Food: Restaurant: Money
Half-life Bakery   (+6)  [vote for, against]
3-day-old buns - 87.5% off

Unsold baked goods are traditionally piled on the counter under a sign that says "Day olds - half price". Presumably they are binned the next day if still unsold.

A bakery adopting the new half-life pricing regime takes the "day old" concept to the logical extreme by halving the price again the next day, further halving it the following day, and so on. You see where this is going.

This hopefully will help prevent bakeries from going bust, which is an ongoing problem, and perhaps help nourish graduate students.
-- the porpoise, Mar 05 2014

Spikes Described
Here is where they could send the bread relics rejected by SAS. (Reading this in some jurisdictions is probably a copyright infringement, so perhaps it's best to just copy the link and wait for your Australian trip later in the year.) [skoomphemph, Mar 05 2014]

More info on railway sandwiches. http://www.thegoons...way_sandwich_system
I'm almost sure I was once able to locate these sound tracks -- early podcasts, I suppose they must have been. [skoomphemph, Mar 05 2014]

Heaviside Step Function http://en.wikipedia...iside_step_function
Incredibly useful [8th of 7, Mar 05 2014]

On the fourth day, spore the product with pennicillin, then start reraising the price day by day.
-- FlyingToaster, Mar 05 2014

They could even have a continuous loss-of-quality function that keeps adjusting the price all day, every day. People could watch the screen and wait for the batch to go down in price, or wait until some fresher bread arrived.

Very fresh bread could probably be sold at a premium, even. To buy bread at the conventional price, one would have to wait till the afternoon to buy morning bread.

Round about closing time they could even try auctioning off what's left, setting reserve prices according to expected future profit.

Of course the main problem is if you sell your bread this way, you go into competition with yourself. There's no guarantee that people will value better bread enough to pay for it.

So maybe the thing to do is just build the losses into the price, and donate stale bread to the local spike?
-- skoomphemph, Mar 05 2014

On drawing the quality / price relation, the optimally fresh edible bread would be highest, with the curve tapering down at points later (staler) and earlier (undercooked).

I hope very stale bread is given to chickens or ducks, not just sent to the dump.
-- bungston, Mar 05 2014

Oh. Disappointment...

I was hoping for some scaling method for the value of the votes on one's ideas, based on their age. Would a bun from the pre 2004 era demand a high price? Would one from the first generation [UnaBubba] be worth more than a latter one?
-- normzone, Mar 05 2014

// Presumably they are binned the next day if still unsold. //

We find your naïve optimism has an almost charming quality, [porp].

Perhaps it's time you knew the truth.

If the "day-old" bread is not sold, it enters a different supply chain. In Ye Goode Olde Days, such items were collected into large brown- paper parcels and taken to the Post Office. These parcels were then delivered in large canvas sacks to rail lineside gantries, from whence they were collected by a net "catcher" affixed to a passing Travelling Post Office sorting coach. The packages of bread were then separated out and passed to the buffet car, where they (and the brown paper they were wrapped in) were used in the manufacture of a durable, leathery substance resembling the sole of an army boot, wrapped in toxin- laden remanufactured heavy grade plastic sheeting (mostly obtained free from the nuclear industry as controlled waste) and proffered to the travelling public under the misnomer of "ham sandwiches", at about half the purchase price of an average family car.

Those in the know would eat the wrapping (which was less toxic and had a nicer texture) and throw the sandwich away.

Any sandwiches left at the end of the week were stored in silos fr extended periods, and then reprocessed (we use the word advisedly; strong acids and a lanthanide/actinide separation were involved) into the filling for British Rail Pork Pies, until they were banned under the relevant Chemical Weapons treaties.

Since then, an alternative disposal route has been pioneered. The bread is collected and taken to regional depots, where it is freeze- dried, then treated with various solvents until all the flavour, vitamins and minerals have been extracted, leaving a rigid husk resembling gypsum plaster. These husks are then loaded into shipping containers and transported to Scandinavia. Some are then sliced, pressure-impregnated with bran, woodshavings and cellulose, and sold as "crispbread"; those items rejected by quality control are rehydrated using a controlled blend of cat urine, bath water and stale lager, filled with a glutinous lumpy paste described as "curried fish", wrapped in a condom, and served to business-class passengers flying with SAS between Stockholm and Copenhagen, or vice versa. No-one knows what the poor buggers in steerage get; no-one has yet survived to tell the tale.

All that is needed for this problem is a local online market in bread futures, shirley ?


[skoomphemph], try BBC Radio 4 Extra. And yes, they compare very unfavourably with Batter Pudding - mainly because You Can't Get The Wood, You Know.
-- 8th of 7, Mar 05 2014

[1.142...], the profits on Melba Toast must be staggering.
-- the porpoise, Mar 05 2014

The Medellin Cartel have erotic dreams about achieving that sort of profit margin.
-- 8th of 7, Mar 05 2014

This entire idea is premised upon the assumption that the freshness qualities of baked goods degrade on a half-life curve, or any curve for that matter.
-- Alterother, Mar 05 2014

Not so much a curve as a Heaviside step function (q.v.) <link>
-- 8th of 7, Mar 05 2014

There is a growing population of folks who do *dumpster dining*. They are *freegans* and will eat anything they find that is not totally rotten or stale. Of course the homeless population have been doing this for years, but now people who are against *too much wasting* in our society are doing this, also.
But - what [normzone] said!! too funny!
-- xandram, Mar 06 2014

Older bread requires less dough.
-- AusCan531, Mar 06 2014

Hmm ... it would be the sum of some demand curve, and the Heaviside step function, multiplied by the Cumulative Overnight Decay Induced Reduced Demand Factor. At least that would model things for day 1 and day 2.

But to bring in day 3, you'd have to feed the extension of the day 2 part of the summed function in, as the demand curve from the day before, and apply the Cumulative Overnight Decay Induced Reduced Demand Factor Decay Function to the Cumultive Overnight Decay Induced Reduced Demand Induced Reduced Demand Factor (to get the corrected decay factor ... thing ...)- and so on, recursively.

I think most bakers would have just sent the bread to the spike by then.
-- skoomphemph, Mar 06 2014

random, halfbakery