February 11, 2008
I visit this cafeteria quite regularly, and being a herbivore, I have very limited choicea (egg sandwich and a chocolate milk mini-carton). Everytime, my order remains the same, but the price doesnt.
This lady at the counter bills me for a variable price of anywhere between $2.75 and $3.75 depending on a complex formula (invlolving the day’s tapmaan, NASDAQ index and the color of my shirt). Everytime I try to beat her by guessing the right price, she leaves me surprised. The first time I noticed the “problem”, I tried to confirm by asking her “are you sure it is only $3? yesterday it was a little higher” fearing my karma. But she gave a nonchalant “yes” without reasoning my inquisitiveness.
For a few days I felt cheated, then when I noticed that it averaged out to the advertised price of $3.25, it started getting fun. It was like gambling (which I prefer not to indulge in). This was an interesting sales tactic she unintentionally employed to keep me coming back to this cafeteria (who doesnt like an early morning challenge?).
I guess this is similar to the theory that keeps people’s attention: anything that deviates from the expectability factor catches the eye and appeals.