Anchoring Effect

So sometime back I was at a client office to discuss a potential project. I was waiting for the manager in the cafeteria which was buzzing with the other employees. Suddenly, I heard someone call out my name and saw a girl approaching me. I didn’t recognize her, which is surprising especially because she is cute. I am not saying that I am shallow and just into the aesthetic appeal, but good looks are not easy to miss.

She came to my table and my puzzled response was visible on my face. With a smile on her face in an inquisitive tone, she said: “You do standup, right?”. This is the moment every ‘artist’ awaits for; a fan! I was on cloud nine, the feeling was indescribable. I finally understood how celebrities feel when fans surround them in day to day lives. I started searching for a pen in my pockets and in an overwhelming tone said: “yeah, which show did you come for?”. She murmured,” Oh no, we met via a dating app, you came to my place and talked basically about your standup for the majority of the time”.

And my celebrity life came crashing down just like that. Although, the bigger concern is how could I not remember meeting someone altogether. I mean I do live a rockstar life with endless parties, and women; but that is mostly just in my head. Anyhow, I covered up by saying “I am sure we had a great time, you seem amazing”. She rebuked with a straight face “Not really, I would have been better off without it”.

Anyway, coming to the MBA concept of the ‘Anchoring Effect‘. In the early ’70s, behavioral economists had defined the term “anchoring”. It is basically the tendency to rely on the first information one receives and use that to make it an anchor in decision-making. Once the anchor is set, all decisions are made according to it, regardless of whether it makes sense or not. These anchors are all across the consumer market, some examples: supermarkets where they have 2 pricing labels showing (as if “by mistake”) the older price and the current one; when buying a car – the initial price offered to be the anchor. Even in the job market, this happens when a potential employee’s compensation is anchored on his previous salary, thus not taking into account the competencies, role fitment, and the potential value to add to the company.

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That brings me to the deja vu girl, I ended up taking a project with the firm. Ironically, the same girl was in my team and I ended up working closely with her over the next couple of months. Turns out, she is quite fun and a lively person; we ended up becoming great friends. So much so for the anchor of online dating platforms. In fact, another team member met the guy she is engaged to be married with via a dating app, a couple of years back. I met people off apps and realized if one wants a substantial connection, in the long run, letting it build up organically is the best way to go about it. Such apps are a great way to meet new people and then go forth with it, according to mutual interest. Given how the world has virtualized in the past decade, such apps are probably a new way for millennials to make a human connection.

Especially, right now with the COVID outbreak, use the online platforms to filter through potential dates, interact with like-minded individuals, network, make new friends, and who knows maybe swipe right into your ‘happily ever after’ life.



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