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This Motel Room Is 19% More Expensive Than the Other Rooms
There's been a sudden increase in demand for a single motel room in Evansville, Indiana. Some people have some really interesting preferences.
A single Evansville, Indiana motel room has become an overnight tourist attraction after Vicky White and Casey White stayed in the room as the two fled from an Alabama jail. The sudden increase in demand for Room 150 at Motel 41 has generated a waiting list of over 60 people according to an unnamed motel clerk. The craziness of the story is likely responsible for the sudden urge to stay at this budget motel.
Casey White and Vicky White (they aren’t related) spent 11 days on the run earlier this month. Vicky White was a correctional officer at the jail who helped Casey White, a capital murder suspect, escape. Despite a 6-hour headstart, their plans eventually stalled in Indiana. The story starts in Alabama where authorities believed Vicky White was in a two-year relationship with Casey White prior to the escape.
On the day of the escape, Vicky White escorted Casey White by herself (even though jail policy is that two deputies are required) to an alleged mental health evaluation that was never requested. It was 6 hours before anyone at the jail realized what had happened. Before her disappearance, Vicky White sold her home and had access to about $90,000. The two ended up in Evansville when Vicky White paid a transient man $100 to rent a hotel room for the two of them.
The particular room in question isn’t unlike many other budget motel rooms. It’s on the ground floor of Motel 41, which is located along US Highway 41. The room includes a queen-sized bed and a flat-screen cable TV. If the style of the hotel below looks familiar, it’s because it used to be a Motel 6. The typical room rate at Motel 41 is around $63 per night. The current rate for Room 150, according to the anonymous clerk, is a flat rate of $75 per night: a 19% increase!
The most common demand shifters taught in a principles course include changes in income, the number of consumers, the price of related goods/services, expectations, and preferences. It’s much easier to discuss the first four instances because they have tangible examples and the link between the changes is usually obvious. When it comes to changing preferences, it’s harder to give examples beyond just saying “people want it now.” The examples I use are often related to new diets or interesting trends.
This story, however, appears to be one of those instances where some people have a sudden preference change. There is a Latin phrase that economists love to use when discussing preferences and how they may impact someone’s demand: de gustibus non est disputandum.
It translates (roughly) to “In matters of taste, there can be no disputes.” In a less academic setting, it means respecting people’s preferences even if they don’t align with your own preferences. This would be one of those situations where people have a sudden preference for something they know they want, even if you and I can’t believe they would want that. Psychologists and criminologists are the ones tasked with trying to understand our fascination with criminals.
Motel 41 currently has a 2.3/5 rating based on 721 reviews [Google Travel]
Motel 41 is 285 miles away from the Lauderdale County Jail [Google Maps]
There are an estimated 90,562 hotels and motels in the United States [IBISWorld]
As of April 2022, there were approximately 1,715,500 people employed in the accommodations sector [Bureau of Labor Statistics]
The median income for a correctional officer is $47,920 per year or $23.04 per hour [Bureau of Labor Statistics]