Mar 5, 2008
Food, Behavioral Economics

Would you like a large?

Ever notice that at the barnes & noble cafe when you leave your size ambiguous they never ask “what size would you like?”  Instead they say, “would you like a large?” Presumably they do so with the expectation that people are more likely to respond in the affirmative to a question like “would you like a large?” than actually give “large” as their answer if asked what size they would like.  There is significant evidence that how a question is asked has an extremely large impact on the statistical results of that question.  What’s more is that a large is actually a venti, not a grande as most people would expect (considering grande is what actually means large in Italian…)  This is an excellent and intelligent way for Barnes & Noble to capture more consumer surplus - I always smile when I hear this question being asked and the customer unsurely replying “uh.. yeah”.

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