Festivus Poles, Soup Nazi Soup, & More “Seinfeld” Micro-Economies

Remember a time before “Seinfeld”? Of course you don’t. The show that changed television, according to Matt Zoller Seitz, has rewired our brains so that we cannot reach back to a more innocent time when words like “sponge-worthy” and “anti-dentite” meant something else or perhaps nothing at all. It wasn’t 9/11 that turned all Americans into New Yorkers; it was “Seinfeld.” And not surprisingly, a phenomenon that total had — even continues to have, lo these many years later — its own economy, as helpfully detailed today on Vulture.

Some of the fun facts:

$3.1 billion: The amount the show has generated since entering syndication in 1995.

$400 million: What Larry David and Jerry Seinfeld can each make just from the most recent syndication cycle.

Festivus Poles: The Wagner Companies, a Milwaukee railing company, has owned exclusive rights to make Festivus poles since 2005. It sells a steady 800 per year, at up to $39 apiece.

The Bureau of Economic Analysis changed its calculation of the country’s gross domestic product in 2013, creating a new category that counts long-running shows like Seinfeld as investments (rather than expenses). The tweak adds $70 billion to the GDP of the United States.

The Best Dead-end Job I Ever Had: Bike Messenger in the Late ’90s

You probably have an idea of what a bike messenger’s job is like, either based on the many media depictions of the job, from "Quicksilver" to "Premium Rush," or on the fact that in many cities, messengers do seem perennially hurried to the point of madness. Your impression is not wrong, because most messengers work for messenger companies doing piecework—they are paid by the job—so they have an incentive to do as many jobs as possible. That was not my job.

Middle Class Snack Kids

Middle Class Snack Kids were raised without some of the finer things, but with a mindset that life was taken care of in all the important ways. We may not have had that new Walkman, but damnit if there weren’t cookies made by Grandma every day.