Adam Ruins Funerals

When a loved one dies, and we are in a state of grief, we often aren’t making the most informed decisions. Funeral homes know this and use this fact to charge higher prices. They can do so because our price elasticity of demand for end life services is high. There are few reasons for this. First, there is not enough time to “shop around” for better pricing on the goods and services provided as a funeral is often expected to take place quickly after a person’s death. Second, there is high asymmetric information about exactly what is actually necessity and what is more a luxury (the clip pokes fun of this with the casket featuring WiFi). Last, there are no close substitutes for end of life services – you only have two options: burial or cremation. For these reasons, we are less sensitive to price when shopping for end of life services for our loved ones and will pay a higher prices consequently.’

Thanks to Erin Yetter for the submission and description! Follow her on Twitter!

Adam Ruins Everything is a half-hour informational comedy were host, Adam Conover, debunks popular myths. Each episode is divided into 3 segments with some common theme. In the Spring of 2018, James Tierney and I sat down to go through all three seasons of Adam Ruins Everything to pick out examples in each episode that could be used in an economics course. If you’re curious about the paper, you can read about it here.

Beyonce — Irreplaceable

 

Beyonce does a great job discussing just how valuable she is as a partner (inelastic), but that her man isn’t all that special because “I could have another you in a minute” (elastic). These are good lines to talk about perfectly inelastic and perfectly elastic demand.

Thanks to Michael Coon for the recommendation!

Jurassic Park — Coupon Day at the Park

This clip has both the idea of an inelastic good and the idea of price discrimination. I suggest using it when teaching elasticity and then also using it when you teach price discrimination and talk about how they connect!

Here’s the page from the book.

Thanks to James Tierney for the clip and description!

The Simpsons — Valentine’s Day

Homer forgets its Valentine’s Day so he has to rush off to the Kwik-E-Mart to pick up a last minute gift. Seeing that Home is desperate, Apu takes the chance to raise the price on a box of chocolates to $100. Despite Homer’s annoyance, he pays the higher price because he knows he’ll be in trouble if he comes back empty handed. After threatening never to shop their again, Apu offers him a discount on other products to keep him from shopping next door.

Always Sunny — Crabbin’

 

Charlie has been crabbing in the local river, which may or may not have waste runoff, to try and raise some money during the recession. Their logic is that food is depression-proof since people have to eat. They believe that people’s demand for food is inelastic and they just need to acquire food to sell in order to earn money.

Christmas with the Kranks — Hickory Honey Ham

 

This scene is from the movie Christmas with the Kranks involves a specific type of ham that has been sold out and Mrs. Krank needs one because it’s Christmas Eve and her daughter flew in for Christmas.  She pays above the sticker price of the ham because it was the last one available in the store. Because there is only one ham left and it doesn’t matter how much the ham costs, Mrs. Krank will buy it.  This means that Mrs. Krank’s elasticity for hickory honey ham is very inelastic.

Thanks to Salvatore Pollastro for the summary and the clip!

The Real — Thanksgiving Tap Out

Guest co-host, Ashanti, mentions that expensive flights during Thanksgiving should be “tapped out” because a lot of people need to be with their families during Thanksgiving. This relates to the concept of demand and supply because the airlines know that when it is close to Thanksgiving, the demand for flights increases, and since most people are eager to be with their families, they are rather inelastic to the price change, so the firms take advantage of this and raise the price of the tickets drastically in order to increase their total revenue.

Thanks for the clip and summary Tammy Georgewill!

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