To break an awkward silence, I learned an important technique – pose a conversation that draws further comments, not simple yes/no answers. For example, this topic taken from Voltaire was the go-to ice breaker:
The Holy Roman Empire was neither holy, nor Roman, nor an empire. Discuss.
However, in recent years, I’ve heard a new one.
McDonald’s McRib debuts when pork prices are low and disappears after McDonald’s demand for pork increases the price. Discuss.
With the McRib returning nationally for only the second time last month, there may be some credence to the conspiracy especially with such an in demand food item creates a culture around itself. It’s even been parodied on The Simpsons:
Putting the conspiracy into so many words and backing it up with a graph of pork futures, The Awl dives into the trenches to expose the McRib for what it is – McDonald’s power play in the market with arbitrage.
Arbitrage is a risk-free way of making money by exploiting the difference between the price of a given good on two different markets—it’s the proverbial free lunch you were told doesn’t exist. In this equation, the undervalued good in question is hog meat, and McDonald’s exploits the value differential between pork’s cash price on the commodities market and in the Quick-Service Restaurant market.
It’s basically the opposite of the industry raising the price of turkey near Thanksgiving because there will be so much demand and McDonald’s beating the market to make their McRib profitable.
You can read the full conjecture at The Awl with the article: A Conspiracy of Hogs: The McRib as Arbitrage Upon concluding the reading, you will have done the necessary homework to break the silence with a discussion of the McRib’s limited time offering.
Correlation? Causation? Conspiracy? Does it really matter? You only have 4 Days left to get to McDonald’s to enjoy the McRib while you can before it’s gone forever? A year? Until the next slump in pork market prices?