Sarah Sheard's Thoughts and Theories

Friday, February 02, 2007

Sarah's Theory of Assortments

I spent this last week in hotels. Two assortments were obvious: the hard candy dishes that were in every conference room, and the teabag assortments that were with the catering.

I realized I've always had the following theory about assortments:

Whenever there is an assortment, chances are good that nearly all of the ones you encounter will be the kinds most people don't like.

You see, suppose the hotel pours an amount of candy into a dish from a mixed bag.
Everyone eats the ones they like (red, green, and depending on exactly who is eating, black, tend to go early).
What's left is the stuff no one likes (white, for example).

The hotel sees the bowl is half full, and:
Pours some more from the mixed bag into the bowl.
Leaving half stuff no one likes, and half standard assortment.
If you repeat this a few times, you will get entire bowls with candies no one likes.
The only way to abort this is wasteful: throw out the entire bowl.

Similarly with Teas: the caterer kept adding more of the standard tea assortment to the mix. Eventually nothing like "plain" tea was left...only herbal fruity stuff.