BOULDER, CO—Lunchtime trading at the Franklin Elementary Snack Exchange was up 34 swaps at the closing recess bell Tuesday, an unprecedented frenzy of activity triggered by the trade of a Ziploc bag of Herr's Extra Thin Pretzels for a Little Debbie Fudge Brownie.
Snack market analysts say the windfall is reminiscent of the famed 1998 Mott's Apple Juice juice box for Hostess Fruit Pie exchange, in which a previously undervalued snack outperformed virtually all expectations. However, unlike yesterday's trade, the '98 deal had little cumulative effect on the market.
Speaking from the wrapper- littered trading floor, longtime Herr's snackholder Brian Genschen, 9, said that his deal with trader Jeff Fraser, 8, came close to collapsing.
"At first I only wanted to give him a handful of pretzels, but when he said 'no way,' I knew I had to sweeten the deal," said Genschen, who subsequently agreed to increase his initial offering price to the entire bag of pretzels. "Then he was like 'okay.'"
Genschen has of yet indicated no interest in an initial public offering of the fudge brownie, and said he expects Fraser to honor the terms of the deal.
"No trade backs," Genschen said.
Known for his astute snack-trading judgment, Genschen based his trade on simple observation. Noting that Fraser's lunches had contained the individually wrapped brownies for over a week, Genschen surmised that he "was probably sick of them by now."
Critics of Genschen, who claim that he actually obtained insider knowledge when he snooped in the Frasers' pantry during a recent sleepover and found six boxes of snack cakes, pelted him with grapes.
"That's totally so not fair—now everyone will want me to trade away all of my Swiss Cake Rolls," Tracy Cabanne, 9, said. Like many with extensive snack-cake holdings, Cabanne hoped that the sudden demand was only a temporary trend. Nevertheless, the fourth-grader appeared to support a diversification strategy to compensate for any potential losses, telling her mother after class to buy the Frito-Lay variety pack next time she was at the store.
Genschen said he felt he made the best trade of his elementary school career, despite being plagued by subsequent hostile takeover attempts on his brownie, which he deposited in his K-Swiss backpack. And while he took a notable loss on the pretzels, Genschen maintains that he has sufficient liquid assets in his 16-ounce strawberry Nesquik.
"Anybody want to trade something for grapes?" Genschen said. "They're still pretty good. I'll trade them for some of those blue chips."
The impending bell created turmoil as anxious traders attempted to avoid rapid devaluations by dumping their snacks. While some were able to make substantial gains, the activity resulted in a flood of Sun-Maid raisin boxes and an estimated 56 feet of Fruit by the Foot. However, school lunch experts cautioned that no matter what happens with smaller commodities, pizza will always remain the gold standard.
"I'm pretty excited with the way things are going—maybe I can finally get rid of these celery sticks," Kevin Griebe, 8, said. "My mom never packs good lunches."
Many are blaming the current trading atmosphere for today's irrational playground exuberance, which resulted in the tossing of a whole-grain bagel onto the roof of the school building. Yet others are quick to point out that the volatility is symptomatic of an economy still recovering from a gummi bear market.
Nationwide, the NASNAQ closed at 2,261, up 54 points from the previous lunch period. With spikes in trading volume, the potato chip lost ground to the pretzel, mutual Funyuns rose, and Cheese Nips continued to have a bite-sized share of the market.
Despite the more adventurous mood, trades with the Indian kid remained steady at zero, as his lunchtime commodities are generally deemed a totally gross domestic product.