Monday, June 3, 2013

Thinking, Fast and Slow or Eat Those Samples

What explains the random one-of products scattered through Costco on a busy day? Yesterday (Sunday) I saw a floor sweeper in the dishes, trekking poles in hardware, snacks in the coffee. Costco was wild, full of twelve year olds making Vines and thirty somethings doing booty dances in the freezer section.  I'm sure employees couldn't stay up with all the products abandoned when people had second thoughts. 

I'm reading "Thinking, Fast and Slow" by Daniel Kahneman, recipient of the Nobel Prize in economics. This fascinating book on cognition (unfortunately not currently available from Costco) explains that the mind has two decision-making speeds. Fast is intuition, that way of making decisions that's quick, almost automatic, driving down the road, impulse buying, quick responses that seem right, but unfortunately are often wrong.

The second is deliberate, takes more effort, and uses reasoning.  Slow thinking actually uses up calories and can be improved by glucose intake. Since slow thinking takes actual work, and uses up energy, the human organism tries to conserve energy by choosing fast thinking, if possible. Slow thinking is better. It's checking your work.

When folks abandon items in the aisles; slow thinking is kicking in.  Maybe a free pizza sample has been converted into thinking energy, and the person realizes; "I don't need these trekking poles."

I'm going to eat every sample from now on. Just being careful.

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