Thursday, April 12, 2007

How to win at The Price Is Right

I have always enjoyed the marvelous program that is The Price Is Right. It was the highlight of sick days while back in grade school and is now the portion of the day I schedule around when I have a weekday off from Walgreens. The show is marvelous with Bob Barker and his 150 year old body pulling off the same tricks day after day and week after week. The man has done nothing new in over thirty-five years and yet he is wildly popular (and rightfully so).

Yet for the show's massive longevity, very few people play the show's 80 some odd games well. As a student of the show and now with a background in retailing, I find that I succeed more than I fail when playing at home. In the event that any of you should ever find yourself in Los Angeles and a taping of this wonderful game show, perhaps these tips could make the difference between a new car and a gigantic tuba ushering you off stage after a poor performance.

Phase #1)
To win your way on stage, you need to bid well on an item. Person #1 and person #2 should bid as closely to the actual value of the prize as possible. Person #3 should try to exploit any huge holes in between bidder #1 and #2. Person #4 should win every bid with either bidding $1 or going with the highest bid + $1. Person #4 usually irritates me with a stupid bid right in the middle of the cluster instead of doing the smart thing and taking all the numbers higher or lower than the cluster.

Bid #1 Camping gear
Person #1 650 (winner, 821 actual price)
Person #2 525
Person #3 625
Person #4 626

Awful bidding. Person #1 and person #2 did a fine job of guessing fairly accurate prices. #3 bid terribly by going in between them and only acquiring numbers 625-650. That's a narrow window, and as such lost miserably. Person #4 also wasted a bid by acquiring even fewer numbers. She should have either taken $1 or the much wiser bid and the one that would have won, $651.

Game #1)
Flip flop
This game requires no skill. There are three possible prices with the contestant guessing which one he thinks is correct. The bidder did so and won a small golf cart thingy. Not sure what the practical purpose of a futuristic golf cart is, but he won it. Good for him.

Bid #2 Fire pit set
Person #1 1200
Person #2 925
Person #3 575 (winner 699)
Person #4 1

Better bidding this time with everyone grabbing a fair share of numbers. Person 4 did the wise thing by going to the extremes. Unfortunately, it was a bad extreme and she lost. Good effort though.

Game #2) Switcheroo
Not a great game as this one, too, is based on more luck than skill. The key in games such as this one that have a set time limit to match as many correct prices as possible is to move with speed. Audience assistance is worthless as everyone is screaming wildly and no one knows anything as it's a luck based game. Just do your own thing and do it quickly. Contestant won small prices but not anything worthwhile.

Bid #3 Weird looking chair
Person #1 650
Person #2 655 (1475 winning bid)
Person #3 450
Person #4 1

Once again awful bidding with person #2 totally not deserving to win. Person #3 should have exploited this terrible bid with one around $700 or $750 so as to minimize person #2's numbers and still tempting #4 to go low. Person #4 did go low, which while taking the extreme was a wise move, prizes on this show generally are in the 700-1200 range and going high with a bid of $656 would have guaranteed victory.

Game 3) Balance Game
A game where there is a 50-50 chance of winning and again requires no skill. Either the truck is $19,427 or $16,427. A perfect game for someone bidding as stupid as person #2 just did. As expected, though, she lost anyway.

Spinning the Wheel:
The object is to get $1.00 with one spin or a combination of two spins without going over. Person number 1 should stop with anything greater than 60 cents so as to put pressure on the next two to have to beat him/her. Anything lower than 60 cents should be defeated, anything higher and your chances of busting are too high. Person number 2 should do what it takes to beat person number 1 but not get crazy or greedy in an effort to get $1.00 or increase a lead. Person #3 needs no thought but just go in and spin and win.

Person #1 spins: 20 cents + 55 cents = 75 cents
Person #2 spins: 60 cents + 85 cents = bust
Person #3 spins: 95 cents (win)

All went as it should with the final spinner having the greatest advantage and with a good spin exploited it for the victory.

Bid #4 - Game Room
Person #1 2500
Person #2 1500
Person #3 1600
Person #4 2499

The worst bidding yet. Person #4 pissed away the last bid by going $1 under person #1. Awful, awful, awful. This person is stupid. Ends up every one overbid and we have to do it again. It would have been avoided if person #4 went with $1 but this was well beyond person #4's mental abilities.

Person #1 650
Person #2 1000 (*Perfect Bid)
Person #3 1100
Person #4 999

Person #4 once again blew it by stupidly bidding 1 dollar less than an already established bid. This person does not deserve to be on the show. A perfectly good place on contestant's row is wasted. I'm very upset about this. Everyone else did well in their estimations.

Game #4 Clock Game
Finally a skill game in which you guess the price of a product and Bob tells you higher or lower. You have 30 seconds to guess two products. It's a game that should be won every time. Smart bidding by consistently guessing quickly and smartly. The contestant did neither and still won. That shows why this game should be won every time.

Bid 5 Bikes
Person #1 850
Person #2 750
Person #3 995
Person #4 1 (710 actual price)

Outstanding bidding, especially by number 4.

Game 5 High Low Game
A game where you have to know something about everyday drugstore products. You must separate six products into two groups, the three highest priced items and the three lowest priced items. Not very difficult to do if you spend 50 hours a week in a Walgreens, but is more challenging if you are very old and do little shopping. This particular contestant did well and won a bedroom set for her ability to divide and conquer.

Bid 6 Floor Clock
Person #1 $1200
Person #2 $1275
Person #3 $1300
Person #4 $1425

If person #4 was serious about taking the high road, she should have bid $1301. Instead she lost out on 125 numbers. Not that it mattered as everyone overbid anyway.

Person #1 $799
Person #2 $800
Person #3 $830 ($1,035 winning price)
Person #4 $1

Person #4 bid wisely, but her past transgressions were too much to overcome and she should have gone high.

Game #6 That's Too Much
The game is always for a car and is rarely won. The contestant is shown a series of increasing prices and must yell "that's too much" once the ascending prices have just passed the actual price of the car. As stated, no one ever wins and neither did this chap. So sorry.

Wheel spinning #2:
Person #1 spins: 25 cents + 15 cents = 40 cents
Person #2 spins: 35 cents + 40 cents = 75 cents
Person #3 spins: 50 cents + 30 cents = 80 cents (Winner!)

Showcase Showdown!
A very careful bidding exercise where you need only worry about one other person and the dreaded overbid. As such the best strategy here is to bid about $2,000 less than what you think the actual price is so as to avoid overbidding and becoming disqualified. The only time you need heed the other player's bid is if they are obviously over. A safe bid is $1 and will guarantee a wide array of treasure.

Person #1 bids $19,777 on doughnuts for a year, a computer, and car (Overbid)
Person #2 bids $13,500 on living room set, spa, trip to Puerto Vallarta (Off by $10,986...Winner!)


CHCgirl said...

This MAY be your most insightful post ever. It will definitely be hard to top.

Eli said...

Did you notice that Karen used the Price is Right tactic last night on The Office when they were guessing jellybeans at the reception desk?

"That's lame, you can't do that."

"It's a strategy!"

Good stuff.

Anonymous said...

What the hell is wrong with person number four. That is, without a doubt, the stupidest thing that has ever happened in the history of time.

I'm tearing things off the wall in my office I'm so upset, and that's why I can't watch this show anymore. It's going to give me an ulcer.


dani said...

Can I use the phone a friend option? Walgreens employee...

JR said...

Andy Viano never posts on MY blog.

lonewolf said...

For starters we do not know if this is Andy Viano or Andy Richter. Second, your blog offers nothing on the longest running game show in television history. And finally, I'm way hotter than you are.

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