From: Mike Dziekan
Dear Click & Clack,
This past weekend I was listening to your show, and I heard a lady ask what advice you would give as to the proper brownie to Mechanic ratio. I was shocked to hear that your usually wise and sage advice was in error!
The last thing a customer wants to do is offset the delicate balance of supply and demand, in this case — brownies. If each mechanic gets at least one brownie (assuming that Bernie the fat guy does not scarf them all down first), then there is no incentive for any single mechanic to put any extra effort into a repair (or simply do it correctly).
If the customer supplies no more than three brownies, than only one mechanic will eat two and share the extra with one of his buddies (excluding Bernie the fat guy). In this way, when the customer shows up the next time, this will foster competition among the individual mechanics to do a job par excellence for the customer, and should also dissuade the mechanic from urinating in their gas tank.
Many years of economic analysis, game theory, quantum mechanics, and garage mechanics have gone in to the "Brownie To Mechanic Capitalistic Economic Analysis Enticement Theory." In fact, I have a Ph.D. in this area.
For the greatest success for the customer, the correct answer is n+1 brownies for the entire shop, where "n" is equal to 2 in 95% of all garages, but quickly expands to 19 when it is a garage in Massachusetts. The key factor is to provide just enough brownies for a single mechanic plus one extra brownie. The US RDA of brownies for mechanics is only 2, excluding Massachusetts, where it is 19.