HAPPY BIRTHDAY, COOKIE
Read the following story and answer the questions that follow:
When April 2 rolls around again, why don't
you celebrate the birthday of an old friend? On that day in 1912,
the Nabisco company announced "three entirely new varieties of the highest
class biscuit packed in a new style." The company descirbed the new
cookies--or biscuits, as they were then called--in the following way:
The Mother Goose biscuit was "a rich, high class biscuit bearing impressions
of the Mother Goose legends"; the Veronese biscuit was "a delicious, hard
sweet biscuit of beautiful design and high quality"; and, finally, the
Oreo was "two beautifully embossed, chocolate-flavored wafers with a rich
The Oreo has become a familiar friend to
all of us, but the other two "biscuits" were never popular. So Nabisco
stopped producing them after a few years. It was not hte Mother Goose
or the Veronese cookie that rose to fame and is now dunked in mil, crumbled
in ice cream, or rolled into hungry mouths.
Because people like Oreos so much, the
company sells more than five billion of these little sweeties every year.
But where did the unusual name Oreo come from? Maybe it came from
the first chairman of the National Biscuit Company, Adolphus Green.
He knew that oreo was the Greek word for mountain and that in early
testing the cookie actually looked like a little mountain. Or perhaps
the name came from the word or, which means gold, an important color
on the original label.
We don't know where the name came from,
but we do know that Nabisco was one smart cookie when it came up with the
Oreo. But being top cookie is tough. Who knows what might happen?
Consumers could start eating fewer sweets, and the company's production
costs could push prices out of reach for many buyers. The business
is also very competitive, for there is always another tough cookie ready
to take Oreo's place in our hearts and stomachs. But, so far, Oreo
Questions for Discussion
When Nabisco introduced its new cookies in
1912, Nabisco stockholders assumed a risk that was similar to Toad's risk
in wanting to sell chocolate insects. What was the risk?
Why were stockholders willing to assume this
Did the risk-taking turn out to be worthwhile
Did the risk-taking by Nabisco's stockholders
benefit the company's customers and employees? Why or why not?
If you owned stock in the company, would you
be entitled to take a package of Oreos from the supermarket whenever you
wanted? Why or why not?
Council for Economic Education, New York, NY
Learning from the Market: Integrating SMG Across the Curriculum, Lesson 3
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