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What An Idiot: The Price Is Right

When you've been on for as long as The Price Is Right has, you're bound to get a few morons. Not knowing the "tricks" to the games is excusable enough, but some players go the extra mile and forget what the host just told them (which can be chalked up to TV nervousness and the fact that there are [usually] fabulous prizes on the line, but that's not going to stop us from making fun of you here).

Note: As with the other Game Show pages in What an Idiot, some of the following contestants may very well have given these stupid answers on purpose, whereas others earnestly are stumped, don't know the answer to easy questions, or are unable to provide a correct answer due to the pressures of doing well before the camera. That doesn't make them any less stupid, mind you, but instead they become far more worthy of being here.
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    In General... 
  • For Contestant's Row:
    • Really low bids, unless you're the last bidder and think everyone else has gone over (typically indicated by a $1 bid). Currently, IUFBs begin at $500.
    • Bids that are $1 lower than any previous bid, although doing so has resulted in a perfect bid at least twice.
      • In a similar situation, any contestant that makes a bid $1 higher than the previous contestant and it isn't the last bid. This gives the next (and usually last) contestant the chance to make their bid $1 higher than the previous player, resulting in bids showing like this for example: $545, $900, $901, $902. (However, this has happened to someone who bid $1 that wasn't the last bidder as mentioned above, with the next bidder bidding $2.)
      • There have been multiple occasions in which the first bidder went with a $1 bid.
      • There has been at least one occasion where a contestant makes a bid, then the next person bids one dollar higher, then the person after them bids one dollar higher than them, and the last contestant bids one dollar higher after that person. Guess who doesn't win?
    • Bids of $420 or anything containing "69" are frowned upon. Both are excusable under certain conditions (the highest bid is $419 or $x68), but doing it just for the sake of being "clever" is a one-way path to infamy.
      • There has been at least one contestant who won by bidding $69 since everyone else went over.
    • Any off-the-wall bids, such as $9,000 for a pair of surfboards; $9,999 on a popcorn machine and a Pilates machine; and $2,000,000 on a kitchen island.
    • Any five-digit bid. The display was simply left blank until September 2009, when a new set of LCD displays allowed for five-digit bids to be shown. Probably the most egregious instance was during the 25th-Anniversary Special (August 23, 1996), where it happened right after they showed the lady that bid $9,000 on two surfboards!
  • For pricing games:
    • Saying something like "I've never seen this game" or "I don't know how to play" when the game in question is an easy one like Plinko, Check Game, or Double Prices.
    • Stalling or looking to the audience for help during timed games (Bonkers and Race Game; Split Decision and Time Is Money also applied), especially if you've already been told not to look at the audience for help.
    • Attempting to cheat, especially if the game in question is Flip Flop.
    • Choosing to have the first digit revealed in any game where you are offered to have a digit of the price revealed (Stack the Deck, 2 for the Price of 1; in the case of Stack the Deck, if you're unsure whether the car is above or below $20,000, it's better to ask for the second digit).
      • Sometimes averted if the prize is a luxury car worth between $50,000 and $99,999.
    • In small price games where "higher-lower" questions are asked an incorrect price is given and the contestant is asked "higher" or "lower items costing less than $10 are never used (at least not since the mid-1970s).
  • Specific examples:
    • In Card Game, saving an Ace for later. While continuing to draw cards after playing an Ace could also apply, one player lost by $5 because she had played the Ace but was deliberating on whether to keep drawing...but Bob stopped her, claiming she had already made her final bid.
    • Making one- or three-plus-digit guesses in Cliff Hangers, or thinking an item costs less than the one before it (prices have gone in ascending order since at least the 1990s). Somewhat averted if the contestant still manages to win.
      • Often, the one- or three-plus digit guesses come as the result of the contestant trying to price the item in dollars and cents, when the show (since its 1972 return) has rounded all prizes to the nearest dollar. Thus, why a bid of "350" is taken as $350 (350 dollars), not $3.50 (three dollars and 50 cents).
      • The same can be said for the newer game Rat Race, where the two small price items (one under $100 and the other typically between $150 and $350) have answers rounded to the nearest dollar. It hasn't happened yet, but the potential exists for contestants to give obviously high answers (e.g., $35.99, or 35 dollars and 99 cents) to an item costing $40.
