve other poor people’s education), they organize to prevent businesses from moving into their area – lest they might get exploited, they organize to get government development projects built in their area because it will help out people who look like them, they organize to demonize those who would attempt to better themselves as “sellouts” and insist that they are required to “give back” to the community, they organize to create long mandatory minimum sentencing for drug crimes that are plaguing their neighborhoods, then organize to protest those laws for their disproportionate impact on the people living in their neighborhoods…

                  1. “You have to work at it to fail completely in this country.” Nonsense.

                    Just be born into a family with little means and terrible parenting skills. Just that increases your chances of being poor yourself by a pretty stiff factor.

                    1. Um. I was born into a family of little means and terrible parenting skills.

                      I made it.

                      Anyway, Not saying people’s environments don’t influence, but at some point each and every person makes a choice to help themselves or to mooch off of others. I think that is the key thing. Get people to make the choice to start helping themselves.

                      And you don’t do that by giving them handouts. Handouts encorage the kind of helpless dependence that reinforces the cycle of poverty. Handouts encourage people to think that they *can’t* help themselves, and make it *easy* for them not to. I don’t think you can encourage people to struggle by giving them and easier way out – dependence.

                    2. That is the fault of irresponsible parents choosing to have a child or children that they cannot support. I would argue it is quite selfish of the parents to assume that just because they can procreate means they are somehow relieved of blame or responsibility if the environment is less than ideal to raise children.

        2. laziness leads to poverty, not all of those in poverty are necessarily lazy

          Can you admit at all that at least in part a lot of people are poor due to the decisions they make?

          1. Just as logical that poverty causes laziness (give up trying if you’re not getting ahead).

            “admit at all that at least in part a lot of people are poor due to the decisions they make?” Sure, but how helpful is that? Then we should ask, why do these people, unlike others, make these decisions so much?

            1. There’s no problem asking that question out of academic curiosity, but the fail happens when you try to translate it into policy. No matter the reason, their choices are no one’s business but their own.

              1. Only if you don’t care about human welfare.

            2. Possibly because they’re stupid. I know it’s not fashionable to bring this up, but some people really are not good at this whole “thinking ahead” thing we’re so fond of here.

              1. Again, this is unhelpful. Then you need to answer: why are more stupid than others? Why do some groups have more stupid people than other groups?

                See, you guys just want an “answer”
                that lays the blame on the poor themselves. And since you think “stupid” or “lazy” people “deserve” their plight you find these very satisfying answers indeed.

                1. The world is what it is, MNG, and often times that’s just not very helpful. If you don’t like the answer, go find one that explains the observable data better.

            3. then you are basically holding a worldview that people have no control over their actions. So to the extent that poverty is caused by ones own actions, those people cant actually be held accouhtable for said actions.

              1. “then you are basically holding a worldview that people have no control over their actions.”

                Yes, because those are the only two possible views on this complex topic.

                Greetings Captian No-Nuance, meet Mr. False Dilemma!

        3. “If laziness=poverty then will some bright boy tell me why every year 3 times more blacks choose to be lazy and poor than whites do?”

          It’s a cultural thing. Read up on diversity.

          1. Black culture promotes laziness at 3 times the rate white culture does?

            And I thought, when we argue about immigration all the time this is flung at me, that culture is a meaningless unhelpful term?

            1. “Black culture promotes laziness at 3 times the rate white culture does?”


              1. RACISTS!

                1. It’s not racist if it’s true.

                2. Look at you, you NEED your liberal caricature at some deep emotional level. I’ve said nothing about anyone being racist all thread. But you just yearn, like a honeymoon bride, for your caricature to come in and make your worldview feel safe and affirmed so bad you can’t help yourself…How sad. It’s like Gobbler or something.

                  1. “I’ve said nothing about anyone being racist all thread”

                    I wasn’t responding to you, dipshit, unless you are also posting as “All MNG Wants To Do”.

