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What An Idiot / The Price Is Right

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When you've been on the air for as long as The Price Is Right has, more than a few morons are bound to find themselves within the live studio audience. Not knowing how the games are played is excusable enough (especially if you're a first-time player or infrequent viewer), but going the extra mile and forgetting what the host just told them is something completely different. Granted, this can be chalked up to stage fright, and the fact that there are [usually] fabulous prizes on the line. Then again, these aforementioned reasons aren't 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; $1 bidders who aren't last to play usually see the final player bid $2). 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. A contestant on the May 20, 2008 show managed to do this throughout the entire episode — earning that episode the distinction of being forbidden to ever be rerun.
      • There has been at least one contestant who won by bidding $69 since everyone else went over.
      • On the April 21, 2010 show, a contestant won by bidding $420. Hilariously, the contestant next to him initially went on stage, thinking she had won. The $420 bidder would go on to play one of the worst playings of Magic # in recent memory (listed below).
      • Repeated again on April 18, 2017, where a contestant bid $111, $666, and $420 on three consecutive prizes, with the $420 bid getting him up on stage. However, he wound up being a serious contestant, winning a car, and $10,000 on the Showcase Showdown.
    • Any off-the-wall bids, such as $9,000 for a pair of surfboards (this one earned the bidder a tongue-lashing from Bob Barker); $9,999 on a popcorn machine and a Pilates machine; $2,000,000 on a kitchen island, and $5,000,000 on conga drums.
    • 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!
    • Whenever all four contestants overbid and have to rebid, at least one contestant bids higher than the lowest overbid.
    • Bids which are one dollar lower than a previous bid are questionable but not totally idiotic, but they are a massive crapshoot. You are essentially gambling on the person who bid above you being one dollar over and going for the perfect bid, but more than likely ruining your own chances of winning the round, unless you are trying to throw the round and wait for better prize, especially if two rounds have passed without a vehicle appearing in either half of the show (at least one vehicle always gets offered as a prize within the 3 pricing games per show halves).
  • For pricing games:
    • No matter what, above all else, don't ever say you DON'T need the prizes. There is nothing worse you can do than that. But some cocky guy on the Race Game said that as a joke and got Bob spitting mad and nearly booed off the show right that instant.
    • 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 or popular one like Plinko, Check Game, Double Prices, or Hole In One.
    • Stalling or looking to the audience for help during some timed games (Bonkers, Time Is Money (both versions) and Race Game; Split Decision also applied in the mid 90's), especially if you've already been told not to look at the audience for help. Switcheroo is an exception, as you have 30 seconds to make one guess (and another 30 seconds for the other if necessary).
    • Attempting to cheat, especially if the game in question is Flip Flop.
    • In any game that requires you to guess a price that's a given amount of digits from a set of possible choices, do not put a zero as the first digit. One 10 Chances player in March 2021 actually tried this by writing down "07" for a $70 gumball machine.
    • Choosing to have the first digit revealed in any game where you are offered to have a digit of the price revealed (the retired Add 'em Up, 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 more expensive car worth at least $40,000.
    • 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).
    • In games that ask you to find the price of a pair of identical prizes, picking a price that ends in an odd number is ill-advised.
  • Currently, all pricing games offer a minimum of $5,000 in prizes. For games that are often played for a single, four-digit prize (Push Over, Bonkers, Freeze Frame), nothing under $5,000 should be picked. In Bonkers especially, if the first digit of the fake price is 5 or lower, placing its paddle below it instead of over it is a wasted guess.
  • 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 (which WON'T be possible with a three digit bid, since the mountain has a $25 range and the prizes almost never go above $60).
      • 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 the following:
    Contestant: $599!
    Host: Lower.
    Contestant: $600!
    Host: Lower.
    Contestant: $610!
    Host: 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.
      • Calling a 0, while still allowed, should never be done as that digit is no longer used in the game at all.
    • In Magic #, setting the display at anything under $1,500.
    • In Money Game, picking either or both of the wrong choices for the "front" of the car after picking the correct choice.
    • Picking the most expensive grocery item in Pay The Rent before the final choice, the attic (no matter how complex the pricing gets, the most expensive item must still go in the attic to have any chance of making it).
      • If you really want the top prize, picking the least expensive item on the first choice (the mailbox) 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, a guess of $60 with a $100 range means you think it could be as low as -$40.
    • In Safe Crackers, not picking 0 for the last digit.
