Parapluie Economics

Connor Hickle
January 2, 2019

To grossly oversimplify the whole economic concept, the main drivers of price are supply and demand. Depending on how much you need something, you’re willing to pay a higher or lesser price. The same relationship exists with supply, the more or less of something there is the lower or higher the price will be, respectively.

It was a Tuesday. It was a cold, rainy Tuesday. It was the kind of Tuesday that was probably supposed to be a Monday but just showed up a day late to the party.

So there I am, eating lunch at a primo taco spot in Vieux Nice, La Lupita (shoutout half-price taco Tuesday). It’s pouring down rain, uncharacteristically cold for mid-November, and the new biggest regret in my life at the time was forgetting my umbrella at my apartment. Insert an absolute deluge (see what I did there) of street vendors selling what might as well have been gold bars: umbrellas.

Here is where that boring econ lesson at the beginning of this comes in handy. Normally, you can find umbrellas on the cheap-cheap at most tourist spots in Nice, all you have to do is look for the right deal. But, when it’s raining, demand for umbrellas goes up because you have jokers like me forgetting theirs all over the city. So, you guessed it, mobile vendors start pulling a premium for parapluies. An umbrella that might normally run you five euro suddenly becomes a 15 euro piece of modern art with jewel-encrusted handle and gilded inlay to match.

If you can manage to ride out the storm (brutal with the puns today), then the vendors will drop prices right back down. A friend of mine was visiting Rome this semester, and he experienced the same thing. Here comes the rain, and up go the prices. My buddy, being a savvy consumer, waited out the rain and talked a vendor down from fifteen euros to three. The same holds true for a lot of things, especially those targeted at tourists.

I, being a stubborn consumer, refused to overpay for an umbrella that may or may not actually be made of napkins and twigs. Instead, I got soaked, and was begrudgingly satisfied with my “thriftiness”.

Either way, there’s a lesson in the whole situation. Sometimes, the best things come to those who wait. Or, you get soaked because you didn’t buy an umbrella. Yeah, something like that.

Until next time,


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Connor Hickle

<p>I am 21 years old, a rising senior at Wofford College, and I am pursuing a B.A. in Finance. My interests include cars, motorcycles (pretty much anything with wheels), and sports. I pass my free time by hanging out with family and friends, going to the movies, working out, and watching Netflix. A weird fact about me is that I enjoy philosophical discussions.</p>

2018 Fall
Home University:
Wofford College
Simpsonville, SC
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