                    I really don’t give a fuck what you say. I HAVE WORKED WITH THE POOR FOR A LIVING FOR YEARS. They tend to be lazy and uneducated. It’s a cultural thing.

                    1. Are they lazy because they are poor or poor because they are lazy? Each is as logical as the next. Why do I have to keep asking this question in response to your same assertion (“buts the poor is lazy I tells ya!”)?

            2. I know this will probably result in immediate shreiks of racism.

              My response is along the lines of something I think Heinlien said. There’s nothing like slavery to teach people that hard work gets you nothing, and milching off of other people gets you everything.

              1. You’ll get no shrieks from this liberal, just basic agreement.

                It’s the lingering effects, many of which are cultural, of past force and fraud which produces that result.

                1. And I think it’s ok for government to provide remedies to those harmed by past force and fraud.

                  1. It’s the lingering effects, many of which are cultural, of past force and fraud which produces that result.

                    And I think it’s ok for government to provide remedies to those harmed by past force and fraud.

                    So you think the government can remedy learned laziness by giving blacks lots of welfare?

                    Doesn’t compute for me. Social welfare programs make people mroe dependent and decrease motivation. It’s counter-productive.

                    The best way to teach people to help themselves is t provide them with an environment wthat is rich with opportunities for self-help. Don’t provide them with free shit, just make sure that if they start their own business, however crude, nobody is going to come in and smack them down for not knowing the regulatory rules.

                    For example, what kind of effect on motivation do you think having the state step in and shut down a beauty parlor someone’s been running out of their home for not havign a license. A hell of a lot mroe negative than not giving them food stamps.

                2. Yes. That’s why there are millions of Mexican people who cross the border to work their asses of for next to nothing. It’s because the Mexican government did such a great job promoting the work ethic. You know, great schools for it’s people, safe streets, a great social safety net, etc.

                  Same with all of the Somalis I work with. And the Chinese. They all can thank their lucky stars that like the Mexicans, they came from countries where the government provided tremendous support for the individual.

                  Black. Culture. Promotes. Sloth. And Dependence.


      3. Bravo, Dagny. I actually ate “better” (more healthy) when I was poor and had to make everything from scratch and was eating a mostly vegetarian diet.

        1. Yeah, my parents were/are mostly vegetarians (my mum randomly decided that meat was “gross”), and rice and beans, while boring, are cheap as balls.

          1. You couldn’t afford my balls.

    4. Argentinian slaughterhouse sweepings and oil-based cheese food

      Mmmmm, slaughterhouse sweepings.

      1. Scrapple! (Not an endorsement of eating sweepins’.)

  7. Yeah, I’ve been poor and I’ve been not poor and I ate healthier when I was poor due to brutal necessity. Fresh veg and meat is always cheaper than eating out. And if you don’t mind steaming frozen vegetables, they’re even cheaper.

  8. Same with pizza. Homemade is really cheap.

    The wife and i have gotten into that lately. We can make a fantastic pie that feeds us and the kid for two days for around $4. Other leftovers make great topping, too.

    1. Thick or thin crust, X?

      1. If you say thick crust, X, you are dead to me.

        1. You’re delusional on this topic, of course, but this does remind me of a link I meant to share with you. Via Neatorama:

          Jeff Varasano, a New York pizza chef in Atlanta, shares his love of pizza and pizza making. In this extensive page, he breaks down every ingredient and procedure to explain why each step is important. Then he displays different pies and critiques them.

          The quality of the ingredients is very important. I have scoured the lands, trying every brand of flour, tomato and cheese I could find. I’ve had cheese flown in, paying $75 for enough cheese for just one round of pies, I’ve even made my own cheese from scratch, starting with just milk. I’ve tasted every brand of tomato I could find and peeled and blanched my own from local tomato growers. And theses things do make a difference. But there’s just no getting around the simple truth of ‘the big three’ ? High heat, good natural yeast, and mixing technique. Getting these right will cover a lot of sins and getting these wrong will screw up the best ingredients.

