I recently wrote an article my visit to the Shake Shack. The food was quite good as was the milkshake, but I expressed some disdain for the high price of my meal. It’s not exactly news that the price of food, especially desserts, has skyrocketed over the past few years. What’s further shocking is that we’re essentially living in an era where these prices are par for the course.
In the 1994 film Pulp Fiction, John Travolta’s character Vincent Vega expresses shock, awe, disgust, and whatever other emotions you can think of for the five-dollar milkshake sold by the restaurant Jack Rabbit Smith’s. The Shake Shack is not too dissimilar in design to Jack Rabbit Smith’s and appears to have similar prices. What was seen as a noteworthy plot point in Pulp Fiction now serves as a reality for the rest of us.
Should we put up with the five-dollar milkshake? To some, the concept seems ridiculous. One can obtain a tub of ice cream and a gallon of milk for five dollars, which could make many more milkshakes than the rather medium sized shake served by the Shake Shack.
Are all milkshakes created equal? The same logic I just used would not apply as well to food, which contains far more variables in terms of quality of ingredients and preparation. The same argument may apply for the quality of said milkshake, but certainly not for the preparation.
The milkshake at the Shake Shack is far better than one that I could prepare with ingredients from the supermarket. That wouldn’t necessarily continue to be true if supermarkets started to sell large quantities of gourmet custard. The Shake Shack uses superior ingredients and therefore can charge a higher price for its goods without incurring the justified wrath of the American public.
That doesn’t mean that the five-dollar milkshake should become the standard. If places like McDonalds started to get the idea to raise the prices on their far inferior shakes, the American people will be robbed of their hard earned money due to an unfair shift in the perception of the value of milkshakes. The Shake Shack is setting a potentially uncomfortable precedent. Just because their five-dollars shakes are worth the money doesn’t mean that other shakes will be worth the same amount.