Friday, February 26, 2010

Markets in everything

What happens to those pre-printed t-shirts for championship games, the ones where the team loses?
Our job on Saturday was to pack boxes for the Haitian relief effort – boxes of hats and shirts. We were all arrayed at our folding and packing tables, staring at a seeming mountain of broken-down boxes spewing these articles of clothing. And for some reason lost on us, every single box was labeled in huge block letters with “LOSER”.

You see – these boxes were all full of t-shirts and hats printed for major championship sporting events of the past few years. And at every one of those events, both teams are presented with boxes and boxes of celebratory gear before the game – gear proclaiming them the champions so they can wear them for television as soon as the game ends. I guess I’d never thought about all of those boxes of paraphernalia with the wrong winning team on them. It turns out they get donated to charity – like the mountain of clothing we were about to ship to Haiti.

As I worked on preparing all of this stuff, my mind wandered all over the place. I folded t-shirts proclaiming the Texas Longhorns the NCAA Football champs from the recent game in the Rose Bowl – and wondered again if the Horns would have beat Alabama if Colt McCoy could have played that whole game.

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