Thursday, September 01, 2016

Bahamian Dollar

Tuesday in class I sold 12-ounce bottles of Coca-Cola to teach students how to derive a demand curve make money. I spent $3.33 on an eight-pack and I made $6.25 from selling six of them (I drank the other two).

I didn't quite make back my costs (which included a bag of ice and a sketchy Styrofoam cooler). Part of that was because I drank 25% of my inventory, and part of it was because I limited the segment of the class that could participate in my first lecture so we didn't get bogged down counting students for 10 minutes (but in my second large lecture I found a way to open it to everyone while keeping things snappy, and as a result I achieved my highest price of the day: $1.75).

In my final class of the day, one of my students potential customers asked, "Will you accept Bahamian dollars?"

A RANDOM STRANGER: I'd have to look up the exchange rate.

STUDENT: It's one-to-one.

ARS: Then I'd need to reflect on the likelihood that I'll be going to the Bahamas soon.

S: Oh, you should go. It's great.

ARS: Oh, I'd like to go, but the problem is I have four kids and then they'd want to go.

S: You should take them. They'd love it.

ARS: I'm sure they would, but I'd want to go to the Bahamas with just my wife, not with my kids.

DIFFERENT STUDENT: Oh, you're one of those guys?

ARS: Of course I'm one of those guys. How do you think I got four kids?

(Everyone laughed, which, I think I've mentioned before, is my measure of whether I've done my job. Last week I said to my wife, "My top goal in class is to have everyone think I'm funny. Then, if there's time, I hope they learn some economics." That weekend we met two of my students. My wife brought to my attention that both of them told me, "You're funny!")

I told the student I would take Bahamian money if he would take change in Chinese or Canadian money, which I still had in my bag from the summer. He agreed. When I took his dollar I looked at the labeled picture of Sir Lynden O. Pindling on it and asked, "Who's he?" Another student said, "Oh, he's a good guy." I laughed and said in another voice, "My dad and him used to golf together." More laughter. I was an excellent teacher on Tuesday.

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