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Headscratchers / The Price Is Right

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"The price is wrong, bitch!"

  • Is it weird that "Any Number" almost always comes down to one slot left in all three prizes? I realize the odds would say that's normal - if you have one price with two slots open and one with one, you have a better chance of picking a number in the two slot one - but it still seems like 99% of the time the contestant picks the numbers just right to come down to that "Ok, this one is for all the marbles" pick.
  • Bidding one dollar higher than the highest bid may be "strategic", but it also makes you look like 1) a cut-throat jerk or 2) an idiot.
    • A-l-e-x-99: This tactic is Older Than You Think: TPIR has its roots in auctioneering. The original Bill Cullen version was nothing but what we would consider the One-Bid game today (the One-Bid was used occasionally—the main part of the game was open bidding). And if you've ever been to a live auction or have ever gone to eBay, you'll notice that people there do in fact pull such underhanded tactics in order to win. So, $1-higher bids are effectively an artifact from the old days. And sometimes, the old ways are still the best ways in the eyes of many.
    • This screenshot from the July 5, 1957 daytime telecast, shows that they pulled the $1 over back then. (Poetic justice: All four players overbid on the item they were playing for. And back then, they didn't give the players a second chance.)
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    • What's so bad about being a cut-throat jerk when you're trying to win on a game show, especially when more than just great prizes are at stake? Some people wait their whole life to get the chance to travel to Television City and take their place in the audience, hoping and praying that their funny T-shirt, nice rack, or military uniform will be enough to earn an invitation to "come on down" to Contestant's Row. And once you get there, there's no turning back. If you don't get picked, you can always attend another show, but once you're Down, the worst case scenario is a parting gift and a "have a nice life". Any legal move that can help you to break through to the magical world of Pricing Games and Showcase Showdowns is highly recommended.
      • Besides, the $1 trick is only useful if you're the last bidder in the round. If you try it as the second or third bidder, the next player (if they agree that you're still under) can simply add another dollar themselves, making it impossible for you to win unless you have bid exactly right. The same goes for bidding $1 period because you think everybody's over. A subsequent $2 bid makes you toast. Since the bidding after the first item always begins with the most recent addition to the Row, and proceeds left to right, it's possible even for a member of the First Four to never have a chance to use either move all game. You need to either be the fourth bidder on the first item, or have the player to your immediate left win with at least one item remaining. Even then, you still have to be able to identify the highest non-over bid, or recognize a situation where it's likely that everybody's over. I really don't think they're underhanded tactics at all. ... Or maybe I'm the jerk (or just a weird kind of giant nerd) for having analyzed TPIR so thoroughly. Not sure.
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    • What makes it even more annoying is the jerk will often ask what the person before them bid so they can do the whole 1 dollar higher crap. If you can't pay attention it ain't up to the host to help your dumb ass.
      • Or they couldn't hear the bid well because it's frakking loud in there.
    • Ladies and gentlemen, the Smeghead Gambit in action.
  • The people who win a brand-new car during their pricing game are usually the top winners in the Showcase, which means they get to see the first Showcase and decide to bid or pass. If the first Showcase has a car in it...they will bid, every time, even though they already have a brand-new car! If the first Showcase does not have a car... they will pass, every time, and then look disappointed if the second Showcase does not contain a brand-new car!
    • There was one early 90's episode in which the top winner specifically stated that she passed a car showcase to the other contestant because she had already won a car and the other player just missed winning one in her own game. Her generosity was rewarded when the second showcase turned out to be the more expensive of the two ( a trip, a hottub and a camper).
    • To be fair, the way the government (here in the USA at least) screws us over with "gift taxes" and the like, you'd have to win two cars and sell one to be able to pay the taxes on and therefore keep the other.
  • As long as the Ten Chances game has been played, you would think that some of the morons who win their way up on stage would know some of the tricks to winning each other items. It is probably the most painful pricing game to watch.
    • To be fair, Ten Chances (at least in this troper's view) doesn't seem to get played very often, so it's not surprising to see contestants not knowing some of the tricks to the game.
      • But is that the chicken or the egg? Perhaps Ten Chances isn't played as often because contestants seem to not have grasped that the price nearly always ends in zero.
  • Secret X and Plinko. Two games where the contestant can do everything right and still get nothing. With bad enough luck in Plinko, even if you win all the chips they could still land on no money. With Secret X, even if you play the pricing segment of the game perfectly, you still only have a two thirds chance to win the game.
    • Sometimes games are like that. The Price Is Right already isn't exactly a game of skill and hard knowledge, anyway.
  • The Davidson 1994 series. The three contestants called up could all strike out on their games and the winner of whichever Showdown they use (Wheel, "The Price Was Right") could lose in the Showcase, which means nobody wins squat.
  • In "Punch-A-Bunch" the punching board is 5x10, making 50 punching spots. But on the bottom it says there's a total of 54 prizes...
    • That's because there's one "Second Chance" bonus attached to one slip in each of the four lowest prizes.
      • Which no longer applies now that they've revised the format to a $25,000 maximum grand prize, with there also being the original $10,000 as one prize and the $50 minimum being upped to $100 and a few changes to how many of each slip is in the punchboard. Because of these changes, the game no longer accommodates "Second Chance" bonuses to avoid cleaning up like crazy. There are now strictly 50 prizes.
  • People who repeatedly bid 420. There is a studio filled with 300 people hoping to be a contestant; just nine are picked. You're lucky to be on a nationally televised game show, and this is how you act? Really??
    • Wait, what? They probably just want to bid a bit more than 400, what's the complaint?
      • "420" is a term related to the use of marijuana and other such drugs. Used in the context of Price, it's referred to as the "stoner bid".
