Troubled Times

Austin, TEXAS (Reuters) November 2, 2008 - Local Austin prepared foods delivery company, The Soup Peddler, Inc., is seeking to become a bank holding company, a move that would allow it to gain access to a piece of the government's $700 billion financial rescue plan, according to people familiar with the talks. Attorneys for the beleaguered company say that "The Soup Peddler is too small to fail... without the vital services of this company, residents of the City of Austin would have no viable alternatives for procurement of borscht, bigos, bouktouf, or burgoo." A high-ranking City of Austin official added that insolvency of the threatened company "could lead to shortages of cioppino, cocido, and cock-a-leekie" as well and reiterated COA support of the bailout request. A spokesperson for the developers of the contentious Domain Mall project, Simon Malls, rebutted the notion of a bailout for The Soup Peddler, saying that "such use of public funds to 'spread the wealth' to rescue small businesses is an unfair advantage and smacks of an anti-competitive, anti-capitalistic, anti-American, anti-patriotic, quasi-socialist policy direction." He maintained furthermore that he's "concerned over news reports that The Soup Peddler would use bailout money to purchase other struggling soup firms and strengthen its steely grip on the lucrative Austin soup market."

"This is an outrage," local house-challenged cross-dressing mayoral candidate Leslie Cochran said. "Taxpayer dollars should be helping taxpayers, not going to pad the bottom lines of greedy small businesses and the reputedly silken, gilded linings of the Soup Peddler's pockets." He stressed that the facile goals of more "oversight and transparency" would do little to assuage the concerns of "Joe Forty-Ouncers across the country."

In an exclusive interview with Reuters, The Soup Peddler, Inc. President David Ansel repeatedly pulled out his empty blue jean pockets to indicate that his company was in dire economic straits, reporting that he and his staffed had lately been forced to scavenge the neighborhood's private gardens and chicken coops to make up for cash shortfalls. "In times like these, I can't tell you how much I support Mayor Wynn's waiver on urban livestock codes for South Austin neighborhoods."