If you’ve ever wondered why an alarming number of Americans aren’t concerned about $15 trillion in debt and continue to clamor for more “free” stuff from “government,” here’s a clue:
Shoppers routinely bite on offers that are worse values because they do the math incorrectly, and also perhaps just because they’re infatuated with the idea of getting something extra for free. The prospect of receiving something for nothing has been demonstrated to make consumers do some pretty irrational things, including buying goods they otherwise wouldn’t have and being far more likely to order items online with free shipping, regardless of the overall expense.
It seems as if the psychology power of “free” may also make us worse at math. In another marketing experiment involving hand lotion in an actual store, researchers sold 73% more when it came in a bonus pack than when it was priced at a discount with the same exact unit price.
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