A Tiny Improvement, But Still …

(Photo: Alli)

(Photo: Alli)

From a Freakonomics Radio listener named Luke Charley:

I am a 21-year-old male college student in Bismarck, ND. I listen to your podcast quite a bit, and I found the one about the energy saved by houses — I believe it was in the podcast titled “Riding the Herd Mentality.” Well, the weight room I frequent often had plates not racked back up after people were done working out. They would just leave them on the floor and it bothered me quite a bit. So I decided to write a sign saying, “Everybody else racks their weights, please do the same.” In the past two weeks since I have done that, every day when I have been in there, there were no weights on the floor! Applying what you learn on a podcast to a weight room is quite invigorating.

Way to go, Luke! Delighted this worked out (so far, at least) …


Nice job! It's interesting how much weight re-racking varies from gym to gym.


I think I'll do the same!
By the day, I've been a gym user for the last 21 years (give or take) and I've noticed that women have a greater tendency to display a "just leave it there" attitude, when it comes to weights & co. Men always tend to clean up after they're done...
Am I the only one who noticed this?

caleb b

The prettier the girl, the less likely she'll rack the weights.


A true Freakonomicist, though, would study whether re-racking the weights is more efficient than just leaving them handy.

Steve Cebalt

I love this post!

Hi James: I thought like you did...leave them handy. Except they are very easy to trip over, and a weight room is a very unforgiving environment for a trip-and-fall incident. Also, some people use 10-lb weight plates while others use plates that weigh a figurative ton. It's good etiquette to rack them so everyone knows where to find their appropriate weights, and so women and lifters of lower weights do not have to wrestle the monster-weight plates, which is also dangerous.

Phil Persinger


Watch out for James; he has a very sly and dry sense of humor. I almost lost my coffee when I read his post…

Enter your name...

Good job applying what you've learned!

I've wondered why people, especially public health campaigns, don't make more use of this particular piece of information about human nature. We should be seeing signs that say things like "Most gay men use a condom every single time" or "Most teenagers aren't having sex in high school" or "Most women have talked to their doctors about getting a mammogram" or "Most people take their blood pressure pills every day".


It'd be not as effective or even ineffective once it's widespread though, since people will be on guard.


Very cool. This issue can be such a pain sometimes.