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Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Male pattern shopping

Eminent statistician Andrew Gelman can't blog about important stuff all the time, so today he notes:
"I was at the store today and bought some pants. Everything was 50-75% off, so I bought 4 pairs instead of just two."   http://www.stat.columbia.edu/~cook/movabletype/archives/2010/01/good_timing.html#comments 
Buying 4 pair at a time. Definitely male pattern shopping.
I was at the MSI conference and was talking to a person I knew slightly. As it turned out, we were both in the habit of buying socks, 12-18 pair at a time, when there were too few good old socks to get through the week.
Even worse, we both bought the same color of the same style of the same brand (black Gold Toe cotton fluffies).
Most people I've told this to wonder how the topic came up.  I don't remember exactly how, but we'd earlier heard Barry Schwartz talk about his contention that people don't like too many choices. Having both worked in the consumer packaged goods industry a long time, the other researcher and I were both skeptical.