Infrequent Influxes of Inspiration

Tricking Us into Winning

block heater

Everyone with a car in an area having sub-zero winters knows that a block heater is good for both your car and your wallet. Both stress on various parts and the fuel consumption are reduced by having various warmed stuff under your hood. I guess I can't speak for everyone, but if there's just cold, but not yet freezing, I usually just don't bother. Taking out the power cord, fiddling with the power box keys and trying to jam all the pieces together with your bulky gloves on.

Most of us also know that recycling is good for the environment. Less ugly landfills would be needed. The industry wouldn't have to mine for metals or manufacture more glass. I guess I can't speak for everyone, but since I'm just one person, I can't litter all that much. I don't really think my efforts matter that much. Besides, who has the time or space to keep every little piece of trash separated from each other, properly sorted into their own little recepticles?

Just a few weeks ago, we got a fan heater installed in our car. It works in tandem with the car's block heater: at the same time as the block heater gets power, the heater warms the car's cabin up. It's awesome to be able to sit in a car that's, instead of 10 degrees below freezing, 10 degrees above freezing. I sure am going to make sure to use that fan heater even above freezing temperatures.

Pepsi max

Unrelated, a bottle deposit system was launched somewhere around the early '90s in Finland. Most beverage containers got their prices raised by a small, but noticeable, deposit. Once you return your empty bottles and cans to a machine, you get a receipt for the amount of bottles and their deposits. You then cash it out, usually at a market's cashier. Not only am I recycling all my bottles now, at many outdoor venues you can see people walking around, picking up empty bottles into their huge bike-mounted bottle-bags. These people aren't cleaning up the environment for the venue or the city - they're doing it for themselves, for the deposit money. Those selfish bastards.

I'm now saving my gas money while sitting in a warm car, even if it's -20°C outside. That little fan heater will pay itself off in no time. Not installing that heater would have been costly. I'm now also saving the nature by recycling while I make a small profit. Sure, I paid an equal deposit when I carried the bottle out of the store, but I have no choice. If I don't recycle, I lose money.

This is what I like to call practical psychology—knowing how people think and act, and turning it into good actions for us. People are lazy. They know what's good for them, but that's rarely enough. Having them merely know that something is good for them isn't enough of an incentive for doing it. We need direct satisfaction.

I believe there are lots of similar opportunities around that nobody has realized. What can you do to force everyone to win?

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