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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Ron’s chair becomes popular after being featured in Bloosh, and Annabelle wants to talk about licensing his designs and scaling up production. Instead of having each handmade by Ron Swanson, they can be mass-produced by foreign labor.
Leslie meets with Kathryn Pinewood to discuss the sizes of sodas sold at the local restaurants. Leslie, as city council member, doesn’t believe that this move by local businesses is good for the health of her community. Local restaurants have gotten creative in marketing the larger sodas by offering price discounts when customers by large volumes. Despite framing the larger sizes with more normal names, Leslie is confused why people would keep purchasing that much soda.
Leslie wants to break up with Ben, but she needs to order a bottle of wine before she goes through with it. She let’s the waitress know that she wants wine, but isn’t coy about only selecting the cheapest one because she can’t tell the difference. There’s a long line of literature on the effects of quality and wine prices that shows even professionals can’t often tell the difference between brands.
Donna and Tom take Ben on a “Treat Yo Self” day to help him relax, but he just buys socks, which he feels like he needs. Donna and Tom challenge him to think about what he would buy for himself if he could get anything he wanted. Ben decides he wants a Batman costume.
Ron isn’t happy with the steak he was served, so instead he asks the waiter to give him all the bacon and eggs they have. While a bit extreme, his preferences and utility function should be respected in society despite the potential for future health issues.