    • Under the rules of Secret X, there is no reason to place an X in the middle row. At least six contestants have done this, including one on the premiere. So far in Season 44, this has happened three times.
      • Even worse, placing the first earned X in the same column as the free X, meaning that losing out on the third and final X will result in an automatic loss since there is no way to win without two X's in opposite columns. At least two contestants have done this to date, with one losing after failing to earn the third X and the other still managing to win.
    • 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.)
      • Also, repeating numbers in the price. The number choices have never used repeats.
      • Until approximately the late 90s, sometimes zero was not a valid choice, in which case the last number was always 5. However, this has never happened ever since. Doesn't stop many of today's contestants from making guesses ending in 5 (when available) after a few unsuccessful guesses ending in 0, though.
    • In That's Too Much!, stopping on the first or last price.
      • After Season 38, the correct stopping points have never been the second or ninth prices either. This comes after an infamous period where several consecutive playings during that season had the correct price in one of those two spots. Needless to say, all of these playings were lost. Ever since, the correct price has most often been in the third or eighth spots.
    • In either version of Time Is Money, leaving one of the podiums empty at any point. To this day, the game has always been set up so that all three podiums will be used.
  • 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 Electra Park Avenue (which were very expensive in the mid 1980s). Fortunately, his opponent overbid. His low bid might have been justifiable, since the car did not look that expensive.
    • 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).
    • This trope applies to the entire audience in some playings of 10 Chances where they will collectively chant prices that don't end in zero.
    • In the Australian version, bidding $2 more or less than any previously valid bid when bidding for the Showcase. If you're wrong, there's a good chance you've handed the contestant the Showcase. (Averted when the range has already been narrowed down to only two possible prices.)

    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 who 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.
  • October 22, 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 $12,000). 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.
    You'd Expect: The contestant to guess 5 for the last digit, or at least 4 or 6, which would guarantee her a win regardless of what the number ended up being.
    Instead: She guesses 0, and the last digit ends up being 8.
  • 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 chooses two grocery items whose prices do not match. At this point, he can keep either item and choose a third, hoping that price matches. Bob notices the cards hiding the prices are flimsy and tells him which item he should have picked the first time. Not surprisingly, the contestant wins 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 contestant (and her friend in the audience) believed that a Lincoln Mark VII luxury car cost $12,000. According to the crew, she was the first contestant to play One Away and not get a single number right (which disqualified her from the second chance, since all the numbers at this point would reveal the correct price).
  • 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 Gitano watch costs, guessing $395 and then $2,500. He then asks Bob to change his answer again, and does $350. It actually cost $25.
  • October 30, 1992: In a rarity, Money Game is played for a sailboat (which is five digits in price). Caroline (the contestant) is down to her last pick, and she has already uncovered the stern of the boat (that's the back, for those that are naval illiterate).
    • You'd Expect: For her to pick either "10" (which is hiding the bow {or front} of the boat) or "12" (which is hiding a dollar sign), as those are the most logical choices.
    • Instead: She picks "59".
  • 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.
  • January 19, 1995: A contestant playing Hole in One starts off on the wrong foot by putting the medicine as the first pennant, which was the most expensive item. Then he plays the putting portion, missing both putts by miles. Bob remarked "If it were Hole in Three, he may have gotten it."
  • February 22, 1995: On the debut of Freeze Frame, the contestant playing for a $4,553 bed guesses $1,282.note 
  • 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 prize, a dinnerware set. His first bid is $89, followed by $105.
    Bob: Brian, what kind of a show do you think this is?
  • April 27, 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.
    • Later on that show, a contestant bids $19,000 on a showcase that featured a Chrysler LXI and trips to New York City and Vermont. Beth, the contestant who got none of the items right in It's in the Bag, almost won both showcases but missed it by $144.
  • 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. The contestant later on redeemed himself by winning his showcase.
  • 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?
  • September 27, 2002: A contestant bid $90,000 on a showcase consisting of tickets to an LA Dodgers game, a trip to San Francisco, and a Chrysler PT Cruiser. She was over by just under $60,000.
  • 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.
  • April 24, 2004: On a Million Dollar Spectacular, a contestant buys 25 cans of Bruce's Yams for her first purchase and goes over the limit. The register can total up only 20 of one item, so the amount has to be calculated offstage.
  • 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.
