Ron is trying to convince Leslie to take a sabbatical and focus on her campaign and not split her time between campaigning and the Parks Department. He tells the story of himself in middle school trying to complete schoolwork while working at the tannery and a sheet-metal factory and how it wasn’t worth trying to “half ass two things.”
Ron’s advice is that even though Leslie can do both things, she should specialize in her campaign. Trying to do too many things would cause Leslie to experience diminishing returns rather quickly and she could achieve a lot more if she focuses on less.
Leslie is hoping to obtain a piece of land for free so she can turn it into a park. Ron taunts Leslie about her $0 bid for the land because typically people expect money in exchange for goods and services. This can be a good illustration of the medium of exchange function of money, but can also lead to a deeper discussion of externalities.
See more: capitalism, exchange, medium of exchange, money, transactions
The Parks Department is holding a garage sale to help raise funds for Jerry’s medical bills. The scene starts with April and Andy trying to decide the appropriate price for a hat that has sentimental value for Andy. Later, Tom tries selling a coat he had paid $150 dollars for. Tom marks the coat up to $200 because he put a scorpion on the back of it, but the customer doesn’t seem to think that’s an appropriate price for this venue.
See more: costs, inputs Prices, prices, subjective value, value, value added, willingness to buy, willingness to sell
Every time Ann starts dating someone new, her preferences shift and she starts buying items that match the preferences of her partner. For Chris, she started buying a lot of workout equipment, for Andy it was a grunge phase, and for Tom it was purchasing a lot of unnecessary items. The demand for various items in a market can shift when consumer preferences change, and for Ann that occurs when she has a new boyfriend.
See more: demand, demand shifts, preferences, utility
Tom needs help learning about basketball so that he can connect with the customers at his store. He believes Ben and Andy can help him since they’re good with numbers and athletic (respectively), but he tricks them into coming into his office by telling them that their favorite items are there. For Ben, he claims that Michael Stipe is in the office, but all he needs to do is offer Andy some free Skittles, respectively to incentivize him.
See more: incentives, Principles, self-interest
Andy and April break into City Hall to get Leslie and Ben’s marriage license, but April decides she may want to take the entire stack of marriage applications for everyone in Pawnee. April doesn’t want anyone else to get married because it makes it less special for her and Andy.
See more: diminishing returns, positional good
Ben and Leslie need rings for their wedding, but can’t seem to find acceptable ones around town. Ron offers to make the rings for them and describe how easy the process was for him, despite not being all that easy at all. Ron believes that people who buy things are suckers.
See more: comparative advantage, gains from trade, markets, mutually beneficial transactions, specialization, trade
Ron thinks he’s won a free steak from a local steakhouse, but instead he’s been served papers. While he isn’t actually getting that steak, he should have been weary about the opportunity of a free item.
See more: free lunch, NSTAFL
Ron and Chris disagree with the best way to motivate workers. While Chris takes a more intrinsic approach, Ron focuses on base level needs of fear and hunger, but also on money. Ron’s extrinsic approach comes from his belief in markets being able to serve as a motivator. Both agree that motivating workers can increase productivity, but disagree on the best method of doing so.
See more: incentives, labor, motivation, pay and productivity, productivity, self-interest
Tom isn’t happy with Mona-Lisa anymore, but he isn’t brave enough to break up with her. He decides to seek out help from his previous girlfriend, Ann, but it’s going to cost him. Ann initially refuses, but agrees once he offers her his chenille blanket that she likes.
See more: behavioral, break ups, exchange, gains from trade, prices, trade