People, Prices, Haggling and Other Inconsistencies

in discussion •  3 months ago

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I swear, sometimes I just don't "get" the human species!

How is it that someone can stop in at some mega-chain 7-Eleven store and spend $6 on a fabricated burrito and a soft drink... and do so without a second thought...

... and yet, they'll go to some arts and crafts fair and moan and groan because getting a freshly made burrito and homemade lemonade is also $6 and that individual operator is "SOOOOOO expensive and just ripping people off?"

And THEN — to top it off — they sit in their living room and wonder why the mega-corp Wal-Marts are taking over the world while mom-and-pop operators are going out of business and end up flipping pre-fab burgers for minimum wage at McEvil's.

Just a little awareness... PLEASE!

What do YOU think? Are people often wildly inconsistent in the way they perceive things that are essentially the same? If you have noticed something like the above, WHY do you think it happens? Leave a comment-- share your experiences-- be part of the conversation!

20180905 10:32PDT


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One of my favorite areas of study is behavioral economics. Richard Thaler’s book Misbehaving is excellent and I highly recommend it. Based on your blog I think you would thoroughly enjoy it.

Anyhow, one of the experiments he ran went something like this: he asked two groups of people to imagine they were at the beach and their friend offered to go back to the street and buy them a Coke. They asked what the dollar amount would be that they would be willing to give the friend to purchase the drink.

The first group was told their friend would buy the drink from a run-down old bodega. The second group was told their friend would buy the drink from the bar of a fancy resort. Both groups were told that the drink was identical.

The first group said they would give their friend significantly less money to buy the drink than the second.

So to loop back to your post, I think it all reflects on psychology and what people are conditioned to expect. In this case, we as a society have collectively decided (apparently) that haggling with a sole proprietor is acceptable while haggling with a corporation is not. Why? I have no idea! 😂

It’s fascinating to me though why people act how they act and your anecdote is yet another example of behavioral economics at work. I believe Thaler’s term for this phenomenon was “transaction utility.” So the experience of walking into an air conditioned store to buy a product of standardized quality where the cashier accepts payment with a credit card makes someone willing to spend more money than on the same product purchased outdoors in the heat at a cash-only mobile vendor who won’t be there tomorrow to sue if the burrito gives you food poisoning. Transactional utility at play 🙂

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Furthermore to the point @dollarsandsense.

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I’m in the wrong line of work.

LOVE behavioral economics. Good find, thanks!

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Sounds like an interesting book @dollarsandsense; I took a quick gander at some online reviews and I think you're quite right that I would enjoy it. I have always been of the belief that for ANYone to call themselves an "economist" they should be required to take a minimum of two years of behavioral psychology to understand humans, and specifically to understand the fact that humans are in no way rational or logical... and the whole notion that free markets are "efficient" is pure bullshit.

My personal interest has long been in examining and understanding the psychological aspects of consumer behavior and marketing. Because I always watched people do things that make little sense... and when asking some of those people, even they agreed that what the did made little sense... and yet those were the actions they took.

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Then this book is right up your alley! He has so many interesting studies and experiments in there that show exactly what you’re talking about. And he doesn’t write like a stuffy college professor, either.

He also talks about his split with the traditional economics field and how he came to that same realization that you did: you can’t be a economist if you don’t factor in the human factor.

