The Secret Broker: When the chips are down, watch out for seagulls

I was reading an online article on the latest Tesla results, as even though the results were good the stock fell. I was curious as it looked like a ‘buy the rumour, sell the fact’ kind of result.

About halfway down, there was a link to a related story. It was about McDonald’s chips (“fries”), which made me even more curious.

What’s the connection between Tesla and the chips produced by McDonald’s, I thought?

So I clicked on the link and it started me on a journey going back to 1955 and how their recipe for their famous chips has remained basically the same till today. The only major change was in the oil that they now use for frying.

Apparently, using vegetable oil now allows their marketing team to declare them to be ‘fat free’. Okay:

Nope, nothing wrong here.

Try telling that to all the bargearses who walk around my local shopping mall in Lululemon and cycling Spandex. The only exercise those pants see is a very slight stretch as their owners lean out of an oversized SUV window to tap ‘n pay for their diet coke and fat-free chips at the drive-thru.

How do I know this?

Well, like every human being since 1955, every so often I have an uncontrollable urge (hangover) to buy a cheeseburger and chips at my local Maccas.

They never look like the advert on TV and after I’ve consumed both, I swear never, ever to do it again.

Until the next time, where once again I’ll stare in fascination at the car in front as a wobbly arm stretches out – with a whale tattoo that may have once been a dolphin – to tap ‘n’ pay for a daily fat-free treat.

Apparently, according to my distraction link, McDonald’s customers consume 3 billion pounds (1.3 billion kilos) of potatoes a year. If each chip produced was stretched out end to end, they would circumvent the world 424 times.

It’s too much. I eventually tear myself away from this horror story and get back to the original Tesla announcement, where it turns out the chips are actually silicon chips.

There currently is a worldwide shortage of them, apparently, and Elon needs them for his cars. In fact, every car manufacturer relies on these chips to control engines and all their gizmos.

Car manufacturers worldwide have had to stop production lines, as just one missing chip means a car cannot function. The main cause for this shortage is world demand (you can include cryptocurrency and gaming as major contributors) and a recent fire at a major chip producer’s factory has counded the problem.

I don’t think it is going to affect Australia too much, until I am reading about a low-end listed company called Buddy, which has just been suspended. I’d list the code but someone has pointed out on Twitter that BUD may not come back.

Reading their latest ASX announcements, they’ve had a shocker.

Previous announcements of sales revenue have been wrongly accounted for (read “gone the wrong way”) and it’s only towards the end of their management explanation waffle that they drop a real clanger.

The manufacturer of BUD’s app-controlled household lightbulbs had sold all the silicon chips that had been set aside for them. So, no chips, no lightbulb, no product.

The quote from the announcement goes like this:

“…whilst the Company was in trading halt last week, the Company’s supply and operation team was notified by the Company’s manufacturers in China that an entire production run’s allocation of a critical semiconductor component for the Company’s smart light (which was being held on behalf of Buddy by the supplier) had been sold to a third party without the Company’s knowledge. This component, an LED driver chip, is found in everyone of the LIFX products and is currently in significantly high demand across the manufacturing landscape ranging from consumer electronics to automotive, and the Company understands that the present situation is unprecedented, and as a result without that required LED driver chip component, the Company’s manufacturing activities have ceased until further notice.”

Having read this, I was wondering if maybe Elon had swapped some of his Bitcoin holdings for all of the chips that Buddy thought was coming to them.

However if you do happen to be a long-suffering shareholder of BUD, my advice to you is don’t fret, pet. McDonald’s have billions of them!

The post The Secret Broker: When the chips are down, watch out for seagulls appeared first on Stockhead.

Barry Stroman was a reporter for Zerg Watch, before becoming the lead editor. Barry has previously worked for Wired, MacWorld, PCWorld, and VentureBeat covering countless stories concerning all things related to tech and science. Barry studied at NYU.

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