Some Wars Make Me Hungry

A recent New York Times article brought to mind (made me remember) some early memories, memories of a different kind of war, called price wars. Price wars begin when one business drops (reduces) its price to try to get customers from another similar business. Soon the other business does the same. And they continue – one drops its price, then the other. Price wars don’t usually last long, but while they do, customers enjoy the benefits of lower prices.

When I was young, price wars seemed to occur most often among gas stations, or filling stations as they were sometimes called. One would drop the price of gas. And soon the station across the across the street, or down the street (a short distance away), would drop its prices, and the war would be on (would start). Every day, or sometimes several times a day, stations in the area (nearby) would drop their prices, usually just a few cents at a time. Everyone rushed to fill their cars with gas before the prices returned to normal.

My favorite price war took place in Salina, Kansas, a city of about 50,000 almost exactly in the center of the U.S. There are few reasons for you to be familiar with Salina. Years ago it was a rest stop on the old Smoky Hill Trail across the U.S., according to Wikipedia, a trading post (place to buy or trade for supplies) for immigrants moving west, prospectors (people looking for gold) on their way to Pikes Peak (a mountain in the state of Colorado), and Native Americans (sometimes called “American Indians”) who lived nearby. Spanish conquistador Francisco Vasquez de Coronado stopped just outside of Salina in about 1540 during his search for the mythical (imagined in stories) Seven Cities of Gold and built a small fort (a building for protection) there before he returned to Mexico.

My best memory of Salina was the great hamburger war! This was before the days of (prior to; before there existed) McDonald’s. Hamburgers were sold by small, independent, one-owner hamburger shops scattered (spread over a large area) around town. Shortly after the great hamburger war started, I visited my cousin who lived in Salina. The first price I remember was five or six hamburgers for $1.00 – about 20 cents apiece (each). Then the price dropped to eight for a dollar. The lowest price I remember before a truce* was called (the war ended) was 15 hamburgers for a dollar – less than seven cents each! Needless to say (obviously), we ate a lot of hamburgers that week!

“In Manhattan Pizza War, Price of Slice Keeps Dropping” is the New York Times article that started all this reminiscing (talking about pleasant events in your past). Pizza usually sells for about $1.50 per slice at Bombay Fast Food in Manhattan (the “downtown” part of New York City). At least it did until Joey’s Pizza offered (sold) its pizza slices for $1.00. Soon after, Bombay shrank (reduced) its price to $1.00, and everything seemed to be good. That is until 2 Brothers Pizza, almost next door to Bombay, dropped its price to 75 cents per slice including sales tax. The Bombay owner is upset. He thinks 2 Brothers is trying to put him out of business (ruin his business). But not everyone agrees. Many in the neighborhood say that Bombay started the war. Oren Halali, a member of the family that owns 2 Brothers, says they’re determined to win and promised that “We might go to free pizza soon.”

You’ll have to excuse me (allow me to leave) now. I’m on my way (going) to Manhattan. If they’re giving away free pizza, I want to be there!

* A truce is an agreement to stop fighting; it can be temporary or permanent.

~ Warren Ediger – creator of Successful English where you’ll find clear explanations and practical suggestions for better English.

The pizza picture is in the public domain.

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18 Responses to Some Wars Make Me Hungry

  1. Barbara says:

    I welcome price wars.

    It happens here too, llike beef rice bowl “gyuu don” in Japanese.e

    Yosinoya is the first chain fast food, later second chain Sukiya drops its price to against Yosinoya.

    Keeping competition then benefits customer.

  2. Betty says:

    Thank you very much indeed, Warren, for this mouth watering article. It is also a drama story in itself.

    I haven’t had my breakfast yet and your article is making me very hungry.

    You’ll have to excuse me now. I’m on my way to the kitchen to make myself a cup of English tea and then I shall have some cereal.

    I wish I am in the New York City right now so that I can have my favorite pizzas for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

    Thanks again, Warren, you are great!

    Betty ^•^

  3. Saad says:

    Your website ‘s language is American or British english ? which?