      • Also, prices are the suggested manufacturer's retail price for the item new, not as what might be found in, perhaps, a consignment or Goodwill-type store.
    • Clock Game has made quite a few contestants panic to the point where they can't think straight. You'd expect the player to lower his/her bid when the host says "lower", and raise it when the host says "higher" perhaps binary search if s/he is smart. Instead, we get exchanges like "$599!" "Lower!" "$600!" "Lower!" "$610!" "Lower!"
    • In Golden Road, while on the first or second prize, choosing a digit that already appears as one of the given digits. Also, choosing the lower number on the first prize (the one that connects to the grocery product, which typically begins with 7-9 and ends with 1-2).
    • Losing Grand Game on the first choice, such as this lady from June 19, 2002.
      • Even better; this also happened on April 2, 2013, the first day with a newly refurbished set...followed by a wipeout in Master Key.
    • Picking the cheapest item in Hi-Lo, especially on the first choice.
    • Acknowledge how much you can miss on the last number if you have more than a dollar remaining in Lucky $even. Calling a number from 0-2 or 7-9 when you have $4 remaining is ill-advised.
    • In Magic #, setting the display at anything under $1,500.
    • Picking the most expensive grocery item in Pay The Rent before the final choice.
      • If you really want the top prize, picking the least expensive item on the first choice will make it impossible to win if there is only one correct combination.
    • Choosing the first option in Push Over, thus not "pushing over" any blocks.
    • Wasting the ranges ($1, $10, $100) in Rat Race. For example, wasting the $100 range by saying the prize is $60 means you think it could be -$40.
    • Under the rules of Secret X, there is no reason to place an X in the middle row.
    • In 10 Chances, repeating a guess. Supposedly, there's a 10-second time limit on making a guess, but since this rule has never been enforced since at least the early 1980s, contestants who appear to be having trouble have often been encouraged to review earlier guesses before taking a deep breath and write down their next guess. (This isn't taking into effect the unwritten "Zero Rule" rule, which has been in place since the 1980s and states that zero is always the last number in all three prizes unless it isn't a choice, in which case the last number is always 5.)
      • Also, repeating numbers in the price. The number choices have never used repeats.
    • In That's Too Much!, stopping on the first or last price.
  • For the Showcase Showdown:
    • Most people who spin again on a high number, although this has sometimes resulted in a better score (including $1.00).
    • The third spinner should never take that second spin if they already got a score which beats the leader. This actually happened on the Season 25 finale.
  • For the Showcase:
    • Four-digit bids (mainly since the show used its last sub-$10,000 Showcase on April 22, 1997), or anything less than the current threshold of about $19,000. This could be said to work on the same principle as the even lower bids below.
    • Bids that are quite clearly over. Several people came remarkably close to making six-digit bids on a five-digit display, although this wouldn't be a problem on the current computerized ones due to having shown six-digit grand totals. note 
      • On Dennis James' nighttime show, one lady very nearly bid $100,000 on a Showcase.
      • February 15, 2007: A contestant tried to bid $250,000 on a Showcase containing two motorcycles, but was convinced to tone it $60,000. His opponent promptly bid a dollar and won, once she finished laughing.
      • On one of Tom Kennedy's nighttime shows in 1985, a contestant bid only $22,000 on a $46,000+ showcase that included three trips and HUGE motorhome. Needless to say, he lost.
      • On another Tom Kennedy episode in 1985, a contestant bid only $16,500 on a $35,000+ showcase that included a 1985 Buick Park Avenue (which were very expensive in the mid 1980s). Fortunately, his opponent overbid.
    • Obviously-low bids ($1, $30, $500), usually done if one contestant thinks the other has overbid (on the same principle as $1 bids on Contestant's Row). While it typically works, it also gives you approximately zero chance of winning if your opponent didn't actually overbid (known to have happened at least twice, one of which led to a Double Showcase Win).
    • If your Showcase includes cash, bidding less than the total amount of said money (plus a little more for whatever else is included).

    Bob Barker (1972-2007) 
  • 1972-73: One male contestant tried to go a different route with Clock Game namely, thinking before bidding, rather than rapid-fire. Yes, Clock Game was relatively new, but one would expect a game called Clock Game to emphasize speed. He lost.