          Varasano even praises and ranks other pizzerias and gives directions to them!

          1. The heat’s the thing. Hard to do at home. I’ve seen video demonstrations online that show you how to construct a brick oven inside your regular oven. That’s approaching Alton Brown crazy.

            1. My dad came up with a technique where he puts tiles in the oven and heats them up for a hour before putting the pizza on them. Works pretty damn well.

              Or you can just buy a Viking.

              1. Try heating up the BBQ and grilling the dough. Takes a few minutes to cook your pizza, and it comes it awesome.

                1. Grilled pizza can be sublime, no doubt.

              2. They prefer to be called Scandinavian-Americans, and slavery is illegal, dammit.

              3. There’s always the grill.

                1. I just grilled 2 pizzas from a $0.99 store-bought dough. It’s easier than you think. Watch how to grill the pizza.

              4. This thing doesn’t leave my oven:

                Oven takes an hour to preheat now with a 3/4″ slab of stone in it, but it maintains a much more even temperature. And as a baking stone, it’s awesome.

                (Tiles work great, too. I just got tired of them breaking.)

            2. In fairness to Alton, I believe he just put a big ceramic earthenware pan in his oven for a heat stabilizer instead of a small brick wall.

              1. Yeah, I know. But why does every recipe have to be a culinary Manhattan Project?

          2. The best pizza is thin crust with camalized onions, fresh rosemary and goat cheese. I am so glad that I am no longer poor.

            1. One my few regrets is all those years I lived before having goat cheese. Those wasted, wasted years.

              1. Goat cheese, black olives and octopus.
                I am serious.

            2. I presume you mean caramelized onions, and not camelized onions. Right? 🙂

              1. Camelized onions are great. The Arab contribution to cuisine strikes again!

                1. Speaking of that, I just read something about paella being originally a Persian dish. It came to Spain via the Moors.

                  Paella–the real stuff–is great food.

                  1. I’m sorry — the card says “Moops”.

              2. “I presume you mean caramelized onions, and not camelized onions. Right? :-)”

                No. Camelized. I feed my camel a sack of onions and then follow him around until the sack is full again. Reuse, reduce, recycle.

                1. Factual actual fact: When you feed a camel 20 pounds of onion, 21 pounds come back out. It is one of the most baffling mysteries of science.

                  1. I think it was supposed to be ‘cannibalized.’ Savage, those onions.

                  2. What you’re positing is a violation of the law of thermofrynamics.

                    1. “There are more things in heaven and earth, Fellatio, Than are dreamt of in your philosophy.”

                    2. That’s the correct name–see the First Folio. Whoratio is deprecated.

        2. Epi, Steve Smith is currently on his way to rape your senses with thick crust, stuffed with American cheese. Not sure whether he went with Hawaiian toppings as I suggested.


            1. Can’t rape on inadequacies like thin crust, that’s true.

        3. Thin crust is great, but it isn’t going to feed you for two days.

      2. Threadjack mission accomplished.

      3. t-jack Mission accomplished.

        1. That’s one way of looking at it. Another way is to recognize that Hit & Run is really just a long series of threads highlighting the thin vs. unthin pizza debate, with occasional asides tossed in.

          Used to be all about Planet of the Apes.

  9. You’re not the real Xeones! Xeones always capitalizes the personal pronoun.

  10. Three short generations ago my mother’s ancestors were dirt-poor Sicilians, but I’ll bet they ate better than most Americans do today. There’s a lot you can do with some tomatoes, a little garlic and olive oil, pasta, mammal innards, beans and greens. My grandfather Tubolino lived to be 99.

