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?)
As you were.
Give me some other examples, eh?