Economics., hygiene

Potty Talk: Economics

Economists have won a noble peace prize for observing our everyday behavior, giving it definitions, and making assumptions why we act a certain way. These assumptions turn into theories and then are extrapolated to explain the world. They then get the awards.

Let me give you an example of a theory that helped guys sell books and get awards.

Rational choice theory – taken from wikipedia

Rational choice theory then assumes that an individual has preferences among the available choice alternatives that allow them to state which option they prefer. These preferences are assumed to be complete (the person can always say which of two alternatives they consider preferable or that neither is preferred to the other) and transitive (if option A is preferred over option B and option B is preferred over option C, then A is preferred over C). The rational agent is assumed to take account of available information, probabilities of events, and potential costs and benefits in determining preferences, and to act consistently in choosing the self-determined best choice of action.
Rationality is widely used as an assumption of the behavior of individuals in microeconomic models and analyses and appears in almost all economics textbook treatments of human decision-making. It is also used in political science,[2] sociology,[3] and philosophy. A particular version of rationality is instrumental rationality, which involves seeking the most cost-effective means to achieve a specific goal without reflecting on the worthiness of that goal. Gary Becker was an early proponent of applying rational actor models more widely.[4]Becker won the 1992 Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences for his studies of discrimination, crime, and human capital.[5]

There are probably well over 500 people that work on my floor at work. Lets call it 800. Of that about 2/3 are male. Rounding we are at 533 males. On any given day lets say that 10% are out of the office. So that leaves us with about 480 men in the office on any given workday. 

There are a total of seven bathroom stalls on our floor. Lets do the math. (480 / 7 ) = ~69. For every toilet there are 69 men that could be using it. Do you see a problem with this? What would the rational individual do? That is a terrible ratio. 

There are four levels to the building I work in, but the only other floor for me to go on is the lobby floor. It has a bathroom, but its down a few levels. There are other businesses in my building. These employ other people and accordingly, the other floors offer necessary amenities. 
There have been numerous times that I have gone to every single restroom on my floor with no luck. So what does a rational person do? They go down a level. The only problem herein lies is when someone sees you. 
It was just another day at the office and I went down a level to use the restroom. No one was in the restroom I was using and it was clean. (I must say that the people I work with are savages. I won’t go into details, but I have found cleaner bathrooms at a ball park than at work.) I was headed back upstairs when a person who works on the floor beneath mine passed me. They had seen where I had come from and where I was going.
“Hey, what are you doing on this floor?”
“Nothing. Just used the bathroom.” I was a bit nervous to respond as the person seemed agitated. 
“You have your own bathrooms upstairs, don’t you? You shouldn’t be using ours! I outta report you.” 
“Well, flip. You don’t need to make a big stink out of it.”

Some interesting findings on public restrooms here.

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