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A Matter of Dollars and Nonsense
Rick Reilly
November 20, 1995
Here's what would happen if other businesses bought into pro sports' brand of economics
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November 20, 1995

A Matter Of Dollars And Nonsense

Here's what would happen if other businesses bought into pro sports' brand of economics

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"But this is ridiculous," I said. "I've been coming in here once a week since 1975. Doesn't that count for anything?"

"Oh, yes, true friend," Achmed said, "but I must be able to compete."


"I am afraid so. A big chain, The Falafel Waffle, has moved in down the street. It has twice as many tables as I have. Its river of resources runs deep. It is even attempting to hire away my best busboy, Faheed. I have already had to double his salary, and still he may go."

Just then Faheed brought me my lunch. It was a lukewarm hot dog in a stale bun and a 12-ounce soft drink. He threw it down on the dirty table with disdain. He was on his cellular.

"This isn't what I ordered," I said to Achmed.

"True, true," he said. "But this is the way I maximize my profits. This I learn from your NBA. Did you know that a 12-ounce soft drink at a Golden State Warrior game is $2.25? A plain hot dog at your famed Madison Square Garden is $3? The average night at an NBA game for a family of four now costs almost $200? Did you know that the top ticket for your worst football game, the Super Bowl, went up another $50 this year, to $350? And yet attendance at these spectacles does not recede. From this I have learned that the American people, they will support any habitual activity as though it were a jihad."

I told Achmed that this wasn't the way to compete.

"Oh, so very true, valued customer of mine," he said. "That is why I am afraid I must move my restaurant away from here. I do this because the town council has refused to build for me a restaurant five times the size of The Falafel Waffle."

"Wait a minute," I said, getting agitated. "Why should the public build you a restaurant? You're a private enterprise!"

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