Burgers & the Battle of the Fractions

19 Aug

Facebook a few days ago:

Tried to do what?

… compete with the MacDonalds quarter pounder by selling a third-pounder at a lower price. They failed because most people thought a quarter pound was bigger.

And what’s “just … not worth it”?

This is why I don’t argue online.

I took a leaf from IFLScience’s book and refrained from challenging him – I’ve got £20 says it’s a him – on how the fuck he knows that’s why the product failed. It’s not like he offered a shred of evidence.

My own quest for evidence – minimal I grant you, but then burden of proof rests elsewhere – threw up a Mental Floss puff piece from February 2016, Why No One Wanted A&W’s Third-Pound Burger.

It too offered no evidence. It just cited this as gospel:

More than half the participants in focus groups questioned the price of our burger. “Why,” they asked, “should we pay the same for a third of a pound of meat as we do for a quarter-pound at McDonald’s? You’re overcharging us.” Honestly. People thought a third of a pound was less than a quarter of a pound. After all, three is less than four!

The author of those insights? One Alfred Taubman. Since he was the CEO of A&W, and since – guess what – he too offers no evidence for his claim, we might say he had good reason to give alternative explanations a wide berth.

What about Stacy Conradt, author of the puff piece? What about IFLScience? On the first, my views on journalists are no secret. On the second, I note only that confirmation bias has its attractions.

As does taking everyone else to be just plain stupid.