Question of the Day: Is Pot Smoke a Good Signal?

From a reader named Ben Doty:

Quick question that may benefit from an economist’s perspective, possibly relating to complimentary goods, signaling, expertise, and education:

If you walk into a surf shop and the stench of marijuana nearly knocks you over, does that make you more or less likely to purchase surfing lessons there?

What do you say, readers? I have never been in a surf shop myself; I have, however, been in the pro shop at various golf courses and I can tell you that I have never once smelled marijuana there.

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  1. Don Fagen says:

    Hidden due to low comment rating. Click here to see.

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  2. Roberta says:

    I dont think it makes a difference it smells like pot, if they smoke pot, or not. I think if they know the sport they will be able to give adequate lessons either way. Maybe even more focused lessons and you may get bonus time out of it.

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  3. Dan says:

    Marijuana does not make one a good surfer, nor bad surfer (or good/bad teacher for that matter). I would look for personal recommendations for lessons and rely on that rather than the smell of a surf shop. I think ultimately it would come down to the type of person you are and what you look for in a teacher. If you have a negative opinion of the drug, then it would probably be a good indicator that you would not want to buy lessons at a store (any store) that smelled like pot. This question just seems so ridiculous to me, perhaps I just don’t get it.

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    • Abhishek says:

      that’s why it’s freakonomics you know, ridiculous questions and ridiculous answers but eventually make sense

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  4. Phil says:

    I don’t see why it would have an effect on purchasing. But smoking it might help you learn better, that is if you already smoke marijuana.

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  5. Marcus says:

    Back in the days of my youthful indiscretions, it probably would encourage me to be more open and friendly with them. Now, it wouldn’t have any influence on whether to buy or not.

    Also, funny you mention pro shops – I work at one of the most prestigious country clubs in the United States, and while what you’re said is true, I have noticed that peculiar stench on our golf courses many, many times.

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  6. Alyssa says:

    The smell adds authenticity to the surf shop: if they smoke there, regardless that it’s a place of business, then they are the real deal as far as surfers go. Kind of like being able to see where the goods are made in a bakery so you know they are fresh and not shipped in.

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  7. Eric M. Jones says:

    I think pot is a good idea socially, but not in a place of business, driving, school, or wherever one is expected to pay attention and get a job done.

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    • Dan says:

      Years back when I smoked regularly, there were many cases where my focus was intensified because I was high. Granted there were times where my mind would drift, but I don’t think marijuana should be the blame, more so a person’s personality.

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  8. Kyle says:

    The reader who sent in this question wasn’t asking if smoking marijuana causes person to become a better surfer or teacher. If the amount of pot the average surfer smokes correlates with how often they surf, then a shop smelling of marijuana could signal that the surfers are more capable.

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