Home > Application, Appreciation > A Jumbo Margin of Error

A Jumbo Margin of Error

I was out in the neighborhood shopping for seafood and stopped by the local fishmonger.  I inspected the jumbo shrimp, which were going for $17.99 a pound.  I decided I’d take a pound, and placed my order.

The fishmonger threw a handful of shrimp on the scale.  The pile weighed in 0.85 pounds, so he added a few more.  The additional shrimp took the total over a pound, so he took one off.  Slowly, this series of shrimp was converging to the appropriate limit.

Still a little over, the fishmonger exchanged two large shrimp with two smaller ones.  This brought the total weight down to 0.95 pounds.

I turned my attention to the rest of my grocery list.  It wasn’t until after I had cashed out and left the store that it hit me:  the fishmonger had charged me $17.99 for the shrimp!  That is, he charged me for a full pound, even though I only received 0.95 pounds.

Now, a 5% margin of error might not seem too bad, but because of the high cost of shrimp, that 5% error amounts to 90 cents!  With all the attention paid to that weighing, I feel like he could have been a bit more accurate.  I would also hypothesize that the vast majority of weighing inaccuracies are of the “under” variety.

My inattentiveness here cost me a dollar, but at least I walked away with something to think about.  And while the fishmonger may have won a dollar, he lost all my future business.

Click here to see more in Application.


  1. Yulia
    September 8, 2011 at 6:21 pm

    It is crazy how a similar thing happened to me today! except I was buying lychees…

  1. No trackbacks yet.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: