This week we unpack the behavioral science behind vaccine lotteries and why a life-changing amount of cash will motivate humans to get their shots.

So, you want to vaccinate your populace. Sometimes it’s not enough to appeal to people’s basic sense of self-preservation. You have to find other ways to entice them. Governments in states like Ohio, California, and West Virginia have announced plans to offer vaccine lotteries. The premise is simple: Get vaccinated, and you could win upwards of $1 million. Now, private companies are following suit, offering their own bonuses and sweepstakes to encourage customers to vaccinate—and to open up their wallets.

This week we talk with WIRED senior correspondent Adam Rogers about the behavioral science of vaccine lotteries, and whether even slim odds at a big payout will encourage the holdouts.

Show Notes

Read Adam’s story about why vaccine lotteries actually work, despite the assumptions.

Recommendations

Adam recommends the novel The Hidden Palace by Helene Wecker. Mike recommends El Pato sauce. (Also read an LA Eater story about it here.) Lauren recommends sour cream on eggs, and also the Patagonia Fleetwith Romper.

Adam Rogers can be found on Twitter @jetjocko. Lauren Goode is @LaurenGoode. Michael Calore is @snackfight. Bling the main hotline at @GadgetLab. The show is produced by Boone Ashworth (@booneashworth). Our theme music is by Solar Keys.

If you have feedback about the show, or just want to enter to win a $50 gift card, take our brief listener survey here.

How to Listen

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Transcript

Lauren Goode: Mike.

Michael Calore: Lauren.

LG: Mike, if you happen to have been on the fence about getting a vaccine, what is the thing? What is the prize that would have pushed you to get one?

MC: I think maybe a dozen donuts.

LG: That’s it?

MC: Yeah, sure.

LG: I thought you were going to say a million bucks.

MC: Yeah. OK. Yeah, a million bucks.

LG: All right. Well, I guess you’re a simple guy. Donuts will do it for you. It turns out donuts might do it for a lot of people, which is what we’re going to talk about today.

[Gadget Lab intro theme music plays]

LG: Hey, everyone. Welcome to Gadget Lab. I’m Lauren Goode. I’m a senior writer at WIRED.

MC: I’m Michael Calore. I’m a senior editor at WIRED.

LG: Why does it say a “benior beditor at Bired?” What is that? Did I miss the joke?

MC: No, that was me.

LG: Oh, OK. All right. Moving on, for the second week in a row, that laughter you hear is from WIRED senior correspondent Adam Rogers. We had Adam on last week to talk about his new book, which is all about color. It’s super cool. It’s super nerdy, which is what we love here on Gadget Lab. So I recommend that after you listen to this pod, you go listen to that one. But we’re very happy to have Adam back on this week to talk about vaccine lotteries. Hey, Adam.

Adam Rogers: Hello. I’m glad to be back. It’s a lot of us seniors chatting, two weeks in a row, just seniors.

LG: Oh, dear. Yeah. Apparently I’m also a geriatric millennial now, so that’s really fun. OK. So Adam, you wrote a story about this on WIRED.com this week. It all started in Ohio. Where the governor announced that any resident who’s gotten at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine would automatically be entered into a lottery to win a million bucks. Then other states followed suit, right? California upped the ante. It’s 1.5 million, where we all happen to be in California. West Virginia is giving away money and trucks and guns, which is so West Virginia. Now private companies like United Airlines and CVS are also getting into the game. It’s all an effort to entice more people to get vaccinated. But our question is is this going to work, right? Would a slight chance of winning a load of money actually convince holdouts to get their vaccine? So Adam, based on your reporting thus far, how much do vaccine lotteries really influence people’s behavior?

AR: A lot more than I expected when I started, I will admit. I went into this with one hypothesis, and it was falsified. But just as background, the United States is doing by some measures very well in getting people vaccinated. I think it’s like 75 percent of people over some age have two shots, and it’s getting close in some places, like in California, I think it’s 50 percent of people who are all of the right age have both. Different states are doing better or worse depending on the politics of that state and what’s going on there. But the overall numbers are going down. The overall numbers of people who are getting vaccinated are on the down slope, and that’s especially true … It’s truer in some states than others. So what do you do about that?

The question is, well, what’s going on? Why are people not going to get their shot? Especially because unlike most of the rest of the world, at this point, it’s very easy to do for most people in the United States, which is to say that the lines aren’t long anymore and the websites aren’t insane anymore, whatever. So you start to partition people into different groups, right? You start to say, “Well, there’s people who just really hate vaccines,” right? There’s the anti-vaxxers, and they’re not convincible. Then there’s the people who, like me, ran out there, who were waiting in line for hours like it was a new Star Wars movie. But in the middle … What can I say? So who are these people in the middle? What does it take to convince them? That’s where you get into the questions of marketing, behavioral economics, stuff like that.

I would have said, “Well, listen. Well, here’s what would be fair. Let’s just tell people there’s a reward when you come in. Just come in and here’s 100 bucks,” right? Something that’s like, “That’s material to me.” Somebody gives me $100 to do something, well, that has solved my weekend or whatever. That’s some food for a family or something. But it turns out that that’s actually not the right way. That works on some people. The dozen donuts works on some folks, the free beers at some place or that kind of stuff. But you’ve actually got to go, if you’ll pardon the use of this dumb joke, from donuts to dollars. What you need to do, it turns out, is to nudge people into doing a behavior that they kind of don’t want to do and kind of don’t care, but it’s good for society and probably good for them, too.

I talked to Richard Thaler, who’s one of the coauthors of this very influential book on this idea. Richard Thaler and Cass Sunstein wrote this book called Nudge. You want to make it easy, which different places are getting there with that, and make it fun. One of the ways that you can make something fun is to promise people the chance at a life-changing award if they get it, and people really overvalue the chance of that versus what they’re going to … because nobody’s going to win. I mean, some people win. These are real things. People win them. But in the grand scheme of things, just like with a regular lottery, almost nobody wins, right? One person. Millions of people don’t. But the idea, the entertainment of the idea that you could win this life-changing prize becomes motivational. In fact, in the place that’s released data, the state of Ohio is actually giving out some data, they were going down by 25 percent, week on week for vaccines. As soon as they announced, they started going up by twice that number. They N-shaped their curve.

MC: That’s so strange. I would also expect the inverse to be true, but it works out that the guarantee of some relatively small amount of money, like $50 or $100, is far less powerful than the very, very slim chance of a huge payout in the millions. What’s the behavioral science behind that?

AR: Well, so I asked Richard Thaler about that, and he pointed me first to the inverse, which is a very famous paper in economics called A Fine Is A Price. The idea of that was that if you fine people for a bad behavior, that doesn’t actually keep them from doing that bad behavior, because then they just build that in as the cost of doing business. You see that in the paper. The example is famously making people pay money for being late to pick up their kids from daycare. Well, you’re going to pay $50 an hour to do that, but if you’re going to be late, you’re like, “OK. Well, now I know it costs me $50. I can stay in the meeting” or “I can ignore my children” or whatever your reasoning is for not being able to go pick them up from daycare. Now you know how much that costs. It has a price.

So the inverse of that in this case is, “OK, well, if I know that the vaccine is a $50 thing, well, that’s actually not worth my time” or “That doesn’t move me off the mark.” I put in a joke in the story about charging $5 for a year subscription to WIRED, if that’s what people value. WIRED, maybe we want people to think our work is worth more than that, hypothetically, again. But if you tell people that the value, essentially the value of this is a million dollars, you could win a million dollars for it, that gives it a higher price in a sense.

What is also going on here, too, if the reason that you’re hesitant is that you’re very concerned about side effects, both some of the very, very rare, but real ones that people have talked about in the press and I’ve written about or the stuff that’s not real and it’s just crazy pants stuff, the 5G chips or whatever nonsense, if you’re worried about that kind of thing, then that’s the cost, right, of getting a vaccine. You have to weigh that against the benefit of not getting a potentially fatal disease and not giving it to other people, which you would think would be enough, but it turns out is actually not the way people do this valuation, whether consciously or unconsciously.

LG: I just want to mention for those of you who are considering subscribing to WIRED, I have a URL I can send to you for 50 percent off. Shameless plug. My DMs are open on Twitter. Happy to get you to subscribe. OK. So Adam, is there a relationship between the people who believe they have a chance of winning a lottery, no matter how slim the chances, and those people also concurrently believing that there could be negative impact such as … Well, during the height of the coronavirus pandemic, is that the same kind of personality that believes they could get the worst of COVID-19 or with getting the vaccine could potentially have the negative side effects? I’m wondering if people who think that they are subject to particularly good fortune also tend to believe that they could suffer the impact of bad fortune.

