Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Why You Are a Moron if You Use Beezid

Like everyone else, I saw the Beezid.com commercials on TV and thought that $95.49 is an unbelievably low price to pay for a 55” LCD TV and $591.23 is definitely way too cheap for a car. So, here’s the “scam” (I say “scam” in quotes because they’re very forward about how their website works):

As the commercial says, each bid increases the amount the winner pays by only $0.01. But, how they make money is that each bid costs at a minimum $0.60 to purchase (200 bids for $120). So, even though they will sell you an X-box for $30.00, they’re making at least (3000 x $0.60 =) $1,800 in money that people have spent on bids. Not only that – when the timer gets down to 20 seconds or less, it starts blinking red. If someone else bids (which, they will), the timer resets to 20 seconds again. Since it’s an all or nothing contest, people will keep bidding to keep from losing what they already invested.

We learned about this in one of our Carnegie Mellon negotiations classes. The teacher offered up $20 and had students bid on it in minimum $1 increments. So, it’s easy to see that once two students are bidding and the price reaches $11, the teacher will make money ($11 from one student, and $10 from the other). But, each student has an incentive to keep bidding because (s)he can make money on an individual basis all the way up to $19. Once the price reaches $20, “oh shit” mode kicks in and they both must realize they’re just fighting to minimize their losses, while at the same time increasing their losses.

Please don't let anyone you know stoop to using this site for morons. Just stick with E-bay and Craigslist y'all.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Just Another San Jose Stabbing

I might as well have been sitting there with a bag of popcorn, an icee, and a box of sour patch kids because I had a front row seat to a crazy show Saturday night. Two of my buddies and I were sitting in my car about to conclude a night in downtown San Jose, but one of them forgot his phone in that bathroom of the Pita Pit. As he was going back to get his phone, all of the sudden 3 guys start beating on 1 other guy right in front of my car. The 1 guy eventually got help from 1 of his friends and a 2 v 3 went on for awhile before all hell broke loose and there were like 10 people fighting right in front of us. One guy fell to the ground, writhing in pain, while a bunch of his other friends went across the street and start stomping on the rear windshield and other windows of some sedan. My buddy and I didn’t see any blood so we just thought that the guy writhing in pain dislocated his shoulder and it was probably not a big deal; other than the fact that he was rolling around right in front of our exit. Then, about 5 cop cars came and an ambulance arrived. The paramedics ripped open the injured guy’s shirt and we saw blood all over his clothes, as if he was stabbed. We called our buddy who went back to the Pita Pit to come back to the car, but he elected to (smartly) take a taxi home. So, the ambulance took the inured guy off, there were around 5 people in custody being questioned, and the cops started taping off the area. This whole time my buddy and I were wondering if anybody even realized that we were in the car and saw all of this go down. Nobody fighting ever looked over at us and the cops never pointed in our direction, so we were thinking we could possibly just disappear and pretend this never happened. As we followed the cops’ path taping off the area, we realized that they were taping us exactly inside of the closed off area. This was at around 1:30 AM. It turns out that the injured guy was, in fact, stabbed and he was in critical condition. So, we were, of course, questioned and detained until it was determined whether or not the victim would live or die. To make a long story short, we basically recounted our take on the fight and sat around talking to the officers until 4:30AM, when it was determined that the victim would live. I still feel a little bad because my initial instinct had told me to go break up the fight, but the officers told me that I could have been stabbed instead. I just think, thank God (or whoever that represents) that he lived because I’m not sure how I would take it if someone had died as a result of my inaction.

What comes to mind is how I bitched about how boring my weekends were on Facebook earlier that day because of school. What also comes to mind is how we would have never been in that spot if my buddy didn’t forget his phone at the Pita Pit and how he evaded the 3 hour detainment by taking a taxi home instead. Another thing is that the cops told us that there were 4 stabbings that night, 3 in another incident downtown San Jose. Okay, well, the success rate in SJ is pretty high for me, but I really mean it when I say: never again!