0309: "Shopping Teams"

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Rippy
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Postby Rippy » Thu Aug 30, 2007 3:20 pm UTC

Heh, this one made the front page of Digg.

http://www.digg.com/offbeat_news/Shopping_Teams_Comic

(Sorry if this was already mentioned)

dopplex
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Postby dopplex » Thu Aug 30, 2007 5:03 pm UTC

Murgatroyd wrote:
dopplex wrote:The nerd can easily win in the long term.

He/She just needs to give bad advice most of the time, but at a close enough to 50% rate that the non-nerd isn't going to notice.

The non-nerd by definition isn't going to be running a spreadsheet of the nerd's answers, or otherwise tracking the % of the time that the nerd's advice is correct - if they were, they'd be a nerd and the basic premise of the problem would be incorrect - so they're not going to spot that the actual % of correct recommendations has deviated from 50% slightly. (Unless someone is actively tabulating, they aren't going to notice that they get bad advice 55% of the time - 50% is a much "stickier" number, mentally...)


Not to self - start charting whether the advice from my friends turns out to be correct or not, in case I ever have to buy an air conditioner with them.


The non-nerd may not be keeping track of exact numbers, but if the nerd follows your proposed strategy, the non-nerd will think, "Hey, s/he's wrong about as often as s/he's right. S/he doesn't really know anything. I shouldn't pay attention to him/her." This is thus reduced to the 50/50 case.


While that is a possibility, I don't think the typical non-nerd is going to be capable of excluding the advice. Also, I question the non-nerd's ability to successfully judge the purchase after the fact - they only get to experience the object they purchase, after all, and don't get the other one for comparison. This can translate into the nerd creating a perception that his advice is correct a potentially significantly higher percentage of the time than it actually is.

The non-nerd doesn't have enough information to win this contest, I think.
Of course, I'm probably thinking more in real world terms, rather than game theory terms. I don't know enough about formal game theory to argue the latter.

MiasmicAnomie
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Postby MiasmicAnomie » Thu Aug 30, 2007 7:01 pm UTC

dopplex wrote: Also, I question the non-nerd's ability to successfully judge the purchase after the fact - they only get to experience the object they purchase, after all, and don't get the other one for comparison.


You'd just set the game up to guarantee that each party gets the information needed at the time they need it.

A simple game like:

In each round of the game, there are two boxes. One box is empty, the other box is not. At the start of each round, Player A (the nerd) is given a card indicating which box is empty, and which is not. Player B (the non-nerd) must choose a box. Player A and Player B may talk to each other before player B makes the choice, but player A may not show player B the card. When Player B chooses, both boxes are opened.

If Player B chooses the empty box, Player A gets the contents of the other box, otherwise Player B keeps the contents of the box.

(or it could be cards, and selecting one card gives two points, the other card gives one point, with player A getting the points from the card that player B does not choose, etc - the critical point is that you just show player B both cards at the end)

Using the above rules, the non-nerd (Player B) has a simple criteria for evaluating the "purchase" - the box is either empty, or not.

See, now I'm going to end up writing code to implement this game, variations thereof, and strategies for it ... I'd better stop typing now ...

killerstar
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Postby killerstar » Thu Aug 30, 2007 7:55 pm UTC

You should go to a park for some fresh air :)

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ChooChoo
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Postby ChooChoo » Fri Aug 31, 2007 12:28 am UTC

zenten wrote:I'm not actually like this at all, but I'm also not very good with money, in that I'll spend more than I have.


That's like how I am... in World of Warcraft? o_O

awkward
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Postby awkward » Fri Aug 31, 2007 2:52 am UTC

mntlchaos wrote:
If I'm understanding this: Nerd gives advice, non-nerd chooses one for himself, giving other to nerd. The one with the better AC wins the round. Right?


Depending on the roll, but I'm pretty sure the non-nerd would forfeit the dexterity bonus to AC.

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ChooChoo
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Postby ChooChoo » Fri Aug 31, 2007 6:10 am UTC

awkward wrote:
mntlchaos wrote:
If I'm understanding this: Nerd gives advice, non-nerd chooses one for himself, giving other to nerd. The one with the better AC wins the round. Right?


Depending on the roll, but I'm pretty sure the non-nerd would forfeit the dexterity bonus to AC.


ASSUMING HE HAD ONE! LOL HIGH FIVE!

ok
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does anyone read this? the font is way too small...

Postby ok » Fri Aug 31, 2007 6:12 am UTC

I didn't like the pastor though, the one in "Names" was much better.

-
ok

Domovoi
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Re: does anyone read this? the font is way too small...

Postby Domovoi » Fri Aug 31, 2007 8:07 am UTC

ok wrote:I didn't like the pastor though, the one in "Names" was much better.

-
ok


What pastor?

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ChooChoo
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Re: does anyone read this? the font is way too small...

Postby ChooChoo » Fri Aug 31, 2007 9:07 am UTC

ok wrote:I didn't like the pastor though, the one in "Names" was much better.

-
ok


Wrong comic. xD

owtytrof
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Postby owtytrof » Fri Aug 31, 2007 2:19 pm UTC

I'm definitely the nerd, with the comparison shopping and whatnot. The saddest part is that I continue to comparison shop after making a purchase, so that I can agonize myself with the fact that a better deal cropped up somewhere a week after I bought my item.

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SNAFU
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Postby SNAFU » Fri Aug 31, 2007 2:26 pm UTC

You could still form a trend-line with in terms of utility and see how your isoquants fall onto it in order to maximize your utility. It won't be very accurate with only two points. If your utility is very sensitive or very insensitive, a proper choice may be clear. However, the more products you check out, the more accurate it will become (obviously).

It's always about utility. Inter-personal comparisons of utility are nonsense.
$ ar x God
ar: God does not exist

huadpe
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Postby huadpe » Fri Aug 31, 2007 8:37 pm UTC

Ok, the answer to the game theory problem is that the nerd gives totally random advice which the non-nerd ignores, and both get the good one 50% of the time. If the nerd gives good advice more than 50% of the time, the non-nerd will figure that out and always follow it, and if the nerd gives bad advice less than 50% of the time, the non-nerd will always do the opposite. Infinity is a large sample size, so any strategies of 51%/49% will be figured out.

This is actually a form of the matching pennies game, with the information discrepancy mostly being a red herring.

Some of the other psychology answers are interesting and might be accurate in real life, but within the constraints of game theory, the non-nerd picking first negates the information advantage of the nerd.

Murgatroyd
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Postby Murgatroyd » Sat Sep 01, 2007 5:50 pm UTC

huadpe wrote:This is actually a form of the matching pennies game, with the information discrepancy mostly being a red herring.


In fact, it's exactly equivalent.

For the nerd, let "give good advice" equal "heads", and "give bad advice" equal "tails".
For the non-nerd, let "follow advice" equal "heads", and "go against advice" equal "tails".

If they match, the non-nerd wins. If they don't match, the nerd wins.

kimberlycarleton
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0309: "Shopping Teams"

Postby kimberlycarleton » Thu Dec 17, 2009 4:56 pm UTC

Hi

I remember once I saw this hilarious comic on a guy in a grocery store, he was into getting really good discounts and deals. I think he was a touch manic. Anyone know what comic number that is?

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dennisw
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Re: Some grocery store comic?

Postby dennisw » Thu Dec 17, 2009 7:27 pm UTC

Try the Printifier for xkcd. You can now scale the comic between 50 and 150%.

I find these very useful: Common Errors in English Usage (web site) and Eats, Shoots & Leaves (book). You may, too.

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