A New And Improved Shortcut To Product Evaluation
Commentary
Jonathan Foote
3 May 2001

Remember when the feds reintroduced the two-dollar bill? It bombed. Too young for that one? Okay then, remember that dollar coin, the one with the Native American lady on it Ė you know, the chick who helped Lewis and Clarke paddle through soon to be real estate? Sackajellybeans, something like that. Anyway, another bomb.

So where are they, these Sackajellybeans dollars? In nobody's pockets or cash registers, that's for sure. Iíll tell you where they are. Theyíre off in a government warehouse in Nummnutz, Nebraska, stacked ten-high in crates under forty-two 60-foot-by-60-foot tarps where nobody has to be reminded of them. This is not exactly common knowledge. Iíve gone to a lot of trouble here. I hope you appreciate it, not to mention the use to which Iím about to suggest these Sackajellybeans dollar coins be put.

We high-end audiophile journalists need a tool that transcends mere listening. Measuring instruments are of course out of the question, discredited, vulgar. Nobody in our line of work would ever condescend to mere measurements on which to base an opinion. I blush even to mention this.

Surely the attentive reader has remarked a relationship between a componentís suggested list price and a high-end audiophile reviewerís opinion of how it sounds: the larger the number immediately to the right of the dollar sign on said objectís ticket, the better the reviewerís opinion. According to Mikey F., that turntable-arm combo from an idyllic little town tucked into a fjord on the Maine coast, the one that costs about $73k ó the table thingy, not the fjord ó is by far and away the best heís ever heard, and heís heard tons of íem. Probably literally. A question remains, however: to what height of precision does a componentís suggested retail price square with its audible distinctions? Enter the Sackajellybeans dollar coin. I have gone to some trouble here too, which I hope you continue to appreciate. Okay, hunker down and start frowning:

A Sackajellybeans dollar coin weighs .771-ounce. Now it gets squirrelly. Say the component under review, a speaker, weighs 115 pounds uncrated. (Packaging doesnít count, unless itís a tropical hardwood, and then it does.) Thatís a pair of speakers at 230 pounds, exclusive of corrugated cartons and crude pine crates. Calculate that figure with the .771-ounce figure for a total in ounces. Thatís ounces, not pounds. Then calculate the speaker systemís price, say $11,250.00, with the same .771 figure, this time in inverse, double-quadrennial or even triple-quadrennial Fibonacci sequence (mind the turns, itís slippery out there), and pretend to divide your first total by the second, or the other way around, should the second outnumber the first, and multiply (seriously) this new total ó careful now, the decimal point migrated eastward ó by 771.00. Those simplistic one-to-ten scales? Pathetic! For cretins! The final Sackajellybeans dollar coin figure, based entirely on a componentís price, weight and the high-end audiophile reviewerís mathematical brawn, will be every bit as exquisite as any test finding youíve ever seen in print.

And the coins remain under their tarps in Nummnutz, Nebraska, undisturbed! Talk about conservation! A new day dawns!