It was one of those simple hypothetical questions: "Would you rather have a $10 Best Buy gift card for free or pay $7 for a $20 Best Buy gift card?"

Without missing a beat my wife said "neither."

"You can't say 'neither'."

"I just did."

"But it messes up the whole question! Which one would you rather have?"

"Neither. There's nothing I want from Best Buy."

"Best Buy has nothing to do with it!"

"Then why did you say 'Best Buy'? You know I hate going there."

"Ok Goddamnit, Kroger then. Would you rather have a $10 Kroger gift card for free or pay $7 for a $20 Kroger gift card?"

"First, don't curse at me. Second, I don't shop at Kroger. It's dirty and their produce has fruit flies all over it."


"Now you're shouting at me."

"Fine. This has nothing to do with where you shop."

"Of course it does, if it's a gift card to some place I'll never shop, I'll just end up re-gifting it so why be out the $7? That's just bad economics."


"The question's not about that! It's supposed to gauge your response to the word 'Free' versus total value!"

"Well it didn't do a very good job of that, now did it? It completely ignores utility."

"Go away. You're not allowed to talk to me for the rest of the day."

"Whatever. It was your question."

The student has now become the master.