Jerry (Terry), Joe, and Donna sample wedding cakes from the finest bakeries in Pawnee to determine which one to serve at Donna’s upcoming wedding. Donna and Joe both select the same cake, which is revealed to be the local grocery store cake. Billy claims that he placed that cake in the lineup to weed out the low quality palates, but preferences are often subjective.
See more: preference ranking, preferences, ranking, subjective value, transitivity
The Parks Department is trying to determine where to eat and Donna suggests sushi. Andy initially declines because he claims that he is allergic, but it turns out he just thinks he’s allergic. Every time he eats 80 pieces of sushi he gets sick. He probably isn’t allergic, but instead is experiencing decreasing returns (negative marginal returns).
See more: decreasing utility, diminishing returns, negative utility, utility
Craig has to keep it together in the face of very strange requests during his interview to be the sommelier for Tom’s Bistro. While professional sommelier’s are known for being able to pair wines and meals, they must maintain their composure when customers ask for something different. While some may have odd preferences, its important to respect others’ utility functions.
See more: behavioral, preferences, subjective value, utility, utility maximization
Dr. Jamm bought a cooktop table from Benihana for $4,000 and thinks it is worth every penny. While Leslie and Chris may not place the same value on the table, Jamm’s subjective value is at least $4000.
See more: consumer surplus, demand, intrinsic value, luxury goods, preferences, status good, subjective value, value, willingness to buy
Leslie wants to break up with Ben, but she needs to order a bottle of wine before she goes through with it. She let’s the waitress know that she wants wine, but isn’t coy about only selecting the cheapest one because she can’t tell the difference. There’s a long line of literature on the effects of quality and wine prices that shows even professionals can’t often tell the difference between brands.
See more: anchoring, behavioral, preferences, ranking, subjective value, utility maximization
Donna and Tom take Ben on a “Treat Yo Self” day to help him relax, but he just buys socks, which he feels like he needs. Donna and Tom challenge him to think about what he would buy for himself if he could get anything he wanted. Ben decides he wants a Batman costume.
See more: elasticity, income effect, income elastic, luxury goods, necessities, normal goods, preferences, subjective value, utility
Leslie lists the most important things in life: friends, waffles, and work. She has trouble ranking friends and waffles, but she knows work is third. Transitivity is an important component of utility maximization.
See more: preferences, transitivity, utility
Ron and Leslie ponder why people would eat anything other than breakfast. While they understand their own utility functions, they struggle to understand others.
See more: intrinsic value, preference ranking, preferences, subjective value, utility, utility maximization
Chris isn’t feeling so well, so Ann tries to cheer him up with shrimp. Diminishing utility kicks in as Chris realizes the second shrimp isn’t as tasty as the first.
Credit: Caitlin Lee (@_caitlinnlee)
See more: diminishing returns, utility