In economic jargon it was a question of price elasticity and market penetration.

Would cutting the price by 16 per cent spur sales of a slow-moving consumer product? Would the company get a bigger share of the market by selling at a lower price?

The answer came down from the corporate headquarters at Fairfield, N.J., through the manufacturing plant in Baltimore and the local branch in Hyattsville to the 150 dealers.

Try it, but only in Washington, only for the last half of the season.

And that. Good Humor eaters, is why and Orange-Raspberry Bon Joy Swirl only costs a quarter these days.

Good Humor cut the price by a nickel, and did the same for cherry and grape Hard Italian Ices.

And the price cut worked. "It came very close to satisfying our sales objectives," said Michael O'Keefe, director of sales for Good Humor.

"It was a test, if you will. We selected some items that indicated we were not getting the maximum sales level and made some adjustments."

O'Keefe won't say just how many more Orange-Raspberry Bon Joy Swirls have been licked, slurped and spilled down the front of T-shirts since the price was cut form 30 cents a month ago.

But he insists. "Our street vendors have found it very exciting", almost as exciting as the dynamic duo of simian sweets that Good Humor introduced earlier in the summer: The Monkey Bar and the King Kong.

For parents who never have noticed what their kids are eating or who are unable to decipher the stains, a Monkey Bar is a banana and chocolate fudge goodie and King Kong is a twin-stick, chocolate fudge bar with chocolate coating on the top that even O'Keefe admits "you have to be a chocolate face to enjoy."

There's still plenty of opportunity to try the big hits or the summer bargains, said the chief Good Humor salesman. The trucks will be onstreet until Oct. 15. Sorry, Mom.