  • 1980s: More so a What an Idiot part on the participant's side: In the Phone Home Game, Bob is announcing the rules of the game. For those that weren't around when the game was around, if the caller says the product name instead of the price, the contestant loses a turn. Guess what the participant does? They say the product name instead of the price all three turns, costing both the participant and the contestant a chance of both of them splitting $15,000.
  • 1982: A contestant in Lucky $even ignores the fact that the game board clearly displays only 4 digits, and guesses the first digit is a one (stating that he thinks the Jeep he is playing for costs $11,000). Barker hesitates and even expresses some regret at having to proceed without correcting the contestant, but he goes on to show the first digit is...a nine. The contestant becomes the first person ever to lose on the first digit in Lucky $even.
  • May 26, 1983: A contestant playing Lucky $even gets the first three digits exactly right...then loses on the last digit.
  • December 21, 1984: Bob is normally at the top of his game but makes one of his worst mistakes on this episode. The game is Pick a Pair and the contestant choses two grocery items whose prices did not match. At this point, the contestant can select either item and choose a third, hoping that price matches the one he kept. However, Bob notices the cards hiding the prices are flimsy and promptly tells him which item he should have picked the first time...which not surprisingly led to him winning a trip to Japan.
  • July 1, 1988: A contestant plays Add 'em Up and picks the first number (9) to choose for free. Then she promptly wipes out by attempting to add two numbers that didn't add up to 18. note  What makes this more painful, had she picked the third number, she could've had a perfect playing.
  • May 28, 1990: This One Away playing for a Lincoln Mark VII.
  • April 1991: Another bad Ten Chances playing, complete with really bad guesses and Bob quickly getting impatient with the contestant's ineptness. It took her about seven or eight chances just to get to the car. Unlike Joy fifteen years later, she didn't win the car.
  • November 14, 1991: Mohini great at pricing, bad at the actual meat of SuperBall!! despite Bob's attempts to get her to roll underhanded instead of throwing the balls. This segment (the opening segment) ran for twelve and a half minutes, during which Barker got in several great quips. (The full episode from its original airing can be seen here, with the Mohini mess beginning at 6:57.)
  • September 14, 1992: A contestant playing Cliff Hangers clearly has no clue how much a small Bulova watch costs, guessing $395 and then $2,500. He then asks Bob to change his answer again, and does $350. It actually cost $25.
  • 1993-94: A contestant playing Lucky $even is given the first digit and told to guess the second. As cars were just barely over $10,000 at the time, anything from 0-3 would've been a reasonable guess. Apparently not seeing the first digit already revealed, and thinking it was a four-digit car, she says 9 and loses right off the bat.
  • November 1, 1993: A Check-Out player who guessed really high prices at the time. The audience and Bob responded in disgust to most of his guesses. He lost so badly, Bob joked that he got a prize for missing the target range of 50 cents.
  • January 21, 1994: One Clock Game player barely got up to three-digit bids before time ran out. And he gets progressively louder as he does.
  • April 19, 1994: A Magic # playing where the contestant thought $110 would be a good guess. To be fair, a granddad would probably think a rocking horse for his grandchild would cost about 1/20th the price of a motor scooter and you can typically get a rocking horse that size made in China for $100 and a bike for $2,000. The mistake here is that the guess should be nearer the middle figure, not the bare minimum.
  • March 20, 1995: During one Money Game playing, the contestant (playing for a Plymouth Neon) picked the last two numbers right off the bat. As there are typically three obvious candidates for the first two numbers (10, 12, and 14 here), this was a win and perhaps some extra moneynote ... but if that was the case, it wouldn't be here.
  • September 11, 1995: On the very first game of the 24th season, Golden Road is played with the grand prize being a Lincoln Town Car. The first prize on the Golden Road is a recliner with the price shown as -65, and the choices being 7 and 2. Guess which number the contestant picks? To make things even worse, the show ultimately ended with a Double Overbid.
  • June 12, 1996: A contestant gave three ridiculous bids on a toy guitar in Cliff Hangers ($2,000, then $450, then $850). Hilarity Ensues when Bob started badgering the mountain climber to get a move on because "I've got prizes to give away!"
