Straight Dope Message Board > Main Guessing Weight and Age, how is it done
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#1
09-06-2001, 11:37 AM
 sengle Guest Join Date: Aug 2001
At the circus I sometimes see a booth where they will guess your age or weight, within some tolerance. How does this work?

- Is there a series of cues that the person uses? If so, what are they?
- Is it a skill acquired over time? They just burn through a dozen or so guessers until they get a hit.
- Is there a hidden scale somewhere?
- Is it just that anyone can do this fairly reasonably within the specified tolerance?
- Is it that there is a great deal of information available when you stand there in your particular clothes with your particular friends/family?
#2
09-06-2001, 11:48 AM
 RainbowDragon Guest Join Date: Oct 2000
It works like this:

Customer gives Guessor \$1
Guessor guesses.
If Guessor gets it wrong, Customer gets prize worth 25 cents.
#3
09-06-2001, 11:50 AM
 Jet Jaguar Guest Join Date: Jan 2001
Quote:
 Originally posted by sengle - Is it just that anyone can do this fairly reasonably within the specified tolerance?
That's my theory. Another one they often guess is birth month, within 2 months. That means they have a five-month span (your correct month, plus the two to either side), so they have a 42% chance based on a pure guess alone. The prizes are so cheap that it's enough of a margin to make a profit.
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#4
09-06-2001, 11:53 AM
 Knighted Vorpal Sword Guest Join Date: Dec 2000
I read an article about this once. The writer said that guessing ages is a skill acquired over time. Those who do this look at clothing, wrinkles/spots on the hands and face, friends with the "victim," etc. They also look for conspicuous things; for example, if a man takes off his hat to show gray hair, the guesser might think that the person is prematurely gray and will guess a lower age. Also, remember that many of the guessers will say they will guess a person's age within 2 years, so there is a 5 year spread.
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#5
09-06-2001, 12:38 PM
 Dinsdale Guest Join Date: May 2000
Buddy of mine whose family business used to be an amusement park with carny games agrees with Rainbowman. They didn't have any particular person to staff the guessing booth, and he often did it as a teenager. Said he quickly got adept at it further increasing the take.
#6
09-07-2001, 05:56 AM
 Satchmo Charter Member Join Date: Mar 2000 Location: Lincoln, NE, USA Posts: 906
/navin johnson mode on
Oh! I get it. It's a PROFIT deal! Okay, step right up for professional weight guessing. You can suck in your gut, you can puff out your cheeks. Step right up and take a chance to win some crap.
navin johnson mode off/
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#7
09-07-2001, 08:36 AM
 Cliffy Guest Join Date: Sep 2001
In college I knew two guys who did this as summer jobs. Their experience meshed with the above posts. First of all, it cost \$1 to play (later \$2) and the prizes cost, at the most, 42 cents. Furthermore, after you've done it for a while you can come pretty close. (Weughts are often within 20 pounds, which gives you a 41 pound range. Seeing as how most people, even the overweight such as myself, don't usually get much over 300, a 40 lb. range is a nice comfort zone.) And indeed, their are tricks, or at least clues you can pick up on. For instance, my friend Joe said that if you see a young woman who might be anywhere from 16 - 25 with braces, if she hides her braces she's a teenager whose parents made her get them. If she smiles at you, she's proud of the fact that she afford something so expensive on her own, so she's probably old enough to work for a living.

--Cliffy

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