I was looking forward to a peaceful week of doing nothing and getting paid for it, but someone had to go and fire up the bat signal, so I will have to drop everything and rush down to the nation's capital to take up the baton of the defense of the nation with only a positive semi-definite matrix to wield. Plus, the dentist wants to smash m teeth in, and the vet wants to spike the cat. (not to be confused with Spike the Cat; that's a different blog).
So how do I distract myself from getting anything useful done? I try to get car insurance. It's a process that makes you doubt the efficient market theory. I'm currently paying about 1500 currency units per time period. So getting quotes for equivalent policies from different providers, you'd expect them to fall tightly clustered around this, wouldn't you? Well, you might, but apparently nothing is that simple. The data points I have are (in sorted order) 900, 1100, 1300, 1500, 1700, 2200 , and 3600. That's a factor of 4 between the cheapest and most expensive. What particularly amuses me is the eagerness of the folks trying to make me pay four times as much as anyone else. "Click here to buy this policy right now!" they shriek through their website and HTML-ised emails (why do people insist on sending email in HTML? Especially without plain text alternatives? Don't they realize that I hate them?). As if paying this much for the privelege of insurance is likely to be a sufficient inducement.
Anyway, the moral of this story is, shop around. Fifteen minutes could save you... 75% or more on your car insurance. (remember, I did promise more posts about cars, and I hope I am fulfilling on that commitment).