    1. Did they eat ocelot’s taints?

      1. They could only dream of such extravagances.

      2. Rabbit tongues and beluga lentils in a turtle stock reduction.

        1. I’m going to make sure the government adds this to our school lunch menus!

  11. Sorry, ocelots’ taints.

    1. No, you were right the first time. it’s a little known fact of zoology that ocelots each have 16 taints.

  12. Thin crust, RC. If i wanted to eat bread, i’d make a sandwich.

    1. I love you.

  13. Xeones was killed and replaced by Episiarch.

    1. Killed, raped, and replaced. My mistake.

  14. It just leads to more questions: why are their higher rates of laziness within some groups? Why are some people lazy and others not?

    Your second question is a good one, though the answer varies from person to person. Your first question is collectivist bullshit.

  15. But in all fairness to the poor, spending three hours a day on the bus going to and from a minimum-wage job, and then getting home and dealing with a shack-full of rug-rats you can’t afford, sucks the life out of a person. It’s just easier to kill them slowly with Mickey D’s and grape soda.

    1. We’re back to those poor decisions again, aren’t we?

  16. Xeones was killed and replaced by Episiarch.

    HOW DARE YOU. When my blood feud with Warty has ended (as it inevitably will) with a feast of his remains for the wolves and the ravens, i’m coming after you.

    (SugarFree would be next, but there is no honor in killing a man who has already been marked for destruction by his own pancreas.)

    1. I’m not sporting. 🙁

      1. NutraSweet is the Least Dangerous Game. You’re even less of a challenge than Rickety Cricket.

      2. My way’s not very sporting.

    2. You might as well drop the disguise, Episiarch. You’re fooling no one. Well, except for maybe Dan T.

      1. Wha? Huh? DURR

  17. opportunity to scam

    Arbitrage is never a scam.

  18. Chili may be the best cheap food ever invented: cheap ground beef, super cheap beans, cheap tomatoes, cheap onions, and inexpensive spices. You can eat it over cornbread, corn chips, rice, or pasta. It balances protein, fat, and carbohydrate along with a lot of micronutrients (cooked tomatoes and onions are crammed with them).

    It’s also a terrific lazy man’s food. It’s almost impossible to screw up the cooking, keeps well in the fridge, reheats tastily, and doesn’t dirty a lot of pots and pans.

    Will Rogers remarked that chili was a perfect food that kept a lot of brutally poor people healthy and strong even in the Great Depression. We need to reunite our poor people with chili. And my girlfriend needs to stop using ground turkey in it. *grumble*

    1. Get a new girlfriend.

      1. After watching The Biggest Loser, it seems like every chick I know went out to buy Jennie-O ground turkey for chili.

        1. Stupid joke handle.

      2. Get a new girlfriend.

        I would, but this one is prettier, less crazy, and a better cook overall than the previous ones. I could possibly trade up, but after figuring in the transaction costs of a new girlfriend and sunken costs in the current one, my expected value increase is rather small.

    2. After the last winter tomatoes aren’t cheap.

      Otherwise, excellent post. 🙂

      1. keeps well in the fridge

        No joke. If you do it right, it actually keeps getting better over the course of a week in the fridge. Any longer than that, though, i’m generally kind of wary of it.

        1. When I first went to college, I occasionally bought a box of frozen “hamburgers.” I always wondered where that meat came from. Something horrific, no doubt.

        2. And you can freeze it for a long time and still tastes good.

    3. “And my girlfriend needs to stop using ground turkey in it. *grumble*”

      But ground turkey is cheaper and healthier.

      But you can around that by buying the low grade ground beef and just draining the fat off after browning the meat before you add the other stuff

      1. Or you can you the turkey and add 1/2 a teaspoon of Marmite. You can’t really taste it and it makes any sort of meat taste super meaty.

        1. Have you actually tried this, or is hearsay? Because I question how adding marmite to anything would make it taste better. Marmite is disgusting.

          1. I’m going to try it, but only because I know where you live, Sug.

          2. It’s a principle of umami. Marmite is full of glutamic acid, the amino acid that triggers it. You use so little that you can’t actually taste the Marmite.

            And yes, I add it to a lot of stuff: Burgers, tacos, chili, beef stew, etc.

