Monday, December 23, 2013

Hypothesis About Chinese Takeout and Christmas

Many readers might be aware of a somewhat tongue-and-cheek, possibly mythical tradition among Jews to order Chinese food for dinner on Christmas. Presumably its origins lie in the idea that most places serving Western cuisine are closed. Without having any data available, or really taking the time to look for any evidence whatsoever, it seems highly unlikely that this tradition, if it exists, would generate any offsetting bump in sales.

Even assuming the tradition is real and substantial, I'd guess that there's some big substitution effects and selection bias at play. It seems likely that the type of person who is going to: A) know about the tradition, and B) observe the tradition, is also the type of person who likes Chinese takeout a lot and eats Chinese takeout regularly. This means eating Chinese food on Christmas probably just substitutes with some other day of the week where it would have been ordered, resulting in no net sales increase.

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