onion theory

I used to take great pride and pleasure from the plentiful cheap restaurants in my area.

since  i travel all over my region for work, i loved discovering the modest but flavorful little

Lunch places run by owner operators  from all over the world.

One day , a few years ago, i noticed that my Cambodian lunch plate consisted of rice, a TEENY bit of

Chicken, and A LOT of onions.

Then noticed that my thai lunch was mostly green pepper and onions.

Was it my imagination, or did they get slightly smaller  bowls at my favorite pho place? 

Wait a minute, seems like those burritos used to be a bit larger, also.

Also, and this was more subtle and hard to pin down, but something else 

was missing.

The flavor seamed to have somehow disappeared.

Could my taste buds have just become jaded?


Then I realized what had happened. I call it the onion theory.

Restaurants felt they could not raise prices to cover increased costs because they would lose customers to the competition.

And the competition included fast food places, also which pulled prices down.

After all, if a fast food lunch costs $5, then a $7 lunch becomes ” expensive”.

So they started slowly cutting back on portions, then started  using cheaper ingredients, and finally using cheaper

versions of the cheap ingredients.

Why buy a real onion when a genetically grown one is half the price.


I see the same thing with a lot of businesses.

Take airlines.

It used to be that flying across the country was a big deal. It would cost a couple of weeks salary.

After deregulation, it became a race to the bottom to get market share and fill up every seat

And because you would rather sell a seat for super cheap than fly with any empty seats, consumers

got hip to sniping for last minute bargains.

But when you cut it down to a razor thin margin, there is no profit.

And americans have decided that $300 is  what it should cost to fly coast to coast.

None of the airlines wanted to be the first to blink.

So they slowly started to charge extra for every little thing. Pillow charge, say hi to the stews charge, disembarking tax.


Every municipality does this now, too.

What politician wants to stand up and say they are going to raise taxes?

So they slowly raise parking tickets, and permit fees, and entrance to the zoo.

It’s not enough to start  a revolt, but the cumulative effect of  gotcha charges is gigantic.

Americans have not been willing to peal back their unrealistic dreams, so they are living in a hollowed out


Onion theory.

2 Responses to “onion theory”

  1. valeriesoe Says:

    AKA Boiling frogs

  2. Hot Links For Lunch « Mrpoopypants’s Blog Says:

    […] Hot Links For Lunch By mrpoopypants I’d written before on the declining state of affordable lunch places.#mce_temp_url# […]

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