            1. I am dubious, but I have a place down the road that sells Marmite. I’ll give this a try next time I make chili. Of course, I’ll be using beef and venison, so it may not be strictly necessary.

            2. I figured that’s what you were getting at. I’ve never seen Marmite or Vegemite in markets near me, but I use Worcestershire sauce on the same principle.

      2. Or you could cook the turkey with a healthy dollop of lard so that it tastes like meat, you sickening barbarians.

  19. Ok, the threaded reply above is a mistake, and is not a spoof by Dan T. OR IS IT??

      1. Is that the full Keanu “whoa”?

        Really, Hit & Run should require biometrics for all commenters.

        1. Yes. It is certainly not a Joey Lawrence “whoa”.

          1. I would never suggest such a thing, even in jest.

            I feel a little sick.

          2. Just admit that you still jerk off to Blossom. Those floppy hats are hot.

            1. She has a face like a shield.

            2. The only thing I know about that show is that I knew Liz Vassey. I was friends with her sister, but I met Liz a few times. That was her first sitcom, I think.

              1. Come to think of it, I’m not even sure that’s the right show. Liz was on the one with all the brothers.

              2. She gave me a tick boner.

            3. Jesus fucking tapdancing Christ, you just made me physically ill. Thanks. Thanks a lot.

              1. It’s always a mistake to even imply the existence of Joey Lawrence.

          3. when Joey Lawrence makes an appearance, you know the End Times are nigh.

  20. I mentioned yesterday that I hate poor people because they smell and have a poor taste in clothing. Maybe if we could get a government program to address this.

  21. This just might be the most successful KMW post ever. See, Kathy? You don’t have to repeat Ayn Rand rape jokes any more. Be free!

  22. You fools keep going on about how poor people can make chili for cheap, or live off of beans and rice.

    And while I admit beans and rice are vegan, are they organic? Anything that cames that cheap has to have been farmed by some massive monoculture agribusiness spraying it with all sorts of chemicals and fertilizers to squeeze the last drop of profit from it. There are studies showing that conventional agriculture produces produce that is drained of nutrients. It’s all just water and some sugars. Like eating popcorn or sand.

    And it’s pretty hard to find organic foods outside of major urban areas, and even then you have to shop at Whole Foods. Fortunately I live near a local coop so I can walk. But the rural poor only have mainstream grocery stores in their area, which probably don’t even have the teeny tiny organic sections that they have in cities.

    You’re only going to know about one of the local organic coops if you are educated and/or connected to underground media. Cause the corporate media only advertises the major corporate chain superstores with their homone enhanced milk and beef.

    Anyway, why hasn’t anyone considered the possibiltiy that the growth hormones in our food might be making people fat?

    Chili may be the best cheap food ever invented: cheap ground beef, super cheap beans, cheap tomatoes, cheap onions, and inexpensive spices. You can eat it over cornbread, corn chips, rice, or pasta.

    This is your idea of cheap *healthy* eating? Some hormone treated pile of ground-whatever from a factory farmed poor cow that suffered in a pen being injected with anti-biotics until it was snuffed out and fed into a meat grinder, and then dose with radiation and sold at a wal-mart so some fat fuck could mix it with cheese ?

    Really, they could buy a tofo substitute, but that shit is expensive.

    1. I have a few questions for you, which I know will upset the anti-troll crowd. But I will feed you organically…
      1. Why would growth hormone make people fat? The opposite is true. When growth hormone production drops off naturally in people their early 20’s, it is also a time period when they begin to gain weight. Statistically, after infancy, most people experience the single biggest year of weight gain of in their lifetime at a median age of 22.
      2. Why would antibiotics be a bad thing? I don’t want my meat infected with e.coli or any other food borne pathogen. It also keeps cows from getting sick while they are alive. You are in favor of treating cows humanely aren’t you? Humans take antibiotics to prevent infections, why is it so bad when they are administered to cows?

  23. What did they do with the soda bought “back”?

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