The Business of Love

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Price as a Signal of Quality

Today in my marketing research class my professor made the comment, "In the absence of information, price is used as a measure of quality." He asked us if we would go to a doctor that charges $500 or a doctor that charges $25 if our insurance was paying the bill. Of course we all said that we would go to the doctor that charged more because we thought he was a better doctor. He gave other examples such as consultants or expert witnesses, but the idea was always the same.
Also of note is the idea that with price as a signal some products would actually have a higher demand if they had a higher price. This would be categorized as a Giffen good and they are theoretically impossible in economics. However, from the above cited examples, a strong case can be made that they do, in fact, exist in the real world. So how does this relate to relationships you may wonder?

Lack of Information

I think that I can speak for pretty much every man alive when I say that women are impossible to figure out. There isn't a better example of lack of information than women. Therefore, we have established that when a guy is looking for a special lady in his life, he has already met the first condition of lacking information.


For our treatment of the topic, please do away with any monetary considerations similar to prostitution. The "price" attached to a woman is largely not monetary in nature. I identify three main "price tags" that constitute the bulk of a guys "cost".
1.)Time. This is the largest "cost" associated with the opposite sex.
2.)Money. Dating costs money, even to a cheapskate like me, just look at the price tags on engagement rings.
3.)Emotional Stress. You have to deal with the fact that all women think too much about things, and if you try to outsmart them, you're fooling yourself or going to go crazy.
Now, how do these prices signal quality? Let me give an example. You know a girl who is very popular with the guys. She is attractive, but not so much that so many guys would be interested. I know that I would want to take her out just to see what it was that every other guy found so attractive. Why? Because she has a higher price tag. With so many guys interested, it would require a Herculean effort to gain her attention and win her heart, yet many guys do just this. They see the high price and assume that there is something they don't know that adds to her quality. You want to find out the mysterious quality that makes her so attractive to other guys. The same could be said in this situation for emotional stress. How are you going to know if she acts any different towards you than she does towards other guys? Now all her signs have added meaning, yet they are also harder to decipher. Yet guys so often tackle these situations because they perceive a higher value because of the high cost. So what do you think? Let me know because I think every guy out there could use some help from experienced guys and the mysterious female.

Thursday, October 13, 2005


I'll just let all of you know that this is more of a personal rant than anything. So let me explain the scenario a little (it is all from the guy's perspective, or basically, my perspective).

You like a girl. You have conveyed this through your actions and her actions indicate that she understands that and in some small measure feels the same way. Of course I'm assuming that my reads are correct, but let's roll with it for now. Anyway, I can't be taking her on dates every night of every weekend because this is by no means an exclusive relationship. So of course she is going to be invited on another date (you can rest assured that I have good taste).

Girls enjoy it when a guy gets jealous over them. Why is that?

Now, please don't misinterpret that this lady is trying to make me jealous, but if she knew I was jealous she would like it. Anyway, so she is going on a date with another guy and I am amazingly bothered by this despite not being really worried. What is wrong with me? Why does this occur? I can't explain it, but it bugs the crap out of me. So please, help me out. Why do the ladies enjoy a jealous suitor? Why does it bug us guys so much?

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Love & Business: A Student's Perspective

Do business and relationships really have anything in common? Well, in a very real sense, no, they don't. However, from my observations of relationships (and some experience) I have noticed that many business theories and concepts, if taken completely out of context, are incredibly humorous when applied to love and relationships. So, in a nutshell, this blog is a humorous look at the relations between members of the opposite sex through business-tinted glasses. Here is a small example.

Dual Coincidence of Wants

For this example we go to the fields of economics. In economics we learn that in the absence of a medium of exchange (i.e. money) that a barter system usually exists. This means that if you raise chickens and you want some flour, you have to trade your chickens for flour. You could go directly to the wheat farmer and trade chickens for wheat, but if the farmer has his own chickens you are out of luck. However, the wheat farmer says he does like beef, so if you can get him some beef, he'll trade you for wheat.
So you go to the cattle farmer and offer chickens for beef. The only problem is that he doesn't even like chickens. However, he is interested in some vegetables, so you are off to the vegetable farmer.
The vegetable farmer DOES want some chickens! Hallelujah you say. So you take the veggies to the cattle farmer and he gives you a nice slab of beef from a cow he butchered that day. You take the beef to the wheat farmer and get your wheat and !Presto! you have your flour.
Now this sure is a pain. Why was that so hard? Because you didn't have a dual coincidence of wants.
A dual coincidence of wants is when you have what they want and they have what you want. In a barter system this is difficult indeed. So how does this relate to relationships?

The Punchline

You see, the whole process of relationships is a barter system. I have something to offer the ladies and I am looking for a lady who has what I want. However, it isn't going to work out if what I have isn't what she wants. Or maybe she really wants what I am offering, but I am not interested in what she has to offer.
In all these cases you have a failed relationship.
The only time it works is when you have what they want and you want what they have. Then you are able to trade (date, marry, you get the picture). Now why did I explain a situation where we had to go through the cattle farmer and the veggie farmer to get a trade to happen? Because a lot of times we have to fail at our trades (relationships) in order to obtain something we lacked that someone else wants. I guess you learn the lesson the hard way.

What We Learned

Well, now that you know how to trade, go out there and find yourself a dual coincidence of wants. Or, if you disagree, leave a comment because I'm pretty sure that as a single guy I have this whole thing figured out.