AR: It’s a good question. I didn’t ask about that. I know that there is this thing where there’s a sense among the behavioral economists and among some public health folks as well that the people who didn’t get vaccinated, who aren’t super anti-vaxxer or super hesitant, who were just like, “Eh, I’m probably going to be fine” are the kind of people who generally don’t think the bad thing is going to happen to them in the future about all kinds of stuff. One place that people see this, for example, is in saving money, is in finances.

The consultant who helped design the Oregon program, actually, he’s a management scientist and does economics work at Stanford as well, and he founded a bank called Long Game Savings. What they do is they sort of gamify savings. So they’re like, “If you save more money, you get entered into a lottery,” just like this. For him, it really works. That improves by 40 percent or something the number of people who will save money, trying to get people to do stuff that’s good for them, but they don’t otherwise feel motivated to do, because it’s far off in the future and it doesn’t make sense to them. So you have to kind of play a game here, put them into the game in the same way that entering them into what is an opt-out lottery for when you get vaccinated, not opt-in, right? Opt-in, people tend not to do as much, but as soon as you make saving for retirement opt-out, 90 percent of people do it. It’s like, “Oh, I already did it. Made it easy,” just like Thaler and Sunstein said. It makes it easy.

So these are opt-out lotteries. When you get vaccinated, even in California, I got vaccinated before the lottery thing started by like a month. But I’m entered, anyway. I’m still in it. All of us Californians are in it if we get vaccinated, because that makes sure that you’re in it. What you want to make sure that you do then at that point also is show other people winning. You set up a regret lottery, because people get fear of missing out. They go, “Oh, I can see that somebody I know or somebody who lives near me or whatever actually won. I know this is a real thing.”

LG: Ooh, regret lottery.

MC: OK. So in California, we’re also giving away 2 million gift cards, right? They’re 50 bucks apiece. They work at grocery stores. That’s in addition to the prizes that are a million and a half dollars and $50,000. So is that why they give both large prizes and small prizes, so you actually see people that you may know winning?

AR: Well, it’s a little bit different, right? The giveaway that everyone can get … I guess the $50 cards are prizes, too, right? Not everybody gets one of those. So yes, that’s why. You want to have those prizes out there, like, “Oh, somebody did win. That’s amazing,” like, “Yeah.” You can do it. There’s going to be one winner in every zip code would be another way to do it, to just guarantee that the drawing goes to every zip code. Yeah, so you do the small prizes so people can see that it actually happens. Then they think they have a better chance. They don’t, of course.

I mean, the chance of winning is really, really, really small, but this is the thing that hyperrational economists have never understood about lotteries, either. “Well, why would you play a lottery when you pay $3 for a lotto card and the value, the expected value in the parlance of the game here, the expected value is very low? The expected value of that is less than the paper it’s printed on, quite literally, because your chances of winning are one in 100 million or something like that.” But people overvalue the expected value if there’s a chance of a life-changing win at the other end of it.

LG: We do have to go to break shortly, but I want to ask you one more question, which is how much of this is marketing, in effect, or just getting the conversation going about vaccines? I happened to be in the state of Connecticut a few weeks ago when the state opened up, for lack of a better term, right? It was May 19th. That’s when businesses were going to be fully open and people could remove masks if they chose to. I happened to be there for that, and it was this really kind of interesting experience to see whose psychology sort of … Some people just flipped a switch, but there was a lot of conversation going on about vaccines, about safety.

During that time, the state of Connecticut rolled out an initiative to give people a free drink, alcoholic or otherwise, at participating restaurants if you showed your vaccine card. I happened to be around mostly people who were vaccinated, though some were not, and people were talking about it. They were just talking about the fact that this was an incentive, which made me wonder, “I wonder if it’s just that people are going to … The more it enters the conversation stream, the more likely it is that people would actually go get it done.”

AR: Yeah, a ton, and in a positive way, too. The talk that people have about it is positive for once. To talk about something about this pandemic in a good way, it’s like, “That’s amazing,” right? Which hasn’t happened, it feels like, in a year and a half. So I have two pieces of evidence that say that you’re right about that. One of them is what the spokesperson for the governor of the state of Ohio told me, which is that for the cost of the lottery, the Vax-a-Millions, they call it in Ohio-

MC: Nice.