When people go to the 7-11 they can go 24/7, there's the realization that having that convenience 365 days, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week comes at a higher price. When people go to arts and crafts fairs they are usually out for a day of summer fun (usually family day fun) and don't expect it to come as a high end deal. Arts and crafts fairs use to be a fairly reasonably price events and some even considered to be a bargain buy. A bargain buy would be dollar hot dogs, fifty cent cans of pop, maybe a logo shirt for five bucks, a pair of earnings three or four bucks. Now you go and it's two bucks a hot dog, dollar, dollar fifty for a can of pop, ten bucks for a logo shirt, and three times the cost you buy something similar in earnings just about anywhere in town. Now if you take one of those carnival on wheel deals people will pay those high prices because they took at the expense it takes to travel and sit up, inspections involved, permits, electricity cost, security, etc., they don't see that when it comes to arts and crafts fare where people pitch a tent and set up a table. I don't know if you seen my article I did on when my family went to the zoo, a hundred twenty to thirty bucks we spent for five adults and three kids to have a family day out. We consider it to be a rip off through out the whole zoo. Yeah it's expensive to maintain a zoo but they literally gouge you for every thing they offer. People get offended by that. We paid five bucks just for a small plastic bag of popcorn you could walk into any gas station and get for less than a buck, three dollars for a bottle of pop, two fifty for over sized cookies, we had to forgo the camel rides they raised the price so high, six bucks per kids and that was without a picture, a picture would have been three bucks more. That's still eighteen bucks even if you took your own picture for three kids to ride. We spent seventy some dollars just to get in you'd think they could find something they could sell at a reasonable price to give families a break. I think it's the mindset that's already set inside some people that they automatically know and accept they will be gouged in some places they decide to go, they accept or justify it based on the operation of the expenses involved to provide whatever the entertainment may be, they look at a low end operation like people pitching tents, tables who sat around in their spare time working on a hobby and decided to make a few bucks off that hobby should be just that a few bucks here and few bucks there but at the end of the day they don't expect it to add up to a hundred or more. That's why if I go to a crafts event (which I rarely do) I go through the whole event before deciding what I want to buy the most.

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Pretty much everything seems to have gotten insanely expensive. We barely even go to the movies anymore; two adults with drinks and snacks is almost $40 before you even turn your head! And in theme and amusement parks they just nickel-and-dime you to death.

I guess I am possibly more sensitive than most to being gouged by entertainment because I just won't DO it unless I feel the "value" is there. There's a whole lot of stuff I am perfectly content to just do without.

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It's been forever since I've went to a movie. Like you said it's expensive, the movie may have great reviews but you find it just sucks. In my opinion movies were better without all the digital innovation, something got lost along the way there.

Guilty as charged, but I agree with you wholeheartedly... I try to be aware of where my money goes, but honestly, it’s easy to let yourself slip. I grew up in a town (Bham) that is very condusive to buying local, it is widely encouraged and accessible to do so. I’m used to this mindset, so it crosses my mind whenever I spend money... But I definitely spent some dough on DQ yesterday :)

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Sometimes we just spend extra on convenience and that includes the convenience of not having to think much about what we're doing. I think I have almost always been a fan of "shop local" because I have been involved in local businesses for a large chunk of my life.

Valid point @denmarkguy. Hadn't really thought about it but there is some truth to it. Maybe since its a small business owner their inhibitions are a lot less than a major corporation. So they feel they can vent and bitch and moan even though it's the same product and price.

Btw @denmarkguy, just letting you know because of your Content Excellence you've secured a spot on
randrew manuel curation trail.gif
Your Consistency in providing high quality Material is so much appreciated by the Steemit Community that we feel it should be rewarded Consistently :)

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There's just something there that feels like a "grating" level of inconsistency... these same people complain about "big corporate profits" but they begrudge a small individual operator a fair enough price to make a living. Just doesn't sit right with me...

Appreciate being on your manual curation list @robertandrew!

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Appreciate being on your manual curation list @robertandrew!

Yeah, It would be a grave injustice if you weren't. You right up there in the top 1 or 2 out of Steemians who reallly deserve to be seen and "curated"...imo

Hi you @Denmarkguy

When I read your post, I immediately got this song on my mind.


At least he is 'done with the words he's saying' and 'done with the games he's playing.

I think many of us have entered some kind of self imposed hibernation, and others are getting very rich because we don't emerge from it. A kind of standby state.
;-) @Barbro

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Hi @barbro, nice to "see" you here! Sometimes I think it is what self-development "gurus" mean when they say that so many people seem to be "living in a trance" where they just function on autopilot, without really thinking about what they are doing.

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sorry barbro please it's a mistake please return the steem.
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I see this mentality all the time. I really question where the thinking has gone. Oh, wait a minute! They aren't thinking. They are working on remote control, called big advertisers. They would rather go to the place they have bee programmed to go to go for the burger and fries (Mickey D's) rather than across the street where Mom and Pop have really good burgers for the same price. It takes time to reset the thinking, if ever. here are a few people waking up and smelling the coffee...

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Programming. That really is what much of this ends up being about. We all end up in a place where so much is done by people like they were automatons. They end up "thinking" with their conditioning, rather than with their actual senses.

And yes, it does take time to reset... and time to examine why we followed conditioning, in the first place — often related to "dependability." Even if it's crappy, you pretty much know EXACTLY what sort of burger you'll get at McEvil's.

