Monday, October 23, 2006

Cupidity Engineering

Saturday's New York Times had an article about the threshold of $40 for entrees being crossed at upscale restaurants, soon to filter down to lowly folks like you and me. The piece referred to an intriguing concept: "menu engineering." This engineering, or psychological manipulation, if you will, is based on several premises (sometimes false premises) of consumers, such as:

-- If you pay a ton for something, it must be great.

-- If you put something over $40 on the menu, the restaurant makes more money even if no one buys that item. Many, if not most, will buy the next-most-expensive item.

-- There's a trickle-down effect. If the hotsy-totsy restaurants can get away with this (excuse me: "increase their revenue streams..."), then the rest of the pack will follow suit.

As usual, The Laughorist ponders other applications of this reasoning.

As the newlywed recently mentioned in JR's Thumbprints's blog can attest, lap dancers (and similar professionals) have likely been aware of this technique for ages. Let us not disparage them, though.

Isn't every ad we see or hear a bit of cupidity engineering? The engineering of desire?

Isn't this done all the time? I mean, isn't the whole basis of capitalism more or less the engineering of cupidity?

Cupidity. I like that word. Cupidity doesn't need much engineering, though. Management, yes, but engineering?

(And what does Kierkegaard say about all this?)

Carry on.

As you were.

Give me some other examples, eh?

Laugh. Or....



Anonymous said...

*LOL* the pajamas are mine!!!!! lol

Anonymous said...

If you put something that's $40 on the menu, I'll probably be eating elsewhere, my friend.

mist1 said...

Menu engineering is good. I have a thing that I like to call "girlfriend engineering." The cost just keeps going up and up.

Glamourpuss said...

In short, yes. Western capitalism is driven entirely by desire for things we don’t need (such as lapdances). And advertising fuels this (probably why I love it – being Queen of Tease). What fascinates me is the etymology. Cupid may be the Roman name for Eros but erotic and cupidinous now mean entirely different things and the latter is also pejorative.

Oh, and I don’t know about Kierkegaard but Adam Smith would probably approve.


Anonymous said...

I'm too ill to even ponder this..but I will! Later,


Anonymous said...

people are dumb.

Sheila said...

They shouldn't charge so much for food. It's ridiculous! I'll start hitting the fast food joints more cuz I'll be damned if I will pay $40 for an entree. geez

azgoddess said...

Cupidity - love the word

it's baby bush and his desire for oil
halliburton and it's desire for money

ok this combined with the cost of eating out - it's starting to depress me...