AR: … which ends up being something like $5.6 million, because $5 million prizes, and then they’re also doing scholarships for kids to the tune of about 600,000. For that amount of money, they got by their calculations over $28 million worth of free media, so coverage on TV and in newspapers and on radio and places like WIRED, where I wrote about it, free media. So they 5X’ed. They more than 5X’ed their dollars to market the fact that there was a vaccine that people should get. That’s what that money was for, was for vaccine marketing for public health. So that worked. Then the other example of why this is really good marketing is what happened at United Airlines, and I can tell you more about that if you want after the break.

LG: That sounds great. We’ll be right back.

[Break]

LG: So Adam, tell us how we’ve landed in a position where we’re now suddenly praising the airlines.

AR: I know. I know. I was sitting there going like, “Oh, United’s awesome.”

LG: Right.

AR: It’s because it’s been so long since I’ve flown. I don’t remember.

LG: Yeah. I know. It’s like if you ever follow Walt Mossberg on Twitter, you’ve known for the past several years that United is absolutely not awesome, but please continue.

AR: So right. What happened at United? In the telling of a vice president of marketing there who runs Mileage Plus, which is their frequent flyer program, is that they wanted to do a bunch of things. They wanted to encourage vaccination because it’s good for the world, they wanted to get people back to flying because that’s good for United, because that’s what they do there, and they wanted to figure out a way, an economical and marketing way to encourage that return and build loyalty and increase customers, do all the things corporations want to do. So they had a bunch of meetings, and what they started to circle around was the idea of, “Let’s just give people some frequent flyer miles. Let’s give them whatever, 2,000, 5,000 Mileage Plus points if they fly again, if they come back.”

The marketing side, Luc Bondar, who’s the vice president, when we talked to the marketing side, kind of rushed in there like, “That’s not what marketing says. Don’t do that. Don’t do that,” for a bunch of reasons. So some of those reasons are you’re trying to not just build loyalty, but start new relationships, get new customers, right? That’s what that means in real English, not marketing English. So that means you want people to join Mileage Plus, but just giving them points, that’s not so great.

Then from an economic perspective, it’s not so great for the company, either, because Mileage Plus points don’t ever expire. That was one of the changes they made at that program, because they felt like you want to build a loyalty program, having it expire actually doesn’t build loyalty. That makes sense to me. But because they don’t expire, if you give every Mileage Plus person and also everybody who buys a new ticket on United and signs up 5,000 points, then that’s like you gave that money out there. It becomes a liability. It’s just hanging out there forever, and you never know when people are going to use it so that you can’t plan. That costs you money. But if you spend, what’s relatively a small amount of money for the company to build, again, that life-changing possibility of a reward, in this case the grand prize in their sweepstakes is, I think, a year of travel for two in first-class, which, again, if you have flown, that’s pretty life-changing, man. First-class is nice, right?

LG: Does that count for cats and dogs?

AR: Can you bring a carrier, right?

LG: Yes. Can they have the other first-class seat?

AR: As far as I can tell, you can do whatever you want in first class.

LG: OK.

AR: I think that’s how that works. The cat can fly by itself, and they have to give it warm nuts. So that becomes something that people go, “Oh my goodness. That’s really” … Then people see it. Then it has the same effect that the big money lotteries have in the states. According to the numbers that Bondar told me, they saw 400,000 people. You have to upload your vaccine card. I mean, you have to prove that you got vaccinated, but 400,000 people did that, 100,000 new Mileage Plus members, and he hadn’t done the math yet, but he was going to go back and look and see when they got vaccinated to see if it was since the contest and sweepstakes was announced, because then you would kind of be able to say, “Yeah, they did it because we gave them this announcement.”

MC: So they’re pulling the FOMO lever, right?

AR: Right.

MC: A year, you get to travel first class wherever you want, you and a guest for a year. That’s like a, “Can you imagine?” People start immediately thinking in their heads all the places they would go. But an airline is in a unique position to do something like this, because they can offer that sort of FOMO experience. Have you seen other companies that have had the ability to generate that much FOMO?

AR: I mean, not that I’ve seen. Have you seen other folks doing that? Any company could, right?

