Prohibition Drives Fast Food Underground?Friday, May 17, 2013
The actual story, which accompanies the global media reports of the underground smuggling operation that illegally routes KFC contraband to Gaza, however does illustrate the lengths to which people will go to obtain their crunchy fat, salt and sugar fix.
The report in the International Herald Tribune describes the distance KFC has to travel as,
“…a journey that involved two taxis, an international border, a smuggling tunnel and a young entrepreneur coordinating it all from a small shop here called Yamama — Arabic for pigeon.”
According to this report, the entrepreneur, a Mr. Efrangi (aka “the Kentucky guy”),
“..has coordinated four deliveries totaling about 100 meals, making about $6 per meal in profit. He promotes the service on Yamama’s Facebook page, and whenever there is a critical mass of orders — usually 30 — he starts a complicated process of telephone calls, wire transfers and coordination with the Hamas government to get the chicken from there to here.”
While the report focuses on the “resilience” of the Gaza inhabitants, who are merely seeking to live a “normal life”, the story does speak to the lengths that people will go still their “cravings”.
While Mr. Efrangi, for logistical reasons, limits his orders to chicken pieces, fries, coleslaw and apple pie, he may not be in business for long.
As the Tribune reports,
“A Gaza businessman who asked to be identified only by his nickname, Abu Ali, to avoid tipping off his competitors, said he applied for a franchise from KFC’s Middle East dealer, Americana Group, two months ago. Adeeb al-Bakri, who owns four KFC and Pizza Hut franchises in the West Bank, said he had been authorized to open a restaurant in Gaza and was working out the details.”
Throughout human history, people have desired what is most difficult to get – bans and prohibitions have always made stuff more worth having than before (whilst upping the “cool-factor”) – apparently, junk food is no exception.
As an interesting side note, which perhaps speaks to the “addictiveness” of the KFC formula, some readers may recall that KFC (now belonging to PepsiCo) was at one time owned by R.J. Reynolds (now RJR Nabisco) – the makers of Camel, Pall Mall, Winston and other “choice tobacco products”.