  • April 4, 2005: A contestant playing Flip Flop, instead of flipping the panels, as instructed, pushes the button revealing the correct price, thus messing up the game completely. Bob, who was already disillusioned with him, for coming up onstage very slowly for a young man, stormed off the stage at this point, exclaiming he could not share the stage with such a troublemaker. (But Bob untimely decided to award the prize anyway.)
  • 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 on the tenth and final chance, 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.
  • December 16, 2006: A woman overbid her prize on the Showcase Finals. She screams for excitement that she has won. And Bob Barker scolded "NO! YOU ARE OVER!"

    Dennis James (1972-77) 
  • 1976: On an early playing of Cliff Hangers, Dennis called the mountain climber "Fritz", unaware that Janice Pennington's husband who had disappeared while mountain climbing in Afghanistan around that time also happened to be named Fritz. This led to a Dude, Not Funny! moment when the contestant lost and Dennis shouted out "There goes Fritz!"; Janice ran off backstage crying and didn't appear for the rest of the episode. To be fair to Dennis, he was extremely apologetic towards Janice and felt horrible about the incident.

    Doug Davidson (1994-95) 
  • A rare case of the production crew holding an Idiot Ball: 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: An Attention Whore named Joseph gave a bid of $2,000,000 on an IUFB, plus a $420 bid 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.
  • October 10, 2008: During a one-bid for a sapphire/diamond ring, a contestant bids $10,000. As if that wasn't bad enough, not only did she make it to the showcase, she made an even worse bid during the showcase - for a showcase consisting of a soda fountain, jukebox, and a Pontiac Solstice, she bid $75,400, which was over $30,000 over!
  • November 14, 2008: During a one-bid on a pair of electric guitars (worth $620 in total), all 4 contestants overbid three times in a row. One contestant in particular made various stupid bids during this one-bid - first, she bid $3,800, followed by bids of $1,850, $995, and $725 - the last three of which were very close to the lowest bid in the previous attempt (with the $995 bid being just $5 off from the lowest bid in the previous attempt).
  • 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: A contestant playing Check Game writes a check for $4,990, becoming the first player in the game's history to have a 5-digit total, which doesn't even fit on the scoreboard.
  • January 30, 2009: Two really bad Showcase overbids. One contestant guessed $32,000 on a $15,609 showcase that had two trips and an RC Airplane, and another guessed $45,353 on a $20,182 showcase that had designer watches, a living room and two motorcycles.
  • March 9. 2009: A contestant named Lindsey plays Golden Road for a BMW, and proceeds to blow it on the first prize. But that's not even the worst part - during the one-bid right before, after Lindsey gave her bid, the following contestant (named Loretta) spends almost 15 seconds thinking about her bid. After initially trying to bid what Lindsey bid, the contestant next to Loretta attempts to trick her into bidding a dollar less than Lindsey's bid - and Loretta actually follows his advice!
  • 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.note 
  • 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. Bonus stupid points for "420" bidding, but at least they didn't go for $42,000, which is more in the ballpark for 2009 Showcase values but would have ended in a huge Double Overbid.
  • 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. Said contestant would go on to win Lucky $even with $1 left on the last number.
  • 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. The contestant redeemed himself later in the episode, winning his Showcase.
  • 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.
  • February 28, 2011: A contestant playing 10 Chances gets the first prize's price right on his first try...and then wastes his remaining 9 chances on the second prize (flatware), including multiple guesses that didn't end in 0.
  • 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 $15, $22, and $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.
  • January 10, 2012: In a similar scenario to Alicia from 2008, a contestant named Ian proves he hasn't seen the show much when he bids $120 right off the bat on an espresso machine. Miraculously, he makes it on stage due to everyone else overbidding, where he plays Now....or Then and further makes a fool of himself. On the first prize (a bottle of bleach), when asked whether the price shown is from now or from then (Oct. 2002), he responds, "I think it's higher." before Drew reminded him of which game he was playing. After choosing several items that weren't adjoining, he must correctly guess whether a box of cake mix with a price of $2.49 is from now or then in order to win. You'd expect him to go with the audience and pick now...but it wouldn't have been mentioned on here.
  • 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: Brittany 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.
  • September 30, 2014: After making multiple stupid bids earlier in the show (including a $1 bid when he wasn't last), a contestant named Corey has a final chance to make it on stage by bidding on a hammock. What does he bid? $7,000.
  • October 21, 2014: This playing of the revised Time is Money.