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Yes, but I don't want consistently bad! I want to try new things and then scratch them off my list if they are bad...

howdy sir denmarkguy! haha! I have no idea why people behave the way they do but I'll read the comments and your replies and I'll probably have the answer!

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Well, you're a clever guy @janton... you can often learn a lot more from watching others than by simply jumping onto center-stage, yourself.

Most people's behavior baffles me, at the best of times...

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sir denmarkguy! you have some of the best commenters on this post, very thought-provoking! Plus, you yourself should be an expert after watching the behavior of people in your shop for so long. Actually I don't know how long but I assume for many years?

bytheway, did you auction off that painted rock?
I love the concept that you were using and really wanted to bid but I'm saving every penny trying to get to 500 sp or I would have been in it.
500 sp sounds like a LONG way away! lol.

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Hey Jonboy, well yes, peoplewatching is one of my favorite things to do. I had a store in Austin for 14 years back in the 80's and 90's; now we've had this one here for a few years, and you certainly do get to see the good, bad and ugly, when it comes to human behavior and tastes.

I understand about wanting to save up your SP; your delegation from Asher should help you get there sooner. That particular painted rock didn't sell, but I will try another one soon... last year, I sold four or five of them, using the same system and it went quite well. I just like the idea of trading with fellow Steemians.

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howdy this fine Friday sir denmarkguy! oh that's very cool that it worked well last year to sell them that way, I love the concept and will participate when I get my account built up.
yes the delegation has been a true blessing but he said yesterday that he would have to take it back at the end of the month so I'm dreadfully low again! lol. man this stuff grows slow!

And I appreciate your posts too but I've found that I'm maxed out on how many people I can keep up with so I don't get there each day at least at this point, but at some point I will whittle it down.
the Engagement League has me a little too spread thin!
I guess the business didn't do well enough to stay in Austin?

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Steemit does definitely take some patience! And a lot of people never get their accounts up to much of anything because they drain the earnings almost as soon as they get them.

Yeah, I know Asher is going through his own version of lean times, having to take a job as a bartender to to make ends meet, but I guess we just do what we have to do to make it.

I'm not surprised you can't keep up with everyone... you keep up an almost insane level of engagement every week, and even though many of your comments are like this — basically part of a "conversatio" — you still must be spending most of your time doing this. I just have a few hours here and there, and some days not at all.

The Austin business struggled from 1991 on... first we had a major road construction project at our from door (sound familiar?) when they decided to upgrade 183 from "surface street" to "freeway." That took the wind out of our sails for three years; almost immediately after, the landlord of our shopping center went bankrupt... and we just couldn't dig out.

By the end (1999) I was just ready for a change of scenery and moved west...

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wow sir denmarkguy! so you basically got wiped out for no reason of your own, it was just back luck to be in that location at that time, dang! that had to be hard to take.
is business still stagnant where you are now? or level and not improving in sales?
yeah I read that post of Asher's about the bar tending, hard to see him in that job after being used to seeing him as such a fulltime steemit leader!

but ya gotta do what ya gotta do!
thank you sir for your always thoughtful replies and supreme logic!

what do I think?
I think people, in general, are stupid.
(when they coagulate into groups they get more stupid)

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And the larger the group.... the "denser" the stupidity.
At least that has been my experience... what I generally like to call "the sheep effect."

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the larger the more stupid?
oh hell yeah.
in fact it's exponential.

the thing is that until recently groups were richer and thus more powerful than most individuals.
a rich individual can run rings around big groups. Small Business vs big corps come to mind....hence barriers to entry and regulatory capture...but I digress.

technology is changing that.
individuals are becoming more powerful...groups are becoming more powerful.
individuals are doing it faster.

some individuals are already more powerful than many corporations...or some governments.

they hate that.

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The larger the more
Stupid? oh hell yeah. in fact
It's exponential.

                 - everittdmickey


I'm a bot. I detect haiku.

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Yup.
The status quo hates anything that threatens the status quo.

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the iron law raises it's ugly head once again.

Truly, nature has it's own beauty. Just look at the design and colour of this leaf.

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Nature absolutely has its own beauty... even if that wasn't really what the post was ultimately about.

You're right. Instincts are ruled by people, not by reason. And the brain needs sugar to work. The chain is closed?

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I think I get what you mean, although I suspect a little bit got lost in translation....