Archive for September 9th, 2019

Gotcha: You probably paid too much … especially if you’re bad at math.

September 9, 2019

Awhile ago, we reported a study that found when offered two deals on loose coffee beans: 33% extra free or 33% off the price, shoppers almost invariably picked  the “extra free” option.

Wrong answer.

Most shoppers considered the offers equivalent although the discount is by far the better proposition … it would take a 50% increase in the “free” quantity for the offers to be equivalent.

The researchers concluded that

Shoppers are generally bad at math … and easily succumb to the “power of free”.


More generally, consumers are notoriously bad at spotting real values. 

According to the Atlantic ….

  • First: Consumers don’t know what the heck anything should cost, so we rely on parts of our brains that aren’t strictly quantitative.
  • Second: Although humans spend in numbered dollars, we make decisions based on clues and half-thinking that amount to innumeracy.

More specifically, here are some more ways consumers end up paying too much …