  4. emiliano says:

    I have to think for a while if I want to remember something similar here in Madrid but I afraid I can not remember
    any war prices like those you have mentioned to us dear Warrem.
    When I have a car it was usual to see people waiting to fill the tanks when it was anounced that prices were going
    to increase, that´s all. bùt prices going dow?. that´s very odd, not here at least as far as I could remember.

    It should be good for once to see this war prices here, now than so many persons are out from goods market
    and there is so few money to buy anything.
    Looking in the Wikipedia about this man Fco. Vazquez de Coronado it has been shoking for me, I knew nothing
    about this man even nothing about his search for the seven cities of gold, but it seems to me he was just some
    way just like mad looking for the gold and doing so wrong things.
    Not everything was so wrong as he was the first spanish man to discover the Grand Canyon and some other
    wild lands in USA.
    Something about this man appears in the third Indiana Jones movie “Indiana Jones and the last Crusade”…its
    Interesting and good information, thanks a lot Warren.


  5. Betty says:

    I don’t know why, I followed the link to the New York Times article, read it, and felt really sorry for all the pizza shops owners.

    Is it really necessary to have a price war? In the long term, who is going to benefit and who is going to suffer?

    Even the customers are not going to benefit, over-eating can cause problem to people’s health.

    I want to take back what I said in my message above. No, I would not want to have pizzas for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. It is not right to take advantage of some people’s weakness.

    It is Good Friday now in the U.S. I do not have any religion or belief, but I welcome it as a holiday for many people in the world. Hong Kong currently observes Good Friday as a holiday for ‘White Collar’ workers, but not for ‘Blue Collar’ workers. I wonder why.

    Happy Holiday if you are having one!

    Betty 🙂

  6. Mai says:

    hello everybody here
    I want to ask some questions to you for how to use the podcasts ?
    now, there are almost 1120 podcasts here, right?
    and i’m new here and I want to listen to all of them of course to get better
    am I begin from first podcast or listen from now only
    and each podcast should listen a lot of times or just one time enough
    and also if one time enough can I listen to 5 podcasts each day or more
    or one podcast each day enough
    please help me to learn English with you all
    and should I write in a note book each word or phrase new
    or Should i contract with listening only

    at finally thanks to this great podcast for learning english

    thanks in advance
    see you again

  7. Peter says:

    I gotta hand it to you Warren. Very rich post,vocabulary wise.
    You know ,three is sth about your posts. Everytime I read them through,at the end,when I m done with the post, it feels like I have read a book not just apost.
    Fellow Citizens , do u feel the same.
    It is wiered , but , it never fails(thank Lucy) it happens like every time.
    The way you compose your posts is rich ,man
    I should go back and read it all over.
    There is always more to your posts than initially meet the eye.
    Back to the post,
    Dear Warren,Last time I checked pricing is not a free for all. I mean ,by laws , business owners must meet some criteria. By that I mean , they are bound to follow some regulations, in orher words,they are subject to a certain price range legislated by the government regulating the price fluctuation in market. Otherwise ,there would be a chaos my man.don’t you think.
    To my best of knowledge, in Canada , there are such terms and conditions circling around pricing the products.
    I don’t know how things going down in U.S. ,but my impression ,understanding if you prefer was that americans and Canucks (nice touch ,don’t you think warren)
    Do things pretty much the same.
    Canucks : a slang term for Canadians
    Canucks= Canadians

    The numbskull :))

  8. Peter says:

    Fellow citizen of Eslpod ,
    I have a suggestion ,rather proposal to you particularly for Betty and Emiliano as the older members of the genius work of Jeff that you kids call it eslpod these days:)
    You know , somehow automatically , we students of eslpod , has put together a collection of our works over the years of our interaction with the blog. As constant participants of the blog, you guys, in particular Emiliano , has created a trail of your writing back to the early days of eslpod.
    If what I just alluded (insinuate ) is right
    it means that we can go back and check our work ,comments if you will, and trace the improvement of our own writing up untill now.
    Guys , I did it
    And, I m amazed that how lousy writer I had been back then. And, I am wondering how Jeff and Lucy could have put up with my error-riddled comments
    However, my suggestion is you do the same. Go check your early works and detect your improvement over the years. Trust me, you will be amazed as I was.
    And more importantly , you would realize the importance of regular involvement with the blog; moreover you will feel more appreciative towards the geniuses behind the whole creation of the blog ,that are Our dear professor Jeff and Lucy.
    I m
    Not brown nosing here , I m just hobnobbing 🙂
    I m
    Just saying ,it feels good to see how our blog is effective. Plus, it would be a good incentive ,and momentum to move us forward.
    Just do it ,and feels good about yourselves as I did