      • People are willing to do anything to be remembered for stupid stuff they did on TV just for the sake of "hey, remember when I was on TV and did...?" Thanks to YouTube and other video hosting sites, now everyone's antics will be uploaded and that person will get attention, even if it's the wrong kind.
      • I don't see what the problem is. Sure, it's stupid, but what's the point of going on a a game show other than to have fun? That's fun to those people, so let them be!
      • Um... to maybe win tens of thousands of dollars? Most people would view that as more important than working in a tired pot joke.
      • In gameplay terms, bidding $420 is the exact same effect as bidding $1. Maybe a slightly better bid if anyone is unskilled enough to bid below that amount afterwards. Still tired though.
      • To repeat the first respondent, maybe they just want to bid a bit more than 400 and have some fun with it at the same time? It's not like it would be an unreasonable bid for some of the stuff Price puts out there without the other connotations.
    • On that note, what's wrong with a bid ending in 69?
      • Nothing. It's just that as with 420, the humor just strikes a lot of folks as juvenile.
      • On a related note, someone actually did that. He was a gynecologist who won with that bid, which was another aspect of getting the joke, and it was when the Drew Carey era began, and we all know his rep for dirty jokes and contagious laugh. Link all of that together, and everyone in the world watching the clip on YouTube probably got the joke.
  • I'm left wondering why the show bothers having Pocket Change around anymore. Every wrong guess you make raises the target score to win the car by 25 cents and once you get it over a dollar or more, you stand almost no chance of winning. Contestants seem to always draw the lowest amount possible and rarely draw a higher value.
    • The drawing of the "pocket change" involves a bit of luck since all the values are hidden in the little envelopes.
  • What if the "10,000th" joke was supposed to be a parody of people ridiculing the show for getting episode counts wrong on their "special" episodes?
  • When Clock Game is played properly, it's a thrill. Every now and then, though, you get thrown for a loop.
    • How many contestants have made two bids in one breath? Or bid in the double digits? If that isn't a headscratcher, nothing is.
  • Why is Lucky Seven still played? It reeks of Fake Difficulty, type 2. The $6 margin of error is way too small for the prices a new car goes for these days, and the last three digits of any car price are arbitrary anyway. And the game is boring; it's like watching someone guess lottery numbers. TPIR needs to retire it, or give contestants a break.
    • You can say that for quite a few car games on the show—Temptation, Cover Up, Money Game, etc. Heck, many—perhaps even a majority—of the non-car games are rooted in little more than blind luck—it's not like there's an exact science to guessing the prices of household appliances.
    • There's also the fact that no price of a car used in this game (since the early '80s) ever features a zero, which adds a little sliver of fairness to the game and some mercy, because a zero is fairly easy to guess as a final number of a rounded off car amount, and a surprise zero in the middle of the price would throw contestants for a loop.
  • It's in the Bag seems to have a high volume of contestants who choke at the $4,000 payoff and back out of the game. The $1,000 is usually a gimme as the cheapest and most obvious grocery item, then the $2,000 mark follows in the opposite direction with the most expensive item. But from there, it just seems random and contestants settle with what they've got.
  • Has the "spay and neuter your pets" thing become so ingrained in the show that it would be heretically out of place for a guest host (such as an April Fool's Day host or Ricki Lake's Gameshow Marathon one-off) to not mention it at the end? Unlike Bob Barker, neither Drew Carey nor the guest hosts ever seem to exhibit a strong passion in animal ethics/population control/etc. outside of the show, so tradition or not, it seems much more tacked on, almost like a contractual obligation, when someone aside from Barker (or even Carey) mentions it.
    • It was Drew Carey's choice to continue saying it. When Bob appeared for his 90th birthday, he told the audience that Drew's first comment to him when they met was that the spay and neuter message was going to stay during his tenure.
      • OP here: I knew about Drew's original intentions, but by "stay during his tenure", did Drew mean he would make sure everyone else would say it as well, as long as he was still hosting the show in the long run? Or are the guest hosts still allowed to sign off however they want, but just decide to take it up on their own merit?
      • Reportedly, Drew chose to continue the sign-off because he loves Bob so much. His statements most likely meant that as long as he was hosting the show, it would be carried on. Others have said it at times during his tenure when he wasn't performing the hosting duties.
  • Switcheroo is probably the most poorly-played game on the show. The idea is to price the small items correctly, so as to determine the arbitrary fourth digit of the car by process of elimination. Players always guess the car digit first. And they play way too fast; 30 seconds is plenty of time to think about and place each block. If you take your time and try to price the small items correctly, the game's actually pretty winnable.
    • One thing which is rather bothersome in of itself is that the game was originally designed for cars with four numbers instead of five, and the game expanded to five numbers later on due to price inflation (which is why the bars on one side of the board are thinner than the others, due to the redesign forcing an unplanned conservation of space by shriking those bars). Why they don't just straighten it out with a new design (some bizarre fascination with the unusual asymmetrical aesthetic, like maybe in being misshapen it has a story to it they're fond of?) is anyone's guess.
  • The totally bizarre inclusion of the non-pricing game Professor Price, an anomaly for the ages that was only played twice, first won, then lost, and now has the dubious honor of being included on the video game adaptation of the show. In what universe was it even conceivable to include a game that has trivia questions on a strictly pricing game show?
    • Actually, for the record, Professor Price was won both times it appeared.
  • Why do people still lose Cliff Hangers when the $25/$35/$45 guideline for guessing the three prices is so widely known?
    • Because when you include the pressure of being on television and in front of a studio audience, all of whom are shouting suggestions at you, sometimes your mind just goes blank and you don't think about it.