Chocolate and Gold Coins

Friday, February 11, 2005

The Exercise Bike

I was riding on my exercise bike trying to solve an economic problem of a personal sort involving over consumption when a thought came to me: “Wouldn’t it be nice if the bike dispensed a twenty dollar bill when I finished exercising?” Perhaps I was thinking that because I was beginning to feel a drop in motivation and money always motives me. But then I thought, who would put the money in the bike? Who would pay me to exercise? My wife might. But then I thought that I might do it myself. Is that rational?

You see, maybe I have a time inconsistency problem. Sometimes I feel very motivated to lose weight and would pay to achieve that goal. Other times I feel lazy and think it’s too much work. Maybe I would rather eat pizza. I call up the pizza guy and ask for delivery. Then I realize “Oh no! All my cash is in the exercise bike!” So I furiously race the pizza guy on my stationary bike to get the cash out before he comes. And months later, when I’ve gotten all of the cash out of the exercise bike, my rational self declares “See, I exercised and I lost weight. The money works!” So do you think people would buy an exercise bike that dispenses cash if they had to put the cash in themselves?


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