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December 11th, 2007
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An exercise in (non-)human psychology
Two coworkers of mine -- who I will leave nameless to protect the innocent -- cannot settle a raging debate, and they have turned to me for an impartial third-party opinion. In turn, I turn to you, people of the Internets. Can you take a few seconds and help me put this to rest for them?

Poll #1104182 A bitter sweets debate

1. You see an open box of assorted filled chocolates in a public area at work. They were left by one of your coworkers and are meant to be shared. The chocolates are unlabeled; there is no key indicating what's inside them.

I take a chocolate.
60(75.9%)
I don't take a chocolate.
19(24.1%)

2. All of the conditions of question #1, *PLUS*: Someone has smashed open all of the chocolates. The damage is very prominent. However, the pieces have all stayed separate; the mess factor is negligible; and you can now see what they're filled with.

I take a chocolate.
34(43.0%)
I don't take a chocolate.
45(57.0%)

3. All of the conditions of question #2, PLUS: Written on the box in large letters are the words "SAFE TO EAT. YUM YUM!"

I take a chocolate.
18(22.8%)
I don't take a chocolate.
61(77.2%)

4. All of the conditions of question #3, PLUS: A trustworthy coworker says the chocolates were smashed open in a sanitary fashion, without being touched by human hands.

I take a chocolate.
56(70.9%)
I don't take a chocolate.
23(29.1%)

5. All of the conditions of question #4, PLUS: You can see that at least one of the chocolates has a filling you really like.

I take a chocolate.
61(77.2%)
I don't take a chocolate.
18(22.8%)

6. If the box from question #4 (all damaged but ID'd; breakage was sanitary) and the box from question #1 (pristine mystery chocolates) were on the table side by side, which would you choose?

A pristine chocolate with an unknown, random filling.
44(61.1%)
A smashed-up chocolate with a known filling.
28(38.9%)


Explain yourself in comments, if you'd like -- especially if your reasons for the decision are unexpected. For example, I only went for them once they were broken -- but for the undoubtedly strange reason that I expected nobody else would, and I didn't want them to go to waste!

Current Location: ~/brainstorm
Current Music: Tom Lehrer, "National Brotherhood Week"
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(43 comments | Leave a comment)

Comments
 
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From:dewhitton
Date:December 11th, 2007 09:13 am (UTC)
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I went for the broken ones because... CHOCOLATE! I like the surprise of unbroken chocolates, but if I could see peppermint amongst the broken ones then I'd have that.

Broken chocolates that have been "tested?" Not so much.
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From:kinkyturtle
Date:December 11th, 2007 10:09 am (UTC)
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My only question is why didn't whoever cut them neatly open with a knife? Doesn't he think presentation counts for ANYTHING?
From:premchai21
Date:December 11th, 2007 10:34 am (UTC)
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This is assuming that the chocolates are from a trustworthy source to begin with, of course. If the source is dubious, then the intact ones and the broken ones might both have some kind of nasties hiding in them (cue Monty Python references, track 12, marker 3 or possibly marker 4). This is also assuming that the environment does not include coworkers with access to the chocolates whom I do not trust with write access to anything that will be ingested. If either of those conditions don't hold, I take no chocolates regardless.

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From:nicked_metal
Date:December 11th, 2007 11:28 am (UTC)
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Question 3 activates my paranoia, and is the only time when I wouldn't take a chocolate. Question 6 I didn't answer because there are some important unknown variables, being the extent to which I prefer any of the identifiable flavours (if there's one flavour that is a clear winner, I'll select that out of the IDed group), and the ratio of flavours I really don't like vs flavours that I like among the IDed chocolates (since that ratio is likely to hold true for the undamaged chocolate).
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From:kadyg
Date:December 11th, 2007 11:39 am (UTC)
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kinkyturtle asked the question I was going to: Since when is blunt force an acceptable way to split candy? if you're going to go through all the trouble of "opening" the chocolates without touching them, do it in a neat manner. God gave us knives for just this situation.

Scenario 3 made me all kinds of paranoid and gave me visions of chocolates served up by Sicilians with immunity to iocane powder. In scenario 6, I would take a pristine, random chocolate since the only filling I really hate is cherry cordial and those are pretty easy to spot - usually.
From:premchai21
Date:December 11th, 2007 11:54 am (UTC)
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I also find it vaguely amusing that your answer would probably be "no to all".

