In Problem 1, we were given the task of creating a fresh, edible peanut butter and jelly sandwich. With a budget of USD $20.00, it was our responsibility in groups to determine how the money was going to be distributed. All physical materials, instructions, and additional documents needed to fit in a 9″ x 9″ x 9″ truck. Beep!
We were given references from a designer and sent off to fend for ourselves in the jungle that is the local supermarkets. We rationed our money accordingly and made sure to spend as little as possible, without compromising the quality of the ingredients to our best ability. We bought smaller portions of ingredients, as we knew we were going to most likely scrap the rest. We did chase students around, offering them contingency 12-grain bread.
Making the sandwich was a fast, simple task. Keeping our receipts and change were protocol. The challenge was creating instructions good enough for a computer to follow. We had to make sure that we didn’t assume the person knew what we were talking about, as all people do not have the same experience with handling certain tasks. We made about three different drafts of the instructions, thought about swapping instruction bullet points around, and finally turned it in. We made sure to account for mistakes and damaged materials during load-in, so we packed extra materials in the truck just in case.
You’d be surprised at how robotic humans can be when given a set of instructions. Thankfully, we had Vin to individually test out our instructions for the project in the most transparent way possible, where he exclusively used the instructions he was given to make our peanut butter and jelly sandwich. We all silently watched him make five sandwiches using instructions given, and it felt like a lengthy performance piece by Marina Abramovic.
Our instructions weren’t specific enough. While two teaspoons seemed like plenty of peanut butter and jelly for a single sandwich, it made for a very thin layer of jelly in presentation. It was then that we realized that the designer drawings required more ingredients to create that flawless, gooey aesthetic of the perfect sandwich.
What could be done for the next PB&J 2K?
Testing out the instructions on a physical sandwich, as opposed to eyeballing it based off of personal preferences, is something I’d definitely do in a situation like this. Had we done that prior to load-in, we could have determined how many ingredients it actually takes to successfully achieve the designer’s vision while also taking the funds for it into consideration.