Ex-lawyer turned relationship coach

A Fifteen Hundred Dollar Sandwich

A store bought chicken sandwich costs about three bucks. But if you make it from scratch it costs you fifteen hundred dollars. Not to mention six months to grow the vegetables.

Why is there such a big gap between a homemade sandwich and a store bought sandwich?


Imagine a lunchroom where every chef has a different task: preparing dough, taking bread in and out of the oven, chopping up vegetables, putting on the toppings. This division of labour makes each worker more productive.

But specialisation goes beyond the assembly line of the kitchen.

The milk and eggs come from a dairy farmer, the oven was manufactured by an engineer and the honey was collected by a beekeeper.

To make the sandwich from scratch, you have to grow tomatoes and wheat, raise cows for milk, and collect seawater for salt. Next you have to make the cheese, forge an oven and pickle the greens.

Without specialisation you have to do everything yourself.

But today, the entire world is specialised. Individuals almost never make things for themselves.

Instead we stick to the niche we’re good at, do a lot of it to drive down prices, and buy what we need. Specialisation might not be exciting, but it sure is convenient.

By Jeroen Elsing
Ex-lawyer turned relationship coach