  • December 31, 2014: The item up for bids is an iPhone 6 with calling plan. Off-contract, an iPhone would often cost at least $800: the first contestant bid $7,500. Even worse, the contestant right after her bid $7,501! Thankfully, the other two brought more reasonable bids to the table.
  • April 20, 2015: Yet another Cliff Hangers flop. First, the contestant overestimated the price of the first item, and then on the second item, an electronic soap dispenser, she guessed $4. Yes, just four dollars.
    • To be fair: Drew implied she may have misread the audience wanting her to guess $40.
  • May 14, 2015: Still yet another Cilff Hangers flop. This time, the contestant bombed out on the first item, a portable sound machine. Her guess? $200. You read that right. Two hundred dollars. The ARP? $23.
  • September 29, 2015: An even easier playing of Magic # than the ones listed above - the prizes are a collection of luggage worth $2,120 and a trip to Seattle worth $5,409. With a difference of $3,289, what does the contestant set the display at? $1,187.
  • November 12, 2015: A contestant playing More or Less guesses that the first prize, a set of yard tools, costs more than $2,200, and promptly loses.
  • November 18, 2015: One episode, two epic fails.
    • For the first time in the game's history, a contestant playing Pocket Change gets the car's selling price up to $2.50. The car was a Mini Cooper which cost $24,136, but the contestant kept guessing every wrong number until only the correct number was available. note 
    • A contestant bids $15,000 on a showcase consisting of a hot tub, trip to Iceland and a Toyota Yaris. She ended up underbidding by more than $20,000.
  • January 22, 2016: In the same show, a contestant bids $165 on a Cartier watch and another bids $8,000 on an electric guitar.
  • February 5, 2016: A contestant playing Freeze Frame thinks a $5,276 collection of kitchen appliances costs just $2,819.
  • April 12, 2016: A contestant playing Cliff Hangers was at 25 after two items. Needing to get the third prize, an ice crusher, exactly right to win, she guessed $80 and lost. Not to be outdone, the same contestant had to ask the audience for advice after spinning five cents in the Showcase Showdown. Making matters worse, they were also celebrating the 40th anniversary of the game's original debut.
  • April 26, 2016: Another day, another Magic # flop: the low prize, a treadmill, ended up being $1,999. The contestant set the price at least a thousand dollars short.
  • June 1, 2016: A contestant playing Ten Chances has a second prize of a Kitchenaid blender, toaster, kettle and stand mixer. His first guess? $170. (The mixer alone is worth $400 easily.) He then tries $78, and is reminded to use three numbers - so naturally goes for $107. He burns through seven chances, during which he keeps guessing prices that don't end in 0, and ends up winning only the first prize of a hair straightener.
  • October 18, 2016: A contestant playing Switcheroo puts the blocks in place using less than half of the allotted 30 seconds. The display shows he has three of the prices right.
    • You'd Expect: The contestant to bail on the second chance, knowing the odds of making the correct switch would be 50/50 at best.
    • Instead: He takes the second chance and switches TWO pairs instead of one while again using less than half his allotted time. How many prices does he have right now? ZERO. Worse yet, he had the car price right on his first attempt. So instead of coming away with a new automobile, plus two of the smaller prizes, he leaves with nothing.
  • October 31, 2016: A playing of Check-Out is close, but the contestant says a medicated back pain patch is $2. It was actually $8, and the final total was under by around $5.
  • November 7, 2016: A contestant playing Check Game for a trip to Vancouver writes a check for only $400. What makes it even worse was that he prevented a perfect show.
  • November 23, 2016: The contestant overbids dramatically on a $26 wine opener in Cliff Hangers. Plus, Yodely Guy gets stuck against the top of the board instead of going over the edge because his special chef outfit was too tall, prompting Drew to just flick him off instead.
  • September 25, 2017: A contestant bids $8,000 on a remote controlled quad-helicopter drone up for bid on Contestant's Row, which, even for a fancy novelty such as that, is a little overboard. Fortunately, she seemed to realize her mistake and did reasonably well from that point forward, winning $10,000 in Hot Seat and making it to (even if ultimately not winning) the Showcase.
  • October 27, 2017: A contestant playing Money Game correctly guesses the car price's first two numbers right away. But in her quest to find the last two numbers, she wastes two chances picking a "19" and "20": two numbers which should easily be seen as options for the beginning of the price. Unless there's a choice with a zero in front (aka El Cheapo), the remaining two lowest numbers on the board are never going to be at the end of the price. Unsurprisingly, all the contestant wins is $198.
