Save Money On TV’s and Pick Up Chicks

by A Blinkin on June 11, 2012

Have you ever been hanging out with one of your friends and they say something like this:

“I just love hanging out with Jenny. She makes me feel so pretty.”

-Or-

“Jon never says a word! It’s like I become the talkative one when he’s around.”

Maybe you haven’t experienced the exact dialogue above with Jenny or Jon (oh wait, Jon doesn’t talk) but I’m sure you’ve had a similar exchange. Actually, I have a better example for you.

Have you ever noticed a group of 4 relatively attractive young females? Have you ever noticed that with every group of 4 relatively attractive females there is a 5th unattractive female? She’s usually either 7’0″ tall or 300 lbs and resembles an outside linebacker?

Oh, so you have noticed this? Great! Did you know she’s there for a reason?

My objective is not to offend, but rather bring up an interesting psychological phenomenon. In the above paragraph, there is one word that is more important than all the others. What is it? Do ya give up? It’s sandwiched in between the 4 and attractive. That’s right – relatively. Such a small word with significant impact.

The Theory of Relativity

Albert Einstein and Isaac Newton have covered everything there is to cover when it comes to relativity so I’m going to see if I can come at it from a different angle. An angle that requires less Physics and more Economics.

Our minds are terrible at judging value. A few months ago I asked the important question of How Do You Judge Value? It’s quite difficult for us. Unless we see something matched up to something else, it’s hard for us to put a price on it. Rather than looking at something and coming up with a number, we’re much better at comparing two items and pointing out that which is superior.

Marketers know this. When you go into a store, you are at the mercy of the marketers. You may not realize it, but they have your mind figured out. They can predict what you’ll do better than you can.

Example 1:

Let’s say you are shopping for a TV. On the display at Best Buy, there are two TV’s set beside each other.

Samsung – 42″ – $800

Panasonic – 46″- $900

When given the selection above, our minds don’t know how to process the information. Is the extra 4 inches worth $100? Who knows! I would expect the sales in the above selection to be about 50-50. Those that want the larger TV will buy the Panasonic and those that don’t want to spend as much will lean towards the Samsung.

Example 2:

Let’s say you are still shopping for a TV but Best Buy has introduced a third product to the mix.

Samsung – 42″ – $800

Panasonic – 46″ – $900

Samsung – 46″ – $1050

Now that another Samsung is available to compare OR another 46 incher, we are able to conclude that the Samsung 46″ is clearly the best TV. Right? The majority of consumers would lean towards this purchase. Studies have actually shown 3 out of 4.

The Dating Game

Maybe you don’t believe you fall victim to the “relative” influence, but I’m out to prove that you do. Behavioral Economist Dan Ariely was out to prove the same with a bunch of MIT students. He went around campus taking pictures of attractive students (I promise it’s not as creepy as it sounds). Once he found whom he thought (and others voted) were the two most attractive students, he began experimenting. Dan would show students a picture of “Hot Guy 1″ and a picture of “Hot Guy 2″ and ask who students would rather date. The results were roughly 50-50 when doing so.But then Dan digitally altered a picture of both men.

Now Dan would show students a picture of “Hot Guy 1″ “Hot Guy 2″ and “Not-As Hot Guy 1″ or “Not-As Hot Guy 2.” Whenever Dan would introduce a third choice, 75% of the time students selected the Hot Guy that resembled the distorted photo. It happened because people were able to see that obviously “Hot Guy 1″ is better than “Not-As Hot Guy 1″ therefore he must also be better than “Hot Guy 2.”

Although Dan didn’t actually refer to his subjects as Hot Guys 1 & 2, the experiment was interesting nonetheless.

How Can We Use This To Pick Up Chicks?

It’s rather easy. If you are single and you want to gain more attention at a bar, simply mimic the experiment above. All you have to do is find a lesser attractive version of yourself. If you want to appear better looking to the girls across the way, find a wingman with a similar hair cut and similar height but with slightly crooked teeth. If you want to seem irresistibly witty to a girl at dinner, simply invite one of your dry and dull counterparts.

Just do me a favor: if you’re using your best friend as the “decoy,” don’t tell your best friend you’re using them as the decoy. They probably won’t be your best friend any longer.

Readers: Have you ever noticed this tactic when shopping – be it for TV’s or ladies?

Written by A Blinkin

A Blinkin

Hunter Kern, aka A. Blinkin, is the blogger behind Funancials. His experience in banking, lending, payments and investments has earned him the title of “Personal Finance Guru.” In addition to helping people with their finances, Hunter enjoys crunchy tacos, spending time with his wife and puppy, and writing in third person.

  • http://www.modestmoney.com/ Modest Money

    Haha this is priceless advice. I definitely see that all the time with groups of women. Now I just gotta find some ugly, boring people to hang out with and then I’m in. The problem is if that wingman is too ugly or too boring, they’ll just scare off all the women. So you gotta walk a fine line and find the 42″ tv friend and not the 27″ tv friend.

    • Funancials

      haha – the 27 inch friend. You have a point, though. Too hideous is non-approachable so you have to make sure they’re good-looking, but not too good-looking.

  • http://www.bluecollarworkman.com/ TB at BlueCollarWorkman

    I honestly never thought about it this way. It makes a LOT of sense though. It’s crazy how easy it is to “force” people to choose one thing over another. I rpobably won’t use this advice to pick up chicks (my wife would LOVE that, haha!), but I probably could pay better attention when I walk into a store and am interested in buying something. Maybe if I decided on the TV size I wanted or the price point before walking in, I wouldn’t be so swayed by comparisons being shoved in front of me.

    • Funancials

      Your wife won’t mind – didn’t you read my last post about how it’s easier to get a girlfriend when you have a girlfriend? It’s REALLY easy to get a girlfriend when you have a wife!

  • http://www.dollarversity.com Eric J. Nisall – DollarVersity

    Some guys would go after the less-attractive one thinking the attention would get them further along. Ok, who am I kidding–most guys would go to the less attractive one because they think it would be an easy lay. The prettier friends get all the attention, so if someone actually shows the “outcast” some attention and time, she’ll eat it up and fall easy prey to them.

    • Funancials

      I can’t agree with this…”most guys would go to the less attractive one”? I would think the reverse, no?

      • http://www.dollarversity.com Eric J. Nisall – DollarVersity

        It’s true. The majority of guys are really insecure and awkward around women which is why a lot of the really attractive ones (at least according to hollywood) say all the time that they really are approachable and you don’t have to be a male model to get their attention. The douches are the ones who constantly go after the most attractive ones simply for their own ego-boost.

  • Maria@moneyprinciple

    Wow! This is ace. I love reading Dan Ariely (in fact behavioural economic is the only economics I can stomach) but have been focusing on the wrong work (anchoring and diffusion theory). This should be tried and tested.

    • Funancials

      haha – He is fun to read. Compared to most of the books I glance over, his are definitely the most enjoyable.

  • http://www.moneylifeandmore.com/ Lance@MoneyLife&More

    I think everyone has seen this tactic with TV’s. However if you are objective and do some research you can normally find out the clear winner in the price vs quality battle.

    • Funancials

      It’s definitely gotten a lot easier to “do your research” with the internet. You can quickly compare 10 stores in the matter of seconds.

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  • http://onecentatatime.com/ Onecentatatime

    I never analysed it the way you did. Sure it has some behavioral science involved. Next time I get to pick a thing from store, I will remember this point.

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