  • October 30, 1996: A lady playing Grand Game didn't notice the adhesive price (below the target) was already revealed due to a prop malfunction until she lost the game. Bob was reluctant to give her the $100, but eventually he did.
  • January 16, 1997: In the final playing of Split Decision, Jason guessed the dishwasher was $512 twice. Bob was more surprised that he didn't guess $512 a third time.
  • April 4, 1997: A Check Game contestant wrote a check for $7,000, which Bob immediately voided and allowed her to write a new amount. She still lost.
  • November 2, 1998: A Make Your Move contestant thought a trip to Guadalajara was $7,082. Bob even chastised the contestant's decision.
    Bob: You think the trip is $7,082? Have you ever been to Guadalajara?
    Contestant: No, I haven't.
  • December 1998: Another Make Your Move contestant takes more than three minutes to set the markers correctly, and then wanted and got an opportunity to change her answer, for which it took another minute and a half. For the life of her, she could not understand that the markers do not overlap. Needless to say, she lost, and Bob was grateful when the game mercifully ended; he refused to allow her to make another switch.
  • February 11, 1999: Brian, playing Clock Game, does a decent job with the first prize. Hilarity Ensues when he begins bidding on the second.
    Bob: Brian, what kind of a show do you think this is?
  • April 1999: A Secret X player loses because she tries to line up three X's on the left side of the board, when a win actually has to be made using the center column. (Besides that, she didn't get the third X.)
  • January 27, 2000: A Ten Chances playing with eight chances used on the first two items, complete with four bad guesses out of ten.
  • February 15, 2002: A contestant playing It's In The Bag got exactly zero items in their right bags.
  • February 2002: A contestant bids $50,000 on a Showcase that contained two motorcycles; he had passed the first Showcase that had a camping trailer as the keynote prize, and his disgust showed as the copy for the final prize was read it was clear he was on the show to (perhaps) win a car, and a nice one at that and he was clearly annoyed when Barker asked him to clarify whether he was bidding $15,000 or $50,000.note 
  • April 24, 2002: A Ten Chances contestant looked and acted like he wanted to get attention and fame for epically failing.
  • June 20, 2002 (nighttime): A Marine walking the Golden Road is shown a set of auto mechanic tools ending in -04. With the choices of 7 and 1, guess which number he picks?
  • October 2, 2002: A Check Game contestant initially writes a check for $13,000. Fortunately, he changes to $2,000 and wins.
  • November 7, 2002 (Paul Boland announcing): A perfect example of how not to play Race Game the contestant took too much time conferring with the audience, rather than pay attention to the game.
  • January 19, 2004 (Daniel Rosen announcing): Janice plays One Away for a Pontiac Vibe and guesses $37,840 on her first turn. Bob is shocked that she has only one number right, and she elects to change the price to $39,622...and loses on the first number reveal. (If you listen carefully, you can hear her group yelling at her.)
  • April 6, 2004: An older lady playing On The Spot loses by guessing that an ice bucket is $30 twice.
  • June 3, 2004: Another failure in Ten Chances, where the contestant and the audience almost constantly thinks a karaoke machine costs $200.note  WARNING: Includes an "x69" guess and redundant chance-using.
  • January 7, 2005: A contestant playing Cliff Hangers thought a cookie press cost $275, but changed her an even bigger eyesore of $350. note 
  • February 14, 2005: Yet another Cliff Hangers debacle: A contestant thought the first prize, an $18 children's electric toothbrush, cost $90.
  • May 1, 2006: This playing of Ten Chances, where the contestant repeats a number in the price once on the eighth chance, and four times on the ninth. And then she wins, to which Bob sits down in complete shock.
  • June 16, 2006: A playing of Ten Chances where Bob nearly gives up on a contestant who thinks a Chevrolet Malibu costs $68,000.

    Doug Davidson (1994-95) 
  • One episode had a Squeeze Play setup of 73995, which meant that two of the three choices led to the same price ($7,395) and hence increased the odds of winning to 50%. Usually, a setup with duplicate choices has the other number in the middle (which is almost always the one to remove).

    Drew Carey (2007-Present) 
  • May 20, 2008: A guy named Joseph gave a bid of $2,000,000 on an IUFB, plus $420 and numbers ending in "69". He never won, and the episode was put on CBS' prestigious "DO NOT RERUN" list.
