Imagine this: You’re heading for the cashier at your local bookstore when you pass a display selling coffee mugs for $5. There’s only one left, sporting an image of your favorite celebrity, but you’re not willing to spend five bucks on it. Then you notice the clearance sign marking it down to $2.50. You pick up the mug and pay for it with your other merchandise.
As you walk out to the parking lot, the customer exiting right behind you says, “Gee, I was going to buy that mug, but you grabbed it before I got to it. I’ll buy it from you for the full price of $5. What do you say?”
“No,” you reply immediately, “I wouldn’t sell it for less than $7.50.”
What just happened? Are you an opportunist or a savvy entrepreneur?
Quite possibly, you are neither. Rather, you may have fallen victim to a natural agency of the human brain. And although deals in the resale mug market may not add up to a hill of coffee beans, when it comes to more serious decisions in business or in life, this same mental quirk can set us up for catastrophic failure.