How Much for That Burger in the Window?


Dan Markel’s act of matchmaking caught my attention because I knew the bride and the groom from entirely different walks of life. The match is obvious in hindsight; Dan’s third of a ticket to heaven could have been mine!

Zach once asked me, out of anthropological interest, how much I would pay for the best hamburger I would ever eat. To be precise, in this hypothetical, I’d give him $X up front, and he’d give me a hamburger, and that hamburger would be absolutely and perfectly guaranteed to be more satisfying than any other hamburger I would ever encounter. I think I said I’d pay for around $17 for an überburger.

On reflection, I think a better response is that one should pay money to avoid the überburger. How sad it would be, after all, to have eaten it and to know with total certainty that sorry, that’s it, it’s all downhill from here, burger-wise.


Seems to me that the all-downhill-from-there problem is much worse when the product has no close substitutes. If any burger I’ll ever have does not compare to the überburger, I will live another day to eat the best gazpacho of my life or whatever. I could probably eat a different best-X-of-my-life every day for the rest of my life and never exhaust possible Xes.

So I’d say the regret problem would be bigger for the Best Meal Of My Life. Or The Best Sex.


On reflection, I think a better response is that one should pay money to avoid the ├╝berburger.

I would assert that an even better response would be

“I will gladly pay you Tuesday for a hamburger today.”


I would not avoid the uberburger. (That line could be my life motto.) I’ve entered into plenty of meals knowing, with a fair degree of certainty, that they would not be the greatest meals of my life, and yet I’ve found them perfectly enjoyable. It seems perverse to avoid a once-in-a-lifetime experience simply because it can only be experienced once!


James, Thanks for the shoutout. We recently figured out that we both knew you and adore you! Keep up the great blog!

Your friends, Abigail & Zach