Ranking Wedding Cake

Jerry (Terry), Joe, and Donna sample wedding cakes from the finest bakeries in Pawnee to determine which one to serve at Donna’s upcoming wedding. Donna and Joe both select the same cake, which is revealed to be the local grocery store cake. Billy claims that he placed that cake in the lineup to weed out the low quality palates, but preferences are often subjective.

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Beef Milk

Donna and Tom are curious about what the newest fad is in Pawnee. Annabel Porter tells Ron, Donna, and Tom about milk with a flourish that makes it worth $60 a gallon instead of $3 a gallon. Ron isn’t fooled, he realizes it’s just milk.

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Types of Talks

It’s time for some shop talk as Leslie and Ben sit down with Ben’s campaign manager to discuss their strategy going forward in Ben’s election. Leslie takes a brief moment to note that shop talk is one of her favorite types of talk and then goes on to list the other types. This is a cute (and quick) introduction to the concept of product differentiation, where companies sell similar products with different attributes. Product differentiation can allow a company to charge higher prices for their products if people perceive value in the differentiation.

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Ann’s Boyfriend Boxes

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.

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Leslie’s Preference for Work

Leslie is ready to get to work, but Ann is confused on whether Leslie ever takes a break from work to enjoy things. Leslie’s preference for work is so high that she does derive utility from working.

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Being an Accountant

Ben goes back to the accounting firm that he initially quit, only to decide to quit again as soon as he sees his office. In discussing his motivation, he talks about how he wants to do something meaningful with his life, but then he realizes the benefits of being an accountant including stability and above average pay.

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Leslie Can’t Get Everything She Wants

Leslie accepts a job with the National Parks Service in Chicago, but it means she has to leave her hometown of Pawnee, Indiana. She tries to recruit team members from the office, but no one is willing to go with her. She begins to realize all the things she’s going to miss when she leaves. Because time and resources are scarce, Leslie is forced to make choices.

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