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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Craig has to keep it together in the face of very strange requests during his interview to be the sommelier for Tom’s Bistro. While professional sommelier’s are known for being able to pair wines and meals, they must maintain their composure when customers ask for something different. While some may have odd preferences, its important to respect others’ utility functions.
Ann and Chris decide not to buy an engagement ring because they think it is an unnecessary expense when they could do other things with the money. Engagement rings are often considered signals in the dating market that one partner is unavailable. The couple watching the exchange realize they could buy a house instead of buying a ring.
Dr. Jamm bought a cooktop table from Benihana for $4,000 and thinks it is worth every penny. While Leslie and Chris may not place the same value on the table, Jamm’s subjective value is at least $4000.