Speed Reads

the snack market

The future of America may depend on whether Hill staff crave a sweet or salty snack

Politico reports that congressional staff on Capitol Hill maintain an extensive black market — in snacks! — with the support of their bosses. It's common practice for senators and representatives to keep a small stockpile of snacks and drinks native to their region in their offices. Some of the snacks are shared with visitors, but many are traded by staff to coworkers, interns, and staff in other offices in exchange for new snack options — and political favors:

The covert snack economy is not just a way for hungry staffers to seek out chocolate-covered macadamia nuts from Hawaii or Lay's chips from Texas. It's a system for aides, especially low on the totem pole, to make friends, forge informal alliances and, ultimately, help keep Capitol Hill functioning. [Politico]

The snacks are generally donated by producers as a promotional effort. Popular items include Chobani yogurt at the office of Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) and Pop-Tarts provided by Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.). The first season writers of House of Cards apparently missed a great opportunity to feature then-Sen. Frank Underwood wheeling and dealing with some South Carolinian boiled peanuts. --Bonnie Kristian

(via Politico / click to enlarge)