    The numbskull:))

  9. Peter says:

    Dear Mai ,
    Here is my two cents,
    I always listen to the slow rate of dialog there. And try to understand as much as I can. Then I listen to Jeff addressing the terms lucy put in the dialog. As you know , the words and expersions applied in easch episodes are meant for us to learn.
    Remember , still ,I didn’t touch the relevant script of the lesson. Then when I m done listening to jeff explaining them.
    I relisten to Jeff and try to writ down on a notebook I have as much as I understand and also what interests me. Then, I listen to the faster rate of speak at the end of each listen. When I m done with all of this steps. I play back the slow rate portion of the lesson while reading the script as Jeff and Lucy play the dialog. That way I realized how much I undderstood right.
    Oh , I forgot the most important part. First of all , I read the title of lesson and try to think in English about the title and what I know about it
    And sometimes I read a line or two about it.
    What is more, I never study 4 or 5 Lessing at a time. I listen to one or two max.
    Here ,what I do
    Perhaps, other our dear classmates have better approaches to share with us.
    I really ask my dear classmates to pool their suggestions here. They might be helpfull to all of us

    Good question Mia


  10. Betty says:

    Hi Mai

    In my opinion, there are lots of very good podcasts from the very beginning. You will enjoy every one of them. There are many years of podcasts. I think it is hard to listen to many of them in one day. So, just play by ear. Try out all the different methods yourself to find out which one is most suitable for you.

    All luck to your learning.

    Look forward to reading more of your messages here.

    Best regards

    Betty 🙂

  11. Betty says:

    Sorry, Mai,

    I meant to say ‘good luck to your learning’, I think my finger is once again not listening to my head!

    So I shall say it again,

    Good luck to your learning.

    Best regards

    Betty ^•^

  12. Mai says:

    Hi Peter, nice to meet you
    thanks for your time to answer me.
    and I’m beginning already with the podcasts as 2 lessons per day.
    and you have a great steps you listen to podcast, good luck

    are there another answer to my question here

    I will listen to the lessons as much as I can.

    thank you Peter

    see you soon

  13. Mai says:

    Hello Betty,
    nice to meet you
    and thanks for your wishing to me
    I will do my best with your encouraging all
    see you again

  14. emiliano says:

    Well, Mai I think I have to give you all my best wishes and a warm welcome to the blog and
    to the ESL site, of course if you want to improve as much as possible it would be good for
    you and for everone to suscribe the Guides that helps quite a lot to understand everything
    what is said by Jeff and Lucy, even also to adquire the good habit of read a high level of
    good English, in fact the best you coud find in the web or every place.

    After being here for at least six years I have the knowledge to cofirm that without any
    doubts at all.
    Jeff, Lucy and Warren are like close friends to several of us all round the world.

    The best site, the best voices, the best teachers, the best guides and just a lot of friends to read
    your opinions and thoughts.

    Go ahead, also be in mind that a lesson and a guide is enough every day without
    any exceptions.
    After the first month you´ll see the results.

    Greetings, emiliano

  15. Mai says:

    hi Emiliano
    thank you for your advice to me and for your warm greeting to me
    and I hope you are doing well as you say that it is 6 years for you at eslpod site

  16. emiliano says:

    Yes, that´s for sure Mai.

    ESL Podcast it is something more than to learn English, it is a way of living
    as it represents just a lot of good feelings about friendship, life, opinions,
    and the warm companion of Jeff and Lucy every moment you like to be
    with them.
    If you see in the site how so many opinions are from hundred and
    hundred of listeners you´ll be concious about this subject.
    To me it is a privilege some how to form part of this quite big family
    that is ESL podcast and the Blog where so frequently lots of friends
    are giving me their ideas, opinions and friendship.

    My best, emiliano

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