MC: Yeah. But it would be different if it was a year of Taco Bell burritos or a year of free bowling. It’s like it’s hard to generate that much activity.

AR: That’s true. Who controls those sorts of experiences? But then again, but let me invert that and say, “OK, well, I mean, Apple could say, ‘Here’s the top line iPad.'” I mean, they’ve got a lot of those lying around, like, “OK, show your vaccine card the next time you come to the Apple store. We’re going to give away one in every zip code of the United States.”

MC: Superbowl tickets.

AR: Superbowl tickets. Sure.

MC: World Series tickets. All expenses paid trip to the World Series.

AR: My hypothesis, now I was wrong initially, like I said. I thought that if you just give people 50 bucks, that would help. In fact, it’s a lottery thing. So my hypotheses are clearly totally incorrect as far as behavioral economics goes. But the experiential things seem to me to be even more … I overvalue the experiential things even more than the money in my head. Maybe that’s just because I’m living a life of privilege at this point. But if you could do that and you say, “Yeah, a trip to the World Series or Major League baseball. Next time you come to a ballpark, show your vaccine card, and you’re entered into the lottery for all expenses paid trip for four to the World Series.”

MC: Disneyland.

LG: Well, what’s interesting about that is that it shows that our capacity to evaluate risk really is fairly poor, because not only do we tend to inflate our chances of potentially winning something like that in a lottery, but we also still don’t have a ton of certainty around events, right? We’re sort of operating under the assumption right now that all of these things are just … They’ve started to open up, and they will remain opened up when in reality, we don’t know what fall or winter 2021 is going to bring. We don’t know what’s going to happen. Sorry to be dark, guys, but we don’t know what’s going to happen in the future, if there are other pathogens that emerge, right?

MC: For sure.

LG: So it’s amazing how much we’re so kind of willing. I think we all want to deeply accept these possibilities right now that we’re going to be flying again for the near future.

AR: In some ways, the lottery thing is like this is a last resort. This is the least best solution, because the lottery is what you do when you don’t want to have a vaccine mandate.

LG: Right.

AR: We’d like to encourage people. We want to encourage people to get vaccinated, because politically, as a matter of policy, it’s seen as toxic to say, “No, nobody gets on a United flight without a vaccine card.” My colleague Maryn McKenna has been writing about vaccine passports, and that’s sort of what the meaning is, like, “No, nobody gets into a Major League ballpark without proving you’re vaccinated. Nobody gets back to work. Nobody comes into this skyscraper,” all that stuff, right? People just hate that, and politicians and policymakers hate it even more, potentially, because I think surveys show that most people …

It’s in the 70 percent or something, like, “Yeah, there should be vaccine mandates. I don’t want to go into a supermarket not knowing, especially with my under 12-year-old kid who can’t be vaccinated. I don’t know which of these people who doesn’t have to wear a mask anymore is vaccinated and isn’t.” It’s more risky, to my eye. My perception of risk is even worse now in some respects than it was. So what the nudges do, the behavioral nudges are an alternative to just saying, “No, you don’t have to get vaccinated, but you can’t come into any of these places if you’re not,” which people are very uncomfortable with.

LG: Right. They don’t respond well to, generally.

AR: But the decision-makers are uncomfortable with it.

LG: Right.

AR: Like I said, I think as a general matter, I think population-wise, surveys say that people, humans are actually more comfortable with that than the decision-makers are.

MC: So when you use prizes and cash to nudge somebody into doing something that they might not otherwise have done, there must be ethical considerations, right?

AR: Yeah, there are. They come from a few different directions. So a granular one is is it ever OK to convince someone to do something they otherwise wouldn’t do? That’s worth asking about, right? Different cultures have different ideas on that. You could see the idea of the nudge in this case of the life-changing lottery prize that you’re probably not going to win as being fairly if not benevolent, at least neutral. That’s kind of banal, in a way, depending on how you feel about gambling, I suppose, as a thing. Some people see that as worse than others. But this doesn’t hurt anyone except for the fact that you’re changing their opinion.

