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The Lure of the Deal

or How We’ve Conditioned Ourselves to Make the Best Deal Possible Even It’s Not In Our Best Interest

Your friends call, and want you to go to the movies. Your first thought is ‘OMG popcorn’. But it’s a good movie, you want to see it, you want to see your friends and you think *maybe* you have enough willpower to not visit the concession stand because you are not one of the lucky few who are still at their high school weight or enjoy hanging out at the gym. Then you get there, and everyone is buying soda, popcorn and snacks and you think ‘Popcorn is fiber — I do need fiber and I can just get a small.’

This is the lure of the deal. You are trapped in the vortex of pricing vs calories and your willpower is all but obliterated. We’ve been conditioned by the movie industry to believe firmly we can’t sit through a two hour movie without a drink and something to munch on. This is further impressed upon us during the previews with a concession stand commercial sandwiched between admonitions to make sure our cell phones are turned off and not to talk during the movie. So in their infinite wisdom, they give us a deal that doesn’t really have anything to do with how much or how little we want to eat but how much we are looking for a good bargain.

The deal is this : a small popcorn and a large popcorn are vastly different in size and calories, but only two dollars difference in price (at least at my theater). The two dollars for an exponentially larger popcorn is what you’re looking for because who doesn’t love a good deal. The calorie difference is almost 625 calories, though. For those of you still reading, the two dollars gets you from 200+ calories to over 850. That’s a lot of popcorn, and it’s a good deal. Until you eat it all and have guilt over how much you ate compounded by several trips to the restroom because the fiber has done what it’s supposed to do.

Here’s how the logic goes…’you get the large popcorn and you don’t eat it all during the movie and take it home for a snack later.’ It’s a great deal. And this is how the deal lures you into a bad decision. It’s a lot like shopping at a warehouse grocery store.

In my household and I am sure many others, it seems like a great idea to buy in bulk. Because it’s a great deal and that’s hat we’re looking for in life, apparently. The lure of the deal says buy this large container of salad mix or the six avocados in a bag and save money. But unless you are a family of four or six and plan on eating a large salad for at least two meals, probably three or four, that salad is going to become a little slimy around the edges on its’ way to inedible. Which is a good thing for the compost heap or the furry leaf eating creatures in the yard. At the end of the day you haven’t really saved anything. Particularly when all six avocados ripen at the same time and you haven’t defrosted the ten pounds of chicken you bought so you could make shredded chicken enchiladas.

But you got a good deal.

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