Richard Nikoley, the Unbridled Asshole, Gives an Essential Economics Lesson to a Little Girl

It was unexpected, out of the blue, quotidian, but not.


I saw them setting up earlier, dad and mom doing all the heavy work. After the setup, I approached.

“I want to talk to the CEO.”

Dad looks at the daughter.

“Do you want cherries?” she asks.

Yes. “How much?”

“Four dollars.”

“Hmmm, how about three dollars?”

She looks at her dad, who looks away.

She’s reluctant, a typically indecisive female child, so I move the basket of cherries from the lineup to a visual differentiation.

“OK, see this basket?”

“Yes,” she replies.

“I want that basket of cherries more than I want the three dollars in my pocket. Do you want the three dollars in my pocket more than you want this basket of cherries?”

She looks quizzically, at dad again, who smiles and looks away.

“What’s your pick; is it three dollars, or this one basket of cherries?” I ask.

“Three dollars.”

We had a deal, and I tipped her $2 for tolerating my economics lesson.


And that dropped me straight out of the ketogenic dispensation.

Richard Nikoley

I'm Richard Nikoley. Free The Animal began in 2003 and as of 2021, contains 5,000 posts. I blog what I wish...from health, diet, and food to travel and lifestyle; to politics, social antagonism, expat-living location and time independent—while you sleep—income. I celebrate the audacity and hubris to live by your own exclusive authority and take your own chances. Read More


  1. Stephen Hall on May 10, 2017 at 16:02

    If only all “unbridled assholes” tipped so well!

    (Nevermind how distasteful I may find the compulsory tipping culture to be in the US…)

    Thanks for a sweet slice of life, and cheers!

    • John on May 11, 2017 at 08:45

      I wonder – would food price go up if restaurants had to pay their employees instead of customers – such that it would ultimately come out the same on the final bill.

      I imagine if such an effect occurred, it would make cheaper restaurants cost more, relatively, than expensive restaurants.

    • Nocona on May 11, 2017 at 10:47

      I’m an unbridled asshole too! I would’ve offered $2 to start and tipped $1.

    • Richard Nikoley on May 11, 2017 at 12:19


    • David Major on May 12, 2017 at 13:42

      Funny. I don’t find the “tipping culture” the least bit distaseful, I think it’s great; I love rewarding people for good service, and withholding for less than satisfactory service (although the service has to be really abysmal for me to tip less than around 12%, I give people the benefit of the doubt). This is an excellent mechanism to ensure better service, I don’t doubt it for a second, it is simple economics, and I don’t buy the canard fron European elitists who banally squawk about how Europe doesn’t tip and their service is oh-so-great.
      Nor is tipping in the least bit “cumpulsary”, how ridiculous to say that, no one is “forcing” you tip, you can skip it altogether, but I would suggest that you don’t act that way at restaurants you frequent, and that, too, is justice, not compulsion, understand?

    • Richard Nikoley on May 12, 2017 at 13:47

      Pretty much me, David.

      It’s 20-25% for me. I just don’t quibble. Plus, I go back to places, and it’s like getting my butt hole licked.

  2. Lute Nikoley on May 10, 2017 at 22:43

    Good lesson in bartering. And good sport for the tip. Once I walked past a Girl Scouts cookie sales stand. I asked for a certain type of cookie I like, they were sold out. So I bought 2 other boxes of cookies, paid them and gave them back the cookies, so they could sell them to somebody else who would eat them.

  3. John on May 11, 2017 at 08:51

    Exposure to a new understanding – from “this is the price” rigidity to underlying understanding of economics and priorities.

  4. Hap on May 11, 2017 at 09:02

    If you like your doctor…..If you like your plan…..then go F yourself. This is the price.

  5. David S on May 11, 2017 at 10:20

    You really can’t demonstrate the beauty of mutual exchange better than this. One of the greatest errors in mainstream economics is the belief in indifference curves and the theory that exchanges are of items of equal value. Exchanges always produce positive value for each actor otherwise the exchange would not take place. The market is not a zero-sum game!

  6. Hap on May 12, 2017 at 15:44

    Not that it is a waste to provide the opportunity for economic insight to a budding entrepeneur…….it apparently is a waste to try that with politicians…..say from California or Hawaii?

  7. Jim on May 15, 2017 at 19:36

    Despite what everybody says, you’re not such a cunt after all! ?

    • Richard Nikoley on May 15, 2017 at 19:40

      Don’t believe everything you read, Jim.

  8. thhq on May 16, 2017 at 05:47

    Cherry time in California. They’re hard to resist. I had some of the double-pitted giants a couple days ago, and I expect my daughter paid full price for them.

    I had a Hangtown Fry in Hangtown (Placerville) for the first time on this trip, at the Buttercup diner. They used smoked oysters instead of fresh for convenience, and put in some green onions, which I’ll start adding to mine. More of a scramble than the omelet I usually make. The waitress said they serve them that way on request.

    • Richard Nikoley on May 16, 2017 at 07:30

      My parents and one of my brothers live in Placerville.

      Best breakfast in the area is in nearby Diamond Springs, Diamond Springs Hotel. They do their hash browns in coconut oil.

      I usually opt for Mel’s instead of Buttercup. 🙂

    • thhq on May 16, 2017 at 09:54

      Part of my inheritance after my dad died was a timeshare contract, which we use mostly at Tahoe, Sun River and Sun Valley. People complain about those contracts but we’re always on the edge of running out of points. The $1400 a year fee works out to about $50 a night.

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