    • To be fair, many contestants are drawn to choices ending in 0, 5 or 9 for the back pair. However, these choices are rarely correct nowadays.
  • October 30, 2017: How does one lose Cliff Hangers with $17 worth of mountain remaining? Guess $65 for a $40 mixer.
  • November 7, 2017: A contestant playing Let 'Em Roll rolls $1,500 and four cars (the last of which was rolled separately after it fell off the table) on his first of three rolls. What did he do next? He bails out, and he is INSISTENT on it. Even after the audience and Drew plead with him not to do it. And all the while he's all smiles like he's on top of the world. What was he on??note 
  • January 2018: A realllly slow-responding contestant plays Clock Game and burns out 29 seconds on the first guess, which is all over the place. Drew got his hopes up to guess the second price in a second. Nice try, Drew.
  • January 29, 2018: Similar to the Doug Davidson example, Squeeze Play bears a six-digit figure with two choices of "1" and the odds of winning are improved. Yet the pricing game is still lost due to the unusual setup (five digits with one to remove is usually commonplace).
  • March 8, 2018: A Secret X player, after winning only one additional X and putting the first in a corner, once again tries to put the other in the middle row, which doesn't even form a line at all. The audience calls her out for the mistake, and she ends up correcting it. She still loses anyway.
  • May 2, 2018: In the second Showcase Showdown, the first player up tries to "finesse" his spin (spin it lightly in hopes of landing on a dollar). The wheel only gets halfway around. If that’s not enough, the last spinner does the same on his bonus spin after getting a dollar.
  • June 5, 2018: It's not even a super extravagant item up for bidding, but a contestant in One Bid thinks it's sane to go with $6,000.
  • June 7, 2018: Dalen is playing One Away and the starting price is "27455". He changes it to "16546". After a hysterical misunderstanding of how to "woo" the Sound Effects Lady that he takes a tad too literally, Drew is in stitches, and then Dalen learns he has only one number right.
    • You'd Expect: Dalen to effortlessly invert every number choice after the "1" to "18634".
    • Instead: He struggles with the decisions and starts changing the last four at random, causing Drew to crack up a second time.
    • To Be Fair: Dalen still picks the correct four changes and wins himself a car, and as he bows out gracefully in a Showcase Showdown round he doesn't make it through, Drew compliments him, "You were a really fun contestant."
  • June 8, 2018: This might as well be called The Kathryn Episode, but not for reasons you would expect. Kathryn starts playing Time is Money by taking one product at a time to the price podium over the 10 seconds. Drew, who rarely calls contestants out for bad strategy, says he figured common sense would tell her to take every product over at once with so little time to make a decision. Unsurprisingly, she's wrong. After she takes her time making her first round of corrections, she flails around the stage while Drew shouts at her to hit the red button. The game ends when the winning bells are sounded for what turns out to be an incorrect combination. The decision is made to award Kathryn the $3,534 that remain on the board.
    • Later, Kathryn wins the Showcase despite being off by more than $10,000. Drew understandably calls her the luckiest person in the world.
  • June 18, 2018: Another 10 Chances playing, with four bad guesses on the first two prizes, including a low guess of $270 on a set of kitchen appliances. Unlike other playings though, the contestant wins the game.
  • September 19, 2018: A contestant playing Time Is Money wastes several of her initial 10 seconds trying to ask for advice from the audience on where to put the items on the pedestal, a major no-no in a game where the time you're given to play the game is very valuable. Suffice to say, she lost.
  • October 3, 2018: A contestant sets the Magic Number at $1,000, a price normally reserved for smaller prizes for one-bids these days. Not surprisingly, the number fell below the price range of the two prizes.
  • November 7, 2018: The contestant is playing Cliff Hangers and has gotten 11 dollars total on Yodely Guy's trek up the mountain. She's in pretty good shape as she comes to the last item.
    • You'd Expect: Since the first two items were both in the 25-40 dollar range that she would realize that she's looking at a 40-50 price for the third item.
    • Instead: She guesses only 25 dollars. Needless to say, she is off by nearly the same amount of dollars and Yodely Guy takes a tumble.
  • November 8, 2018: Perhaps it was simply nerves clouding her judgement, but during a play of Race Game, the contestant is told that she has no prices right as the timer counts down early on. She goes and only changes two of them before running back to check again.
  • December 27, 2018: Probably the worst playing of Bonkers ever. The contestant takes her time and looks at the audience during the game. Drew even has the clock stopped to make sure she knows what she's doing, and she still plays very slowly. Somehow, she wins despite getting only two attempts in 30 seconds.