  • September 25, 2008: Contestant Alicia asks "Do I say a number or higher or lower?" and "Do I pick a number?" during the one-bid. Amazingly, she makes it on stage and plays Golden Road where she loses on the first prize.
  • November 26, 2008: A contestant playing Cliff Hangers misses the first small prize by only $2 and nails the second prize. Because prices are in ascending order, this very likely guarantees a car with a guess of $50-$55 for the third prize...of course, it wouldn't be listed here.
  • January 28, 2009: THIS Check Game.
  • January 30, 2009: Two really bad Showcase overbids.
  • May 22, 2009: A contestant playing Grocery Game selects the ranch dressing and purchases 10 of them, then revealed to be $4.29 each. You do the math.
  • October 14, 2009: A contestant playing Pathfinder guessed the first four numbers correctly on his first try for each, then stepped on the wrong choice for the last number, a seemingly-innocent 0, which turned out to be a "trap" answer (a fairly common trend in car games in the Drew/Mike era is having 0, 5, or 9 as a possible choice for the last digit only for it to be wrong). No perfect game, sure, but a good vantage point with three chances to own the car by winning any one of the three "second chance" prizes. Despite this, he failed to get any of them. Among the prizes he missed? A Nintendo DS adaptation of Price which he apparently thought was $50. DS games never cost more than $35 unless some kind of peripheral is included.
    • To be fair, the games for most systems dating back to SNES and Sega Genesis have retailed for $50 or more. If you're not familiar with DS games specifically $50 would seem the more reasonable guess.
  • October 31, 2009: On the annual Halloween episode, the Showcase contestants each bid $4,200. A reasonable bid for circa 1975, yes, but not for 2009.[[note]](One of these may have been a backdoor "420" reference, but even then shouldn't it have been $42,000?)
  • December 17, 2009: A Clock game contestant narrows the price of his second prize (an outdoor dining set) to a $10 range with 11 seconds remaining. He then chokes, making bids outside of said range, including two bids in both dollars and cents.
  • December 18, 2009: A one-bid for a piano had the following bids $12,000; $12,001; $13,000; $1.
  • April 21, 2010: A contestant playing Magic # (begins at 3:00) made a guess of $371 for a satellite TV package and an HDTV. Before Drew could ask to reveal the HDTV price, the crowd was literally screaming at the contestant to guess a lot higher, so Drew let the guy change his guess except he only upped the amount to $496. The prices? $1,560 and $2,499. Drew's comment, "off by a little", doesn't even begin to describe how dense this guy was.
  • October 21, 2010: Oy.
    • A contestant bids $420 repeatedly, from the moment of coming on down to the final IUFB.
    • Another contestant plays Ten Chances, but makes three consecutive guesses not ending in zero, with five bad guesses in total, and he doesn't even win the second prize.
  • April 5-6, 2011: Two consecutive shows with Rat Race...and two consecutive wipeouts.
  • April 7, 2011: A contestant named Alexander blatantly proves he hasn't seen the show before bidding $35,000 on the first IUFB before asking "What am I bidding on?", then thinking he was supposed to bring the groceries over himself during It's In The Bag. After losing on the first item, he asked "Do I win anything?" upon finding out he had placed one item correctly.
  • May 27, 2011: A contestant named George plays Magic # for a "diner booth set" and a "retro" fridge. Considering the prices are $1,749 and $4,195 respectively, this is one of the easiest setups in the game's history...but he still manages to blow it by setting the display at $746.
  • May 30, 2011: Carlos loses More Or Less on the first prize by thinking a set of dumbbells is less than $350.
  • May 31, 2011: A contestant bids $8,000 on a Showcase consisting of trips to Paris, Miami, and Beverly Hills plus $6,000 cash, and is off by over $20,000. Had her opponent not overbid...
  • June 1, 2011: A contestant playing Race Game is told by Drew to just "throw the pricetags down as fast as you can", and she does so, dropping them on the floor; as the game operator can't tell which tags fell where, the display shows 0 instead of 1. While the tags are picked up and she doesn't drop them on the floor again, she ends up losing...but before she spins in the Showcase Showdown, Drew announces that they're giving her all four prizes. Basically, she was awarded the prizes on a technicality because she listened to Drew's badly-worded explanation.
