3 Common Practices I Dissent From

It’s just a coincidence that they all involve eating:

Putting lime or lemon in a coke – It makes no sense that restaurants assume the customer wants a lemon added to their drink rather than ask. The default should obviously be just the soda. It’s a practical example of Tversky’s conjunction fallacy. It’s much more likely that someone will like just one thing rather than one thing and another.

Adding your own credit card tips – I put the final total amount and leave the tip area blank. Your waiter functions as your cashier and is perfectly capable of doing the math themselves. In fact, that’s partially what you’re tipping them for.

Nachos with beans – The appeal of nachos is based on the interesting contrast between crunchy warm chips and the cool, soft toppings. Beans undermine the purpose of the entire dish. They put an irreversible expiration date on the meal within a matter of minutes and are therefore more appropriate as a request, not a required ingredient.

There are a few others worth observing like turning left on red (in Los Angeles), the carpool lane reverting to the furthermost most left lane in times of no traffic and declining opportunities to “wait” for someone to leave a parking space. Off the top of my head, I don’t think it’s worth struggling to pronounce any foreign word. Just say it how it appears. No one would think it politically correct to criticize the accent of someone from Mexico or France.

What other common practices do we observe that make little sense? There has to be evidence of why dissenting is more logical or convenient, not just that you don’t like it.

Written by Ryan Holiday
Ryan Holiday is the bestselling author of Trust Me, I’m Lying, The Obstacle Is The Way, Ego Is The Enemy, and other books about marketing, culture, and the human condition. His work has been translated into thirty languages and has appeared everywhere from the Columbia Journalism Review to Fast Company. His company, Brass Check, has advised companies such as Google, TASER, and Complex, as well as Grammy Award winning musicians and some of the biggest authors in the world. He lives in Austin, Texas.