So if you really want to ask questions about that, you’ve got to ask questions about marketing and behavioral science in general, which I think are probably questions worth asking, right? Because at a certain level, nudges become dark patterns. They become the things that keep our attention on social media when we wouldn’t otherwise be paying attention to them. Those are all nudges, the behavioral economics and behavioral science of why you keep staring at your phone, right? I think we could probably be like, “Maybe it’s borderline, if not over the border into being unethical.” People wouldn’t ordinarily do that, and you’re making them do that so they’ll look at ads so they’ll buy more stuff. Maybe that’s bad. This is the same class in dark arts, right?

LG: Exploiting something, some kind of behavior.

AR: Yeah, that’s right. Then at a bigger level, you could ask, “Well, maybe it’s not ethical to use” … This isn’t exactly gamification, but it exists in the same space as gamification in the sense that you’re trying to make it more fun and have there be points in the same way when the circles on your watch all come together or whatever, and that’s a sort of reward in itself. It exists in a similar space to that in terms of entertainment. Games are usually seen as being something that has intrinsic rewards. The reward is just playing the game itself.

The word that Celia Hodent, who I talked to you, who’s a UX consultant and a psychologist, they’re autotelic. You do them for their own sake. Saying that somebody can come to get vaccinated because they get entered into a lottery where they might want a million dollars, that’s an extrinsic reward. It’s extrinsic to the thing of getting vaccinated, and it’s a different sort of nudge than just saying, “We’re going to put small vaccine clinics in every mall and at every post office and every bank and every place that people go,” and then when you get there, there’s somebody standing there saying “Oh, hey, you want to get vaccinated?” Then people who would otherwise not done are like, “Yeah, I guess so. Sure.” Boink, right in the shoulder, which there aren’t ethical issues there. You’re making it easier. That’s the make it easy part, not the make it fun part, particularly, right?

But so the question is is it ethical at all to … I’m going to use a fraught word here. I don’t mean it as bad as it’ll sound. Is it ethical to pervert a game? Is it ethical to pervert something that’s autotelic or it should have intrinsic motivation and turn it into something that it’s an extrinsic motivator? I think the gamification people and the thinkers, the game theorists have this fight a lot, to do this, to put these behavioral controls in place. Arguably, the idea that there are scientists and government officials and policymakers thinking about how to control your behavior at all, maybe that puts a shiver in people’s spines, too. I think, actually, it happens all the time. That’s how you govern a population, so get used to it. But maybe people see that as well, too. So yes, that was a long answer to … I probably could have just said, “Yes, there are ethical implications, Michael. Thank you.”

LG: So before I let you go, we should probably just make it clear for our listeners that getting vaccinated twice beyond the double shots that you’re supposed to get with some of the vaccines isn’t going to increase your chances of winning a lottery. Correct?

AR: That is correct. You get entered the one time. There’s no science that says it also makes you more super-powered against the vaccine.

LG: Oh, OK.

AR: Although it could. I don’t think anybody’s studied it. That’s actually a good question.

LG: Yeah, I’ve kind of had this vision of being like Chris Evans in Captain America, where before he goes in the tube, then afterwards. If you got another dose, then maybe you’ll just emerge like that.

MC: I also have dreams of being Chris Evans in Captain America.

LG: Don’t we all have Chris Evan dreams? All right. Thanks again, Adam. Let’s take another quick break. We’ll be right back with recommendations.

[Break]

LG: Adam, you first. What is your recommendation this week?

AR: Next week, a book comes out that I was lucky enough to get an advanced look at called The Hidden Palace by a writer named Helene Wecker. It’s a sequel to a book that came out a few years ago called The Golem and the Jinni, which is set in turn of the 19th, 20th century New York where a golem, which is like a Jewish mystical version of a Frankenstein monster, and a genie from Arab myth show up in the Lower East Side and become friends. It was really lovely. It’s a beautiful historical fantasy with all kinds of magic and cool stuff. The sequel is out. Helene Wecker’s Hidden Palace comes out next week, and I read it. It’s just delightful. It’s just great. It’s a terrific book.

MC: That’s awesome.

LG: Great recommendation. Snackfight, what is yours?

MC: All right. So I had my first hang with friends out of town this past weekend since the pandemic started. We’re all vaccinated, so we all got together. We went and slept at our friend’s house. We had other people come over. I got roped into cooking breakfast, and I remembered how amazingly versatile El Pato is. This is a tomato-based hot sauce. It’s made in Los Angeles. The company has been around for over 100 years. It’s called El Pato because it has a picture of a duck on it, comes in a yellow can, and it is spicy. It can be used for absolutely anything. You can use it to cook rice. You can use it to cook potatoes. You can use it to make a vegetable stew. You can put it on enchiladas. You can just use it as a salsa on your tacos. So if you like Mexican food and you like spicy, tomato-based sauces, El Pato is the king. So that’s my recommendation.

