Monday, September 30, 2013

1233 Playing the Averages

1233 Playing the Averages

This is about the above average American who wants to be below average.

Seems like the law of averages only applies to the next guy or the next school or the next town or city.

The average price of regular unleaded gasoline was $3.42 per gallon in the most recent nationwide survey available.  But not in Fresno, CA.  The Fresno Bee reports the local average was $3.95. In New York City it was in the mid 3.50s.  Only in New Jersey, where gasoline taxes are relatively low did the price fall below three dollars.  But not everywhere in New Jersey.  The average price there is about the national average.

What’s your town’s price?  Bet it’s above average.  Makes you wonder what places have average or below average prices.

According to a recent survey, the average commutation to work is about 25 minutes.  They don’t say, but that’s probably car commutes, not mass transit or walking or bicycles, all of which would make the general average even longer (as in should we walk or do we have time to take the bus?)

Who spends 25 minutes on the road?  Almost no one.  Averages, indeed.  Even in good weather and daylight there’s your commute… YOUR commute is longer than average.

Check out the average cost of food for a family of four.  Check out the average number of weeks people receive unemployment comp and compare it to yours.  Or food stamps or Medicaid or miles per gallon or internet speed or anything else you can think of.

There are mathematical explanations for all this, of course.  But the math describes an artificial model.  Somehow, no one is “average.”
Either that or it’s just bad feng shui.  The line you’re on in the supermarket becomes the slowest.  The traffic light takes ten minutes to go from red to green and then allows only three of the 55 cars waiting to cross or turn.  

Makes you want to find the people who aren’t above average in every inconvenience or disruption, mythical creatures.  Creatures you want to rub for luck or kill.

The dirty little secret is this: no one is average. No one hits the median.  Average is a mathematically “provable” myth.


--The online health insurance markets open for business, tomorrow, Tuesday.  Expect website overloads and disruptions because everyone and his mother is going to try to get to the site.  By next week at this time, things will calm down, allowing you access and to new confusion.

--Be wary of statements like “most of you” will pay less for insurance.  Remember, gas prices are never lower than average on your block.  So what makes you think you’re going to get a break this time?

--Please note that whatever happens with the government shutdown, the debt ceiling, or the Affordable Care act, members of Congress will still have their insurance.  A “Cadillac” plan, they call it.  More like a Bentley, really.

I’m Wes Richards.  My opinions are my own but you’re welcome to them. ®
Please address comments to
© WJR 2013

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