  • January 16, 2019: The game is Cliff Hangers, and the contestant guesses $75 for a $30 paraffin bath. You can guess what happens.
  • January 31, 2019: After Drew tells the contestant not to look at the audience during Race Game, she spends most of the 45 seconds conferring with the audience, and only pulls the lever twice. By the way, she lost.
  • February 18, 2019: A contestant begins Rat Race by pricing a box of cold and flu medicine at $25. Despite this and another incorrect guess, she still wins the car with a single rat.
  • May 20, 2019: A contestant bids $4,600 on a showcase that includes trips to Alaska, Texas and China. Unlike several examples on here, his opponent did not overbid, and he was off by more than $20,000.
  • September 27, 2019: A contestant playing Any Number has all but the second number filled out in the price of an SUV whose price begins with 2.
    • You'd Expect: The contestant to pick one of the lower numbers as, generally, the car offered does not cost more than $24,000.
    • Instead: She picks the highest available numbers from 7-9.
    • The Result: She fills out the numbers in the second prize and the piggy bank and ultimately wins the former.
  • October 1, 2019: On yet another Cliff Hangers failure, the contestant already finds herself in a bad spot by guessing $44 on a $23 pillow. She then misses the price of a mirror by $5, but it's too little, too late as the mountain climber falls to his doom.
  • December 16, 2019: Oof. A contestant takes only one item over during the first 10 seconds of Time is Money and looks at the audience. It's the only item placed on one of the podiums in time, so Drew doesn't even bother asking if he's won the $20,000. The correction phase doesn't go any better, so yeah, no money is won.
  • December 17, 2019: A contestant guesses $38,518 for a Kia Rio S, resulting in a rare wipeout in Cover Up.
  • December 31, 2019: It's the Best of 2019 special, and contestant Erin is playing Cliff Hangers for a 1955 Ford Thunderbird worth $24,000. The first item is a $21 caddy set, and what does she say? $5, sending the mountain climber 16 steps up the mountain, already a terrible start. However, she manages to nail the price of a $35 toaster, and it looks like she might win, as long as she doesn't miss the price of the final item, a vintage-styled popcorn maker worth $45, by more than $9. A sensible person would probably bid somewhere in the $40 to $50 range, but instead, Erin says $69, sending the mountain climber off the mountain.
  • March 26, 2020: Contestant James is playing Rat Race and is not doing very well, having guessed $5.00 for a $3.99 bottle of shampoo and $70 for a $30 eyelash curler. In order to even have a shot at any of the prizes, he must miss the price of a stainless steel tea kettle by no more than $100. The final item is almost always somewhere between $100 and $300, but what does James guess instead? $700, resulting in a wipeout. The kettle was actually a mere $120.
  • March 30, 2020: A contestant looks at the audience while making corrections in Time is Money and wins nothing.
  • November 17, 2020: A contestant wipes out in Cliff Hangers after guessing $60 for a $28 flat iron.
  • March 4, 2021: A contestant playing Ten Chances writes "07" in one guess for a gumball machine. That's right. She guessed SEVEN BUCKS. Nevertheless, she needs only eight chances to win the car en route to a perfect show.
  • May 21, 2021: A contestant takes his sweet time playing Bonkers and gets only three guesses, which is a major factor in his loss.

    Australian Versions 
  • The Showcase Playoff is simple: much like Clock Game and the short-lived "Double Bullseye" from the U.S. version, the two contestants, given a $100 range, take turns bidding on the total value of the Showcase, and are told if their guess is higher or lower than the actual price. Yet people still manage to get it wrong:
    • A double whammy in the first instance where the Showcase was won.
      • The first contestant keeps making bids that are outside the range.
      • The second contestant keeps making bids within the range but are all are too low. He then makes a bid that is $2 higher than his previous bid, and is told that it's lower - meaning that there's only one answer left.
      • First contestant drops the Idiot Ball, and puts in the winning bid and goes on to win the Showcase.
    • A strange instance where the contestant apparently did not grasp the concept of bidding within the range, or the concept of "higher". On a Showcase valued at between $31,600 and $31,700, she opened her bidding at... $745. Larry let her put in a more sensible bid, which was closer but still not within the specified range - something that seemed to throw Larry.

"Now you've had enough... bitch!"
Bob Barker, Happy Gilmore