As a bonus, I’m also going to recommend that you read the story about this company that came out earlier this year. It was in Eater LA, and it’s an LA-based company. It’s family-owned, and they talked to the guy who owns it and some of his staff and how they adapted to COVID. The fact that they’re still rolling all these cans off the line, it’s really amazing. El Pato. That’s my recommendation.

LG: Nice.

AR: My new recommendation is to have Michael Calore make me breakfast. That’s my new recommendation.

MC: You’re speaking my love language, my man. Lauren, what’s your recommendation?

LG: I have two recommendations this week. One is inspired by Gilad Edelman, our sometimes contributor/co-host on this show, and another one is inspired by a conversation that a group of women at WIRED had yesterday. So my Gilad-like recommendation is sour cream with eggs. If you haven’t been doing this, you should have sour cream with your eggs.

MC: Wait. Why is this inspired by Gilad? I literally just talked about cooking breakfast.

LG: Oh. Sorry, Mike.

AR: Because it’s dairy?

LG: No, because Gilad likes combining things and announces them on the show as though it’s a novel thing that he’s combining. Sometimes it’s a little weird, but for the most part, it’s pretty normal stuff. I feel like this is the same. Lots of people have probably already been putting sour cream in their fried eggs or their scrambled eggs and I’m just new to it, but I like it. So I’m saying you should try it, if you have not already. I’m going to say it with gusto and confidence, like the way that Gilad would.

My second recommendation is a romper from Patagonia, and this is partly inspired by our conversation that I had with a group of women at WIRED yesterday, because we were all recommending some of our favorite products that we feel like just kind of gotten us through this weird period or that we’ve really used a lot. I have worn this romper, which is basically … It’s a jumpsuit, so many times. I love it. I’ve now convinced my sister-in-law to buy one, and other friends have been like, “Where did you get that jumpsuit?”

I have it in kale. Of course it’s called kale. It’s a really great lightweight material. It’s really durable. I’ve worn it. You can wear it with sandals if you’re going out at night because, yay, some of us can actually go out again. But I’ve also worn it fly fishing, because the bottoms are so lightweight. I just kind of put a long sleeve top over it, and it was perfect for that. Yeah, it’s, wrinkle-free. It’s pretty incredible, and it’s only $119. So I highly recommend the women’s Fleetwith romper from Patagonia. Plus, Patagonia does free repairs on your goods if you happen to get a tear in them or something like that. So yeah, I’m going to add that in the show notes and thus begin my career as an influencer.

AR: From fly fishing to a glamorous night on the town, Lauren. Good.

LG: That’s right. I’m wearing it now. Oh my gosh. I just looked into Zoom. I didn’t realize I was wearing it now, but I am.

AR: It seems like a nice romper.

LG: Sorry. Thanks. Thanks, Adam. All right. That’s it for our show and my very, very lengthy recommendation. Thanks for humoring me, but mostly thanks to Adam Rogers for joining us again this week.

AR: It’s my pleasure. I’m always happy to see you.

LG: Snackfight, great seeing you as well. I can’t wait to see you IRL soon.

MC: Yeah, totally. We’ll get to talk about Apple next week, so I’m excited about that.

LG: Yes. Next week is WWDC. It’s Apple’s annual software developers’ conference. It’s usually jam packed with news. This year, it feels even more kind of important, because there’s a lot of scrutiny on Apple right now. It’s coming on the heels of Apple’s Epic trial with Epic, maker of Fortnite, and just a lot of people are paying attention to Apple’s App Store policies right now. So we’re going to be looking at that as well as all the updates that are coming to iOS, Mac OS, and every other platform that you might be using. So be sure to tune in next week for next week’s Gadget Lab, where we’re going to unpack WWDC. But for now, thanks for listening. If you have feedback, you can find all of us on Twitter. Just check the show notes, and have a great weekend. Oh, and the show is produced by the one and only Boone Ashworth. Give him a shout-out. Bye for now.

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