Twitter posts: Is the BBB a racket?

Ramit Sethi · October 3rd, 2011

Each day, I post short insights on about psychology, testing, personal finance, investing, the best links I’ve found, and stupid people.

You won’t find these on my blog.

Here are a few of my favorite recent tweets:

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More evidence that the Better Business Bureau (BBB) is just a complete racket: Sep 22 16:36:08 via Timely App


“The Tricks Investors Use Against Founders” – incredible article, in plain English, of sophisticated investor tricks: Sep 08 16:19:04 via Timely App


This dude used my techniques to negotiate a salary increase $30,000. Here’s how he did it: Sep 16 00:37:17 via Timely App


Coercive charity auctions…this is brilliant. Sep 22 23:26:06 via Timely App


HAHA, from The Onion: “Visa exposed as huge credit card scam” — Sep 09 14:04:04 via Timely App


Inca girl, frozen for 500 years, on display. These images are incredible: Sep 23 00:37:06 via Timely App


“Junk food is cheaper than real food..This is just plain wrong. In fact it isn’t cheaper to eat highly processed food” Sep 26 20:43:22 via Timely App

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  1. Christian Faller

    I love the piece on junkfood from the Times. However I see a major flaw in the conclusions the author draws:

    “As with any addictive behavior, this one is most easily countered by educating children about the better way.”

    As Ramit loves to emphasize, I doubt that throwing more and more information at them will solve the problem. An approach like the baby steps educated by BJ Fogg would have a much higher success rate.

    This applies to nutrition as much as to any other field of behavior (e.g. pitching potential clients).

    • Ramit Sethi

      Agreed. Once you recognize the “education-as-persuasion” fallacy, you’ll see it everywhere.

  2. Jeremy Tuttle

    While I certainly don’t advocate junk food being a part of your routine, there’s a few points in the junk food article that bother me.

    The biggest thing to me is what exactly is the difference between cooking for myself and letting someone cook for me? “Highly processed foods” are the same foods found in your grocery store. Want a chicken salad at home? Guess what, it’s the same lettuce and the chicken comes from the same company. Any food in any fast food restaurant has it’s equivalent in the store. Buying the same items from the store and cooking them yourself doesn’t change anything.

    Another thing that bugs me is the idea that restaurants are supposedly not supposed to make food that tastes good. We’re supposed to enjoy sugar in food as we’re supposed to be motivated to eat it seeing as it’s typically rare in nature and has high energy content. We only recently have had to limit our intake of sugar as we’ve only recently had it available in such large quantities. We’re supposed to enjoy fat in our foods as well as eating meat is what we’ve done for millions of years. These are supposed to be pleasurable, so calling a pleasurable activity addicting in the sense that recreational drug use is addicting is pretty misleading.

    The last point is that it seems the author thinks that learning to cook AND FARM for ourselves is the ideal. Bad news for ya, Mark, that’s just not going to happen. If wealthy people can have cooks to prepare there meals and that’s still “home cooked” why am I made to feel like a bad parent for taking my kids out and letting them choose (to a degree) the food that they would like to eat?

    In all, it just sounds like more dietary elitism, though I do agree that fast food isn’t cheaper in the end.

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  4. Jonathan Bechtel

    Health food advocates suffer from the same problem that afflicts lots of other do-gooders. Their intentions are pure, but their models for how people change their behavior are laughably bad, so they use antiquated methods that are doomed for failure.

    If you read a dietician’s blog or a research paper, the meme is always the same:

    “This is a serious problem and we need to do our best to educate the people and try harder to implement X policy to get people to start doing Y.”


    That line’s been repeated about 54,871 times, and the results are so consistently bad it’s hard not to smirk at them. They’re parrots who lack imagination.


  5. Jonathan Bechtel

    And on a less caustic note, that paper gets some things right, and gets some things wrong.

    The author’s right that price is not the primary consideration when buying fast food. Most surveys show that over-whelmingly people eat fast food because and it’s convenient, tasty enough, and is an affordable option, if not the cheapest.

    However, other studies have shown that, ceteris paribus, less expensive healthy food usually means more healthy food being eaten.

    What I don’t like though is that he makes no distinction between non-fast-food (is that a word?) that’s healthy and that which is unhealthy. Like the commenter above said, the nutritional difference between store bought and fast food is negligible a lot of the times.

    If you compare packaged healthy food that serves the same purpose as fast food (easy to eat, convenient, tasty enough), I’d guess that fast-food is cheaper.

  6. I used to sell memberships to the BBB. Racket indeed.