The Tooth Fairy is first and foremost a rank capitalist. I know some people would disagree with this statement, but I’m sticking to it. History shows that on average the Tooth Fairy values a tooth from the head of a child from a wealthy family much more than one from the head of a child from a poor family, because on average she has always paid a good bit more for the former. In fact, the Tooth Fairy skips altogether visiting the children in the homes (or shelters) of many of the very poorest among us. That’s cold, but probably purely market-driven.
What has never been known is what kind of nether-nether market the Tooth Fairy sells her steady supply of millions of teeth on, nor to what purposes the teeth are ultimately put. We can only hope for the best, but it’s all rather suspicious and secretive. One doubts whether the Tooth Fairy pays any real taxes. And it is unlikely that either the IRS or the FBI has a file on her, so it’s hard to track down much accurate information or to hold anybody accountable.
Even so, children seem to be very fond of her. She and I keep using the feminine pronoun out of convention and not because there is any real evidence that she is in fact a "she" visits the average child multiple times during the early years of life, recompensing the tot, like an insurance adjuster, for the pain and suffering of shedding their baby teeth. It’s no wonder she’s so popular.
But there is now evidence that the Tooth Fairy’s operation has finally been impacted by the lingering global economic recession, at least in the United States. While she does source teeth from many countries around the globe, it has been reported in this country that so far in 2011 the Tooth Fairy is paying out, on average, 40 cents less per tooth than she did just a year ago, which represents about a 13% decrease. In 2010 she was leaving $3.00 per tooth under the pillow, while this year she’s forking over only $2.60. Her payments, it must be noted, do vary not only according to the economic status of the families of her recipients, but also, somewhat oddly, by region. In the Eastern parts of the country, for example, children are getting a little bit less for their teeth, while those in the Midwest and Western states are receiving a somewhat more generous dispensation. Noted economists disagree as to why the variance.
What is clear, however, is that the Tooth Fairy’s market has changed and that like any successful entrepreneur she is adjusting her business strategy to respond to conditions on the ground. With reports still coming in, it is being looked into as to whether it is an across-the-board reduction that is taking place, with each child seeing a roughly equal percentage of the cut, or whether it is slanted more along the lines of the recent United Auto Workers contracts, whereby the newest arrivals in this case, the children losing their first teeth are bearing most of the brunt. The latter does seem the most likely, as it makes the most business sense, and so the per tooth loss of income to the newest of us is going to be a good bit more than the national average, at least for the foreseeable future. It is unclear as yet what if any long-term effects this might have upon the future business behavior of these young people.
As more information becomes available as to what are the drivers behind this financial change, it is hoped by many toddlers that solutions can be found and that they can be rescued from this unfortunate damper on their economic position. Unless it can be shown to be due only to the recession suggesting that it is actually a universal and not merely a global phenomenon one has to wonder what else has changed in the fairyland exchange rate for baby teeth or baby teeth products.