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From:panzerwalt
Date:December 11th, 2007 11:56 am (UTC)
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unlikely to take one unless directly offered by the box owner.
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From:momentrabbit
Date:December 11th, 2007 12:32 pm (UTC)
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Glee! I get to skew the expected results! :D I reject all chocolates, until the last questions where I must choose between an 'opened' or 'closed' chocolate; then I choose opened.

a) The 'untouched' chocolates may well have been tampered with, as easily as the 'untouched'; but that's not really a concern. I'm a trusting sort. (ha!) And I do like chocolate. More of a driving factor in my behaviour is;
b) I'm diabetic. A dark chocolate truffle center, or a nut cluster, will be better for me than, say, a mouthful of liquid caramel. (Not much better, but you know, it all counts...)
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From:lienne
Date:December 11th, 2007 12:44 pm (UTC)
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I go for the chocolate in every scenario, because chocolate is yummy. (Although I was slightly suspicious of the SAFE TO EAT, YUM YUM sign, because I've been reading a lot of Terry Pratchett and as a result am rather cynical regarding the trustworthiness of cheerful signs like that.)

I took the pristine chocolate on the last one because my mind stubbornly maintains that if a chocolate is smashed-up, there's less of it - chocolate dust all over the place and so on - and therefore I'm getting more value for the money I'm not paying for the pristine one. I realize this is utterly nonsensical, but there you go.

Edit: I can't spell utterly.

Edited at 2007-12-11 12:45 pm (UTC)
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From:tysharina
Date:December 11th, 2007 01:22 pm (UTC)
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I can't eat chocolate due to allergy, so no choc munchies for me.
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From:zuki_san
Date:December 11th, 2007 02:08 pm (UTC)
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I have scavenger tendencies, and especially love chocolate. The "Yum Yum" sign makes me suspicious. I would hesitate longer to take smashed chocolates, but eventually give in. Aesthetics indicate that I'd go for the unsmashed over smashed, but probably end up eating from both boxes.

...what is the context behind this raging debate, is what I'd really like to know.
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From:zuki_san
Date:December 11th, 2007 02:13 pm (UTC)
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Also, I kind of like the idea of not knowing what I'd get.
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From:natetg
Date:December 11th, 2007 02:12 pm (UTC)

Welcome to Kindergarten?

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There's this odd theme here of heavy-handedness. Rather than open the chocolates with a knife (already mentioned) or provide a chocolate key (most companies encode the filling using shape) someone apparently used a special set of candy-smashing mortars.

Then, rather than 'Please, Take One' or something similar, we have the paranoia inducing 'Safe to Eat. Yum Yum', which induces paranoia, and doesn't really indicate that the chocolates are for general consumption.

I wonder if Alice would have eaten the cupcake if it were smashed.
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From:joysweeper
Date:December 11th, 2007 02:52 pm (UTC)
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I would take one - hells, I would probably take more than one to hide away for later - for every one but no. 3. Because "SAFE TO EAT. YUM YUM!" triggers "It's a TRAP" in my head. Mitigated if someone actually says that it's fine. *rolls eyes*
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From:lemurling
Date:December 11th, 2007 03:59 pm (UTC)
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It is commonly accepted in my workplace that people bring things in and leave them around, and then we eat them. The smashed chocolate to me was just one of those things that happens sometimes, oops, I stepped on the box, or whatever, no big deal. If it wasn't safe to eat, it wouldn't be left out. The sign just struck me as funny, not paranoia inducing, I have several coworkers who might put a sign up like that. But in the end, I'd prefer to eat one I didn't know the filling of, just for the mystery of it. Of course, I'd happily eat the broken ones too, when the unbroken ones are gone.
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From:charles
Date:December 12th, 2007 06:11 am (UTC)
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+1
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From:baronlaw
Date:December 11th, 2007 04:26 pm (UTC)
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I have actually memorized which chocolates from various makers have the fillings I like. Assuming one of those was available from the pristine, untouched box I would take one. I would not take any from the smashed chocolates.
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