QUESTION TEXT: A hardware store generally sells roughly equal…
QUESTION TYPE: Paradox
- The Maxlast and Styron hammers usually sell about the same.
- Last week, all of the Maxlast hammers were taken to a display case near the entrance and put on sale.
- Yet Styron hammers outsold the Maxlast hammers.
ANALYSIS: It’s helpful to think about these situations from the perspective of a shopper. What might cause you to buy the hammers that weren’t on sale? You should actually imagine yourself walking into a store.
People often say “I don’t have time for that!!!”. Really? How long does it take to imagine walking into a hardware store to buy a hammer, and ignoring the ones by the entrance. It takes me about 1-2 seconds. It’s not hard, you just have to start trying it.
Some explanations this let me come up with:
- I don’t trust things on sale.
- I walk straight to the hammer section and don’t notice things by the entrance.
- I browse for a bunch of things, and by the time I decided to get a hammer I was already inside and forgot about the hammers on sale.
Again, I thought of those really fast. Writing or saying them takes a while, but thinking them doesn’t. And when I looked at the answers, I was able to quickly skim over the wrong ones because I knew what I was looking for. This technique makes you faster, not slower.
Note that we already knew the two types of hammers were equivalent: they had similar sales numbers before this week. That’s why it’s confusing that Styron outsold Maxlast while Maxlast was on sale.
- CORRECT. This means that shoppers just walked past the Maxlast hammers without noticing the sale.
- So? We have no reason to think that there’s better quality or service for the Styron hammers.
- This makes the situation even more confusing. Some people were motivated to buy because of the sale, so why were overall Maxlast sales lower than Styron sales?
- This makes the situation more confusing. The sale was advertised, so why didn’t it work?
- So? Obviously some customers did end up at the store, for whatever reason, and bought hammers. The question is, why did customers buy more Styron hammers than usual while Maxlast was on sale.
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