In the last chapter, Hayate promised to take everyone living in the Violet Mansion to Yakiniku once the exams were over. It was seen by the general public as a “death flag” – a cue that he would die before the exams ended. As expected, however, Hayate did not die, so he had to live up to the expectations of the girls, and the promise he made.
In other words, he had to fill the grave he dug for himself…
Hayate certainly needed help. As the brilliant minds around him would all be expecting the meal, Hayate could only look for help somewhere else. He had the best option in Sakuya, a very bright and friendly girl. Most importantly, she was rich.
What Hayate was asking for had almost nothing to do with money, however. He wasn’t asking for a job from Sakuya, and he wasn’t asking for a loan either. As he had no money, he didn’t want to spend money at all. In the simplest terms, he wanted a way to have Yakiniku for free…
You know, his mind might be as twisted as his parents’.
Sakuya, after punishing him for his stupid and/or evil idea, showed him a way to get what he wanted without using money – and without breaking the law. Then we came to the main theme of this chapter: Economics.
Disclaimer: Doughnut Gunso has never studied Economics.
The first Economics lesson we have for the day is that, trading doesn’t always involve money. In fact, people began trading even before money was invented. You can get something you want from me by making an exchange for something I want from you, simple as that. This particular type of trading is called bartering.
With the invention of money, people stopped carrying loads and loads of goods around. You can exchange your goods for the cash, then exchange your cash for other goods you want in the market. In this sense, trading with money is a form of bartering. It is just that you get cash instead of goods through bartering.
Basically, trading can be put into a simple “goods for goods” or “goods for money” formula. If you substitute “goods” with “work”, then the idea would become “employment”. We work in order to gain the money we need to buy what we want, and we exchange goods or money with other people so that everybody gets what he or she wants. It sounds extremely ideal, but you have the basic idea of Economics – or should we say Capitalism?
As Hayate did not have money, Sakuya suggested him – to quote Director Komori of the movie – to “return to basics” of trading: bartering. He could exchange whatever he had in hand for something of a higher value, and with a series of carefully monitored exchanges, he would finally be able to get what he wanted most: Yakiniku. As it involved no money, arguably Hayate would have Yakiniku for free.
“Why would someone be so stupid as to giving you something more valuable for the exchange?” you might ask. The idea is that things do not really have a fixed price, and that different things have different values for different people. It all depends on whether anyone would be willing to pay the price, or make an exchange with you, for what you offer.
For example, a Nagi fan might not be interested in the above Hinagiku card, and he wants to get rid of it. Doughnut Gunso then comes by and offers him a Nagi CD in exchange of the Hinagiku card. The Nagi fan might find it surprising that I am offering him something “more valuable” to exchange with him, but it is because the Hinagiku card worths as much as a Nagi CD for me.
The key for bartering, or even general trading, is to find the buyer who values the goods the highest, and pays the goods/money you are asking from them. Remember this point for now, as we will come back to it later.
So Hayate began his own series of bartering with his own back massage cards. We know that these cards were very similar to those Yukiji had given to Hinagiku as her birthday present, but we have no idea if Hayate had made his own version in order to impress Hinagiku. In any case, Sakuya did not find it very impressive, so she gave him her broken walkman in exchange.
Such an old and broken machine would not attract too much attention in the world of iProducts, but Isumi’s mother, Hatsuho, came across, and was highly interested in the walkman. It doesn’t mean that she preferred a walkman to an iPod, because she simply had mistook the walkman as an iPod. An iPod MD, huh?
I could do as bad as mixing up the iPad2 with the new iPad, for your information.
Hatsuho clearly wanted the “iPod MD” from Hayate, so she offered an exchange. Instead of offering one item for Hayate to accept, she asked Hayate to choose one of her two wicker boxes, big and small. One of the old lessons about wicker boxes is that the size of a box doesn’t decide the value of what is inside it, so accordingly the real treasure would be kept in the small box.
Given that he was facing Hatsuho, a very extraordinary woman, Hayate decided to reverse the logic, and bet that the treasure would be in the big box. Given that he was facing Hatsuho, a very, very extraordinary woman, Hayate decided to reverse the logic for a second time, and bet that the treasure would be in the small box. This is the tricky thing about finding out what your opponent is thinking: you might find yourself endlessly reversing logic.
This did not end well for Hayate, as he found a video tape of Winter Sona inside the box. The value of this tape would be very low, as we don’t have many VHS players around anymore. More importantly, given the age of this video tape, it could be unplayable. Hayate blamed his bad luck, but the thing is that, well, he might not be getting anything better from the big box…
Hayate walked on, but Yukiji caught up with him from behind. She was interested in Winter Sona (Big surprise!), so she offered to barter with Hayate – with her half-empty – or half-full, you might say – coffee. This was literally trash, and Hayate refused. Yukiji then offered her old school uniform – that would be at least 10 years old, I guess. This was also literally trash, and Hayate also refused. Annoyed, Yukiji decided that enough was enough, so she grabbed the video tape from Hayate and threw her school uniform down on the ground. Now wait a second – why did you bring your old school uniform with you, Yukiji?
So, with a back massage card, Hayate got a broken walkman. With a broken walkman, Hayate got a video tape. With a video tape, Hayate got an old school uniform. The value of his item had not been increasing; on the contrary, it was decreasing. Bartering did not seem to be working for Hayate, and he was about to give up. Then, there came the saviour of the day: Kaoru-sensei. We all know that Kaoru had had a crush on Yukiji for 15 years, and the “trash” in Hayate’s hands was the “treasure” in Kaoru’s eyes.
And so he paid. Hayate found the correct buyer of his item, and he finally got the money to take everyone to Yakiniku. The bartering was a success, Hayate’s job was complete, and everyone looked happy. However, it is quite certain that Hayate would never reveal how he had raised his funds, for it was rather… perverted, you might say.
It has been argued that Hayate had finally become lucky for once, but I would say that it is just that fate has its bottom line, even for Hayate. After all, if his luck was that bad all along, he would have died over 9000 times, and the story would no longer be enjoyable, even for our most sadistic friends.
In fact, it was not the first time Hayate had faced a turning point in his bad bad luck, but it had never meant that he would become lucky from the moment onward. So, let us expect that Hayate would remain unlucky for most of the story, but he would find his luck in the end when it looked like even he was giving up.
After all, if the main character had lost his life – or at least the will to live – there would be no more Hayate no Gotoku! for us to laugh at, right?