  • June 16, 2011: A contestant playing Cliff Hangers guesses $5, $7, and $6 on a measuring cup, an egg cooker, and a whipped cream dispenser respectively (the correct prices were $10-$22-$26).
  • October 28, 2011: A contestant playing Freeze Frame guesses $1,199 for a $6,175 outdoor furniture group.
  • November 2, 2011: A Magic # setup even easier than the one above, most likely the easiest in its history a DirecTV package worth $1,128 and a 55" Samsung LED-LCD HDTV worth $3,800. A $2,672 difference, and yet Bethany manages to blow it by setting the display at $865; making matters worse is that she had it up to about $1,100 at one point before her friends yelled at her to lower it.
  • March 9, 2012: Two real stinkers.
    • Anjuli plays Clock Game, beginning with an $848 Panasonic Lumix with underwater camcorder. Cue the Surfaris' Wipeout.
    • A Showcase contestant is offered three trips (to South Padre Island, Miami, and Greece)... and bids $5,500, being off by over $20,000. Unlike the May 2011 example, her opponent didn't overbid on his own.
  • March 20, 2012: Hampar guesses $85 on the first item in Cliff Hangers, a three-piece ceramic tea set valued at just $20.
  • April 9, 2012: Another Clock Game stinker. The first prize is $549, but not only does Donna go all over the place and come within a dollar of the price, she also hesitates throughout, wasting time as she guesses slowly. And she doesn't get to the second prize.
  • April 19, 2012: A young woman playing Bonkers clearly didn't pay attention to Drew's explanation, as she not only takes the paddles back to him instead of putting them on the board but wastes time looking at the audience for help. Somehow, she won.
  • September 25, 2012: A contestant bids $10,000 on a Showcase that has, among other things, a hybrid car. She was off by over $20,000, and her opponent won.
  • March 20, 2013: One for the staff. The show now routinely does couples specials where pairs of contestants compete. On this particular episode, one of the prizes offered during a pricing game is free groceries for a year...for one person.
  • April 25, 2013: This was a very black day for the show, marking what will go down as the Great Ferrari Fiasco. The show was celebrating "Big Money Week", offering exorbitant cash prizes in some pricing games. The exception was Monday which had a $200,000+ Ferrari Spider offered in Three Strikes, with the board inflated to six digits rather than five. The contestant, looking like she never owned a car above four digits, gave up and repeatedly tried to guess the first digit with every number, including 8- yes, she thought the Ferrari was worth $800,000+. She practically asked the strikes to leap out of the bag and go on a dinner date with her.
  • May 31, 2013: Another for the staff. Squeeze Play was given a setup of 102266, which meant that two of the four choices led to the same price ($10,266) and hence increased the chances of winning to 1 in 3.
  • September 24, 2013: Brittnany ignores the crowd while playing Cliff Hangers, and says that a relatively basic stainless steel teapot is $45. Needless to say, she lost (it was only $19), and proceeded to claim it was her Mom's fault.
    • To her credit, she redeemed herself later on. She made it to the Showcase and won a trip to Washington, DC and a sailboat worth around $30,000.
  • October 29, 2013: Yet another abysmal 10 Chances playing, this time with eight chances used on the second item, a pair of digital cameras. He expends half of the chances on bad guesses. By the time he wins the tenth chance, it's over.
  • May 20, 2014: If you thought the Race Game playing from November 2002 was bad (see above) contestant Kelly opened the game by getting all four tags wrong, which is a terrible start but also not uncommon. However, she then goes into BSOD mode: first, she spends 15 precious seconds staring at the crowd for advice (with Drew begging her to get going), switches only two tags despite having none correct already, and when she pulls the lever she still has zero right. With time left for one last shuffle, she picks up two tags, thinks about it, places the tags back where they were, and pulls the lever as if it would change. When the big red zero came up for the third time, she resigned her remaining six seconds to stare sadly in resignation, knowing she rightfully earned her spot on this trope page.

Now you've had enough... bitch!"

The Newlywed GameWhatAnIdiot/Live-Action TVWheel of Fortune

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