The Replication Crisis is an ongoing crisis where it has been difficult or impossible to reproduce findings of scientific studies.
This thought occurred to me during a recent festival and an interaction with a flower woman in the market. Here’s the story.
Sample Size of One: The Rose Negotiation
My family is a bit religious. During Dussehra puja a few weeks ago, I was back at the market, buying flowers and fruit.
A woman in the market has a flower stall and sells bouquets. I always buy roses from her. On regular days, a rose costs INR 10. On festive days, she sells them for either INR 12 or 15.
I asked her how much for one.
“INR 15”, she smiled and replied, “but you can have them for INR 12. How many do you want?”
I asked for ten. Like always, I asked her to cut them to a particular length. I said I’ll pick up the other stuff on my list and come back for the roses.
Back at her stall 15 minutes later, she said the total was INR 150.
I said, “but didn’t you say you’d give them at INR 12 a piece?”
Now she seemed confused, like she had goofed up the prices.
In the past too, I have always paid her the full price, whether she offered a discount or not. After all, these vendors pay a premium to buy flowers during special occasions. And on that day too, I had intended to pay her the full INR 150 either way.
But there’s the funny thing.
When she first offered a discount and later forget about it, I felt a mild disappointment or something. And it is possible others might have felt the same way in that situation. It is odd, since I was ready to pay full price, right? A loss aversion of sorts.
Trying to quantify my feeling on a Disappointment-Delight scale [-10 to +10] (-10 being very disappointed, 10 being very delighted), I got:
- If I go to the stall on a regular day, and I am charged INR 10 for a rose: 0 (on the scale)
- When the woman first quoted the festival price of INR 15: -5
- When she said she’ll let me buy them at INR 12: 5
- When I made a mental note to still pay her INR 15 a piece: 9 (it is always priceless to expect and see smiles on the faces of those who work hard to make a living, when you pay them full price and not be the asshole who squeezes an extra buck out of them)
- Her later quoting the original rate of INR 15 a rose: -8
- Me then paying her the original rate of INR 15: 3
Despite my intended payment amount and her final quote being the same, my delight level dropped from a 9 (in pt. 4) to probably a 3 (pt. 6).
What do you think? Could experiments/ experiences like this one, experienced by a single person, be then gauged on a list of parameters for other people in the same city, country, and in other parts of the world? The objective not being to find a single global thumb rule or measure (like 70% or 8/10 on delight). But rather, to see how different groups of people fare on each such experiment/ experience. It need not be a labour-intensive effort. Data could be crowd-sourced.
Could this approach be a little less presumptive and a little more accurate than prevailing forms of research studies?