Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Prices are Information, Bust-a-Wheel Edition

The GTM was in my neck of the woods over the weekend. Dame Fortuna decided to wreck a wheel on his horseless chariot. The WHEEL, not just the tire. Metal, not only rubber. So here he languishes in NoVA, eager to get back to NC, the opportunity cost of his time tick tick ticking away.

If you were him (and there's roughly a 1 in 200 chance that you are him), you'd probably be willing to pay a premium to get a new wheel shipped up and slapped on the axle post haste.

Alas, to an outside observer, that would be price gouging. GASP!

Like Locke's ship's captain, he's a-flounder, willing to pay more than the standard market price for a remedy. The seller would likewise likely respond to a cash incentive. And thanks to... something, he has to spend one more night away from Skippy Squirrelbane and the LMM.

But what exactly is the barrier? It can't be just price gouging legislation. Wink-wink nudge-nudge under-the-table payments have a way of unsticking unpopular statutes. It might well be that the vendor simply didn't want to go above and beyond the call of commerce, and the Commonwealth's regulations provide cover for a small bit of laziness.

Just a possibility.

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Do you have suggestions on where we could find more examples of this phenomenon?