Save Now or Save Later

Whoever invented the coupon was a very smart person. The psychology behind coupons makes them effective. Sure, if there is something you were going to buy in a certain store anyway, a coupon just saves you money. But many people will buy something they weren’t thinking of buying before, just to “save” money with the coupon, or they will go to the store offering the coupon without checking to see if another store has lower prices. And once in the store, they might even buy other things at full price. In the end, people usually spend more money on that particular trip at that particular store than if they had not gotten the coupon at all.  And this is why stores give out coupons in the first place.

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Oops! Not Again!

Lest I seem to be judgmental, let’s start out with a professional revelation: I probably make hundreds of mistakes a year. In fact, it is possible I picked my career—one where mistakes are so intrinsic we call them “bugs” instead —because of a summer day when I was around ten, tossing a game of catch in a narrow NYC street. You see, I observed the dense proximity of windows all around and wondered how it was I hadn’t broken one yet. Within 5 minutes of that very thought, an errant throw of mine went through a neighbor’s window.  Oops! I knew then and there I was going to make plenty of mistakes.

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The Blame Game

into-the-woodsOne of my favorite Broadway musicals is Stephen Sondheim’s Into the Woods. Near the end of this retelling of fairy tales—when many things have gone wrong and people have died—the remaining characters gather around and have a conversation (in song, of course) about whose fault it is. One by one, Jack (of beanstalk fame), the Baker, the Witch, Cinderella, and Little Red Riding Hood defend themselves and refuse to take the blame fostered on them by the rest of the group. The song ends with all of them singing to each other:

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