Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Potato Economics - a lesson in alternative currency

Seattle University professor was forcibly ejected today from a Pike Place Market deli after he attempted to pay for a sandwich with a sack of potatoes.

The professor, Frenchman Francois Cloche-Fin, a native of the Isle Noirmoutier, is an instructor of economics, management and leadership at the Albers School of Business. He was not immediately available for comment.

“We get our fair share of freaks in this neighborhood, no doubt,’ Deli owner Pieter van der Hoogstrand said, “but I had never seen something like this before.”

At approximately 11:45 am Wednesday, Cloche-Fin entered the deli and ordered a Polish Sausage ciabatta with Emmental cheese. When he approached the cash register, he allegedly brought out a potato sack and pulled out two La Bonnotte de Noirmoutier potatoes, placing them neatly on the counter in front of him.

“I said, ‘what the hell is this?’ van der Hoogstrand recalled, “and he said that the sandwich cost $7.50 and so he wanted to pay with 2 potatoes. At first I couldn’t believe it, but the line kept growing so I told him to either give me cash or a card or get out.”

When van der Hoogstrand refused to accept his potatoes, Cloche-Fin allegedly grew agitated. “He kept shouting, ‘How dare you reject my potatoes? This is discrimination! My money is just as good as everyone else’s!’ ”

At that moment, two Pike Place Market Deli employees emerged from the kitchen and removed Cloche-Fin from the premises. As he was leaving, Cloche-Fin reportedly screamed, “You owe me a half-potato in change!”

Speaking to reporters some hours later, all van der Hoogstrand could do was shake his head and laugh. “I guess where he’s from, potatoes are a form of currency. But where does he think he is? We don’t even accept Diners Club here.”

The La Bonnotte potato variety, grown only in Cloche-Fin's native Isle Noirmoutier, is of course one of the most expensive foods in the world. Due to the manual nature of the growing and harvesting of this potato variety, one kilo can fetch us much as $700.

It's quite possible that Mr van der Hoogstrand and the Pike Place Market Deli missed out on a very good deal...

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