Game theory and the mailbox

25, 26, 27 and 28

Photo by Baha’i Views / Flitzy Phoebie

I’d been wracking my brain for hours, trying to think of something to blog about, when the universe finally threw me a bone.

My relationship with the mailman is just like a video game.

You know how, in games, you get rewarded for doing stuff, but it’s not always the same reward?

Say you land on Community Chest in Monopoly.  Sometimes you get a Get Out of Jail Free card.  Sometimes there’s a bank error in your favor.  Sometimes you even get penalized and have to pay some ugly ass player $10 for winning a beauty contest (as if!).

Same thing in Super Mario Bros.  Sometimes when you break the brick, you get a coin.  Sometimes you get a 1-Up mushroom.  Sometimes you just get a nasty knot on your head.

Just like the mailbox.

Sometimes there’s a big check.  Sometimes there’s a small check.  Sometimes there’s a check where most of the money is owed to someone else.  And sometimes there’s the gas bill and a Pottery Barn catalog.

Don’t judge me.  They have good deals on curtains.

Anyway, the random reward is one way that games keep you playing.  Or, in my case, returning to the mailbox.

So tonight, I’m standing in my garage with the door open, tucked away from the cold rain, waiting for the mailman to finish loading the mail into my community mail station, and I’m thinking about how it’s after 6 and I should already have my mail.

Also, I’m thinking about how waiting for the mail reminds me of game theory. And how I should write about that so you can think about all the ways you’re going to use this knowledge to make your customers do stuff.

The verdict? A bank statement, the L.L. Bean Christmas book, and another freaking Pottery Barn catalog.

I can’t wait til tomorrow.

2 ideas about “Game theory and the mailbox

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>

TwitterFacebookYouTubeGoogle+LinkedInPinterestRSS FeedDropbox