A Tale of Two Mattresses

The old-fashioned way of people making decisions by examining the facts on hand, exploring possibilities, and discussing the issues has given way to a more modern approach which is illustrated in the following story:

Imagine that you and your spouse are in the market for a new bed mattress. Two different mattresses are popular, the Acme and the Dreamland products.

The Acme is much less expensive, but you have heard that the Dreamland has some innovative features, such as adjustability. Since you have a busy job that requires you to be in the office for long hours, your time for investigating the differences is very limited. Your spouse works from home as a community guidelines enforcer for Twitter, and their schedule is more flexible, a situation that probably will make it easier for them to evaluate the two products.

Since you have come to realize that your back pain is the result of the lack of support from your current, deteriorating mattress, you have become very anxious to resolve the situation and expect to find a product that will work well for both of you.

When the weekend arrives, you ask your spouse for the verdict. They announce that the Acme is the best option, but the reasons given are a little vague. You suspect that the decision was based more on price than anything else, and remember that one of you friends had mentioned once that the Acme had been a disappointment. So you decide to do a little investigating yourself, just for verification.

You know that both companies have advertised in your local paper, so you grab the Saturday paper from the table and sit down to browse through the ads. But curiously, a couple of sections of advertisements from mattress stores appear to have been torn from the pages and are nowhere to be found. When you ask what happened, your spouse lovingly tells you that there were misleading and unverified details about mattresses there, which were removed to prevent you from becoming misinformed.

You thank your partner for their thoughtfulness, then rummage through a stack of magazines, looking for one where you remember seeing a comparison of different brands, with ratings for each. But again, pages are missing from where you expect the ratings to be. When questioned again, you are told that your spouse didn't believe the ratings, so those pages were removed to prevent you from being misled. Working at Twitter has raised their awareness of how easily people can be manipulated by false information, and how important it is to shield consumers from such.

At this point, maybe you start to wonder if your intelligence is being underestimated, but you are comforted by your partner's protectiveness and concern for your proper understanding. You then take out your phone to do a search for information about mattresses, but discover that an app has recently been installed that blocks any information from the Dreamland company or any of its products.

Thoughts to ponder:

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Updated: March 2, 2021