Barter markets in everything, bring your own restaurant

by on October 22, 2010 at 1:40 am in Economics, Food and Drink | Permalink

On a recent evening, an abandoned gas station with a curb blocked by cement barriers is the meeting point for a group of people who appear to be pulling chairs and tables from the trunks of their cars. It's almost dark. Some boxes are set on the sidewalk; linens and dishes and food are pulled out and what moments ago was an eyesore has been transformed into a popular place to eat. It's called BYOR. That stands for "bring your own restaurant." It's not quite an established venue, but the food is very good.

It's free to those who share. And the ambiance is unexpected as the outdoor location keeps changing. People learn where BYOR is going to be via Facebook. In the mild weather it's "open" every other weekend. No reservations required: just an appetite and some extra chairs if you have them.

What should you infer about Holyoke, the locale of this practice?  The full story is here and I thank Anastasia for the pointer. 

And from China, here is a vending machine for live crabs.

a October 21, 2010 at 11:28 pm

Holyoke used to be a nice city, richer than the average, around forty years ago. Now it's the poor suburb of an ever poorer city (Springfield).

jimibulgin October 22, 2010 at 4:59 am

Vending machine for live crabs- I saw one of those on a street corner in Peoria…….

a leap at the wheel October 22, 2010 at 7:22 am

"What should you infer about Holyoke?"
"Holyoke used to be a nice city, richer than the average, around forty years ago. Now it's the poor suburb of an ever poorer city (Springfield)."
It is about to be gentrified?

CGG October 22, 2010 at 8:18 am

Rahul beat me to the same question. I've usually understood the Japanese preference for vending machines and robots in terms of high labor costs (encouraging people to substitute capital for labor). China should be the opposite.

Perhaps it is selling novelty? or catering to Japanese tourists/businessmen/reporters (the article says the machine is denominated in yen(?!)).

el October 22, 2010 at 9:30 am

Perhaps it is selling novelty? or catering to Japanese tourists/businessmen/reporters (the article says the machine is denominated in yen(?!)).

The report was done by a Japanese tv station, so they converted the RMB prices into yen.

I would not eat those crabs – market prices for Shanghai hairy crabs are pretty high, so if the converted prices are accurate, the likelihood is great that these are not high quality. Not that you should really be consuming that much Chinese seafood anyway, but…

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