World Record attempts used to be about stretching human achievement to the limits: The fastest runner, the highest jumper and most marshmallows stuffed up one nostril (604, Toxteth O’Grady, USA).
The fine folks at Guinness realised that this wasn’t sustainable, since most people are actually kinda shit, and started introducing more and more records. Now it’s just about being arsed to organise something: Most people dressed as Smurfs; Largest collection of Do Not Disturb hotel signs; Largest display of Star Wars clone troopers built with interlocking plastic bricks. Rubbish.
This story on the BBC intrigued us. World record attempt for most expensive cheese sandwich.
Of course, as you all know, value is:
…the worth of a goods or service as determined by the market.
Value is linked to price through the mechanism of exchange. When an economist observes an exchange, two important value functions are revealed: those of the buyer and seller. Just as the buyer reveals what he is willing to pay for a certain amount of a good, so too does the seller reveal what it costs him to give up the good. You’ve stopped reading this bit, right? Just skimming over it.
Additional information about value is obtained by the rate at which transactions occur, telling observers the extent to which the purchase of the good has value over time. Blah blah blah.
Said another way, value is how much a desired object or condition is worth relative to other objects or conditions. Economic values are expressed as “how much” of one desirable condition or commodity will, or would be given up in exchange for some other desired condition or commodity. Monkeys. Among the competing schools of economic theory there are differing metrics for value assessment and the metrics are the subject of a “Theory of Value.” Value theories are a large part of the differences and disagreements between the various schools of economic theory.
Value is what something is worth in a certain situation: A bottle of water is more valuable in the desert than in a bottle of water factory. An expensive cheese sandwich is worthless in a really poor area, like Somalia, or Coventry. The cheese sandwich is worth whatever people will pay for it.
I set to work constructing a cheese sandwich. I used bread, meat and cheese. This is not MasterChef. There will be no detailed explanation. I then sold the sandwich to a colleague for the sum of £111.11. To balance the books, I then bought a digestive biscuit from him for £111.11, thereby giving him the (as yet unrecognised) World Record for Most Expensive Biscuit. The biscuit was nice, I dunked it in my tea.
I got in contact with Guinness, to let them know of the new record, which will certainly appear in their newest edition:
I have sold my lunch, comprising of a sandwich made of two slices of Tiger Bread cut with my own fair hands, pastrami and a meat that looks like chorizo, but might not be, and some cheese. For this sandwich, I received a total of £111.11, which I believe exceeds the current record. I have a receipt that can be made available at your request. The sandwich was sold to Toby Nothisrealname, who claimed to be “starving to death”, because he hadn’t bothered to have any breakfast. While I am unsure as to the veracity of his claim to be starving to death, he was hungry enough to pay for a sandwich. This has left me at a disadvantage, as I don’t have any lunch now.
I didn’t tell them about the expensive biscuit. If he wants a World Record, he can work for it. I didn’t pay the £400 fee to Guinness to have a 3 day turnaround on my record approval. I’m not sure what grounds they’ll have to reject my claim: The man on the news just built the sandwich, I actually sold it, which, if anything, makes me better than him, Gordon Ramsay and Jesus.
What will Guinness say? Watch this space. Literally.