Vital Statistics

As we all know, 97.3% of all statistics are made up and that three out of four people make up 75% of the population, but just who are these statisticians and researchers? The people who get paid to dig out the more obscure market trends that then appear in the papers as ‘news’.

I only ask because I read a piece in the local paper that blinds and shutters have sounded the death knell for net curtains. Apparently, sales of the twitching net have fallen from £142 million on 2003/04 to £139 million last year and looks set to continue to fall.

This is all according to market analyst, Mintel, who also reckon that demand for normal curtains has stalled as we plump for simpler and more casual window furniture. Sales of blinds grew by 62% between 2001 and 2006 and has hit £445 million and shutters are the star performers apparently.

The point is, who do they know? I have just passing experience of net curtains, but I do know that you buy it buy it by the yard on the market and market traders are not exactly renowned for being so exact in their returns.

And the shutters and blinds? Most likely from IKEA and ILVA (music warning) I suspect and I’m not aware that they report sales to the stock market by product range. Makes for a six inch column in the MEN though. (Ooer, Missus!)

But as they say, statistics means never having to say you’re certain, so here’s a joke:

Three professors (a physicist, a chemist, and a statistician) are called in to see their dean. Just as they arrive the dean is called out of his office, leaving the three professors there. The professors see with alarm that there is a fire in the wastebasket.The physicist says, “I know what to do! We must cool down the materials until their temperature is lower than the ignition temperature and then the fire will go out.”

The chemist says, “No! No! I know what to do! We must cut off the supply of oxygen so that the fire will go out due to lack of one of the reactants.”

While the physicist and chemist debate what course to take, they both are alarmed to see the statistician running around the room starting other fires. They both scream, “What are you doing?”

To which the statistician replies, “Trying to get an adequate sample size.”

Nobody’s prefect. If you find any spelling mistakes or other errors in this post, please let me know by highlighting the text and pressing Ctrl+Enter.

3 comments… Add yours
  • Yorkshire Pudding 24th February 2007

    When I saw the title “Vital Statistics” I thought you were about to drool over Mrs Parrot’s hour glass figure! But you’re right about statistics. They give the illusion of scientific accuracy but can often be manipulated to suit particular agendas. 99% of toothpaste manufacturers claim that using two tubes of toothapste a day will cause a 37% reduction in cavities and 99% of dentists say that cavities can be avoided by having weekly check ups that cost a minimum of £16.50 for forty two seconds dental service.

  • Jennyta 25th February 2007

    Love the joke! There are some people I can imagine reacting in just that way.


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