Ah - nothing like a five and a half hour car ride to suck the life right out of you! I'm halfway to my Improv Retreat and continued listening to Predictably Irrational. The segment today covered how insane we become when the word FREE is involved. And the best part? The author's examples involved chocolate!
The first experiment involved offering people the choice of buying a Hershey's Kiss for 1 cent or a Lindt Truffle for 15 cents. Now, I do like the Hershey's Kiss, but a Lindt Truffle will make your eyeballs roll back in your head. They are so smooth and creamy - there really is no comparison. The author (Dan Ariely) mentions the fact that Lindt Truffles are made with Swiss Chocolate by a company that's been making them for 160 years. And that Hershey's pumps out 80 million kisses a day.
When offered this deal, 73% of the people bought the Truffles.
However, when the price of each was lowered by 1 cent, making the Lindt Truffle 14 cents and the Hershey's Kiss FREE, guess what happened? 69% of the people wanted the free Kiss.
This is completely irrational. And completely predictable. We can't help ourselves. We want free.
He gives another example. This one not only involving chocolate, but also Halloween. I think I love Dan Ariely. When a Trick or Treater came to his door, he asked the child to hold out his hand. He then placed three Hershey's Kisses in the boy's palm. He then told the child he could trade one Hershey's Kiss for a small Snickers Bar or two Hershey's Kisses for a large Snickers Bar. This kid was no fool - he traded two Kisses for the large Snickers. As did every other kid given this set of options. (I wish somebody would have offered me that deal as a kid. I wish somebody would offer me that deal right now.)
But things changed when FREE got in the mix. The kids were given the same set up - three Hershey's Kisses in the palm. Then they were told they could have the large Snickers for one Kiss or the small Snickers for FREE. 70% of them took the smaller bar for free!!!! And not just the kids, MIT students did the same thing. When FREE enters the picture we lose our minds.
We fall for this in a million different ways - we buy an extra book we don't really want from Amazon.com to quality for FREE shipping. We buy two of something we really didn't want to get the third thing we really don't want for FREE. We line up at conferences for FREE stuff we will later throw away. His advice - when FREE makes an appearance be very, very careful. Make sure you're not settling for something you really don't want just because it's free. (Like those "Kids eat free" offers. Yeah, they eat free, and you eat swill.)
By the way, I do give out FREE chocolate at my chocolate seminars!