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When you've been on for as long as The Price Is Right has, you're bound to get a few morons. Not knowing the "tricks" to the games is excusable enough, but some players go the extra mile and forget what the host just told them (which can be chalked up to TV nervousness and the fact that there are [usually] fabulous prizes on the line, but that's not going to stop us from making fun of you here).

Note: As with the other Game Show pages in What an Idiot!, some of the following contestants may very well have given these stupid answers on purpose, whereas others earnestly are stumped, don't know the answer to easy questions, or are unable to provide a correct answer due to the pressures of doing well before the camera. That doesn't make them any less stupid, mind you, but instead they become far more worthy of being here.

In General...

  • For Contestant's Row:
    • Really low bids, unless you're the last bidder and think everyone else has gone over. Currently, IUFBs begin at about $450.
    • Bids that are $1 lower than any previous bid, although doing so has resulted in a perfect bid at least twice.
      • In a similar situation, any contestant that makes a bid $1 higher than the previous contestant and they're not the last contestant up. This gives the next (and usually last) contestant to make their bid $1 higher than the previous player, resulting in bids showing like this for example: $545, $900, $901, $902.
    • Bids of $420 or anything containing "69" are frowned upon. Both are excusable under certain conditions (the highest bid is $419 or $x68), but doing it just for the sake of being "clever" is a one-way path to infamy.
    • Any off-the-wall bids, such as $9,000 for a pair of surfboards; $9,999 on a popcorn machine and a pilates machine; and $2,000,000 on a kitchen island.
    • Any moron who gives a five (or higher!)-digit bid; the display was simply left blank until September 2009, when a new set of LCD displays allowed for five-digit bids to be shown. Probably the most egregious instance was during the 25th-Anniversary Special (August 23, 1996), where it happened right after they showed the lady that bid $9,000 on two surfboards!
  • For pricing games:
    • Saying something like "I've never seen this game" or "I don't know how to play" when the game in question is an easy one like Plinko, Check Game, or Double Prices.
    • Stalling or looking to the audience for help during timed games (Bonkers and Race Game; Split Decision and Time Is Money also applied), especially if you've already been told not to look at the audience for help.
    • Attempting to cheat, especially if the game in question is Flip Flop.
    • Making one- or three-plus-digit guesses in Cliff Hangers, or thinking an item costs less than the one before it (prices have gone in ascending order since at least the 1990s). Somewhat averted if the contestant still manages to win.
      • Often, the one- or three-plus digit guesses come as the result of the contestant trying to price the item in dollars and cents, when the show (since its debut) has rounded all prize items to the nearest dollar. Thus, why a bid of "350" is taken as $350 (350 dollars), not $3.50 (three dollars and 50 cents).
    • Clock Game has made quite a few contestants panic to the point where they can't think straight. You'd expect the player to lower his/her bid when the host says "lower", and raise it when the host says "higher" — perhaps binary search if s/he is smart. Instead, we get exchanges like "$599!" "Lower!" "$600!" "Lower!" "$610!" "Lower!"
    • In Golden Road, while on the first or second prize, choosing a digit that already appears as one of the given digits. Also, choosing the lower number on the first prize (the one that connects to the grocery product, which is typically has the numbers 9-2 or 8-1).
    • Losing Grand Game on the first choice, such as this lady from June 19, 2002.
    • Picking the cheapest item in Hi-Lo, especially on the first choice.
    • In Magic #, setting the display at anything under $1,500.
    • Choosing the first option in Push Over, thus not "pushing over" any blocks.
    • Wasting the ranges ($1, $10, $100) in Rat Race. For example, wasting the $100 range by saying the prize is $60 means you think it could be -$40.
    • In Squeeze Play setups with duplicate number choices (such as 79398), choosing to remove one of those rather than the "odd one out". Occasionally inverted, though.
    • In That's Too Much!, stopping on the first or last price.
    • In Card Game, saving an ace for later, or continuing to draw cards after playing an ace.
    • In Money Game, picking any of the three numbers designed to be possibilities for the first two digits of the car after getting the first two digits right already. Not an automatic loss (unless that was the last choice), but it does worsen your odds. And sometimes, what looks like a "first two" possibility is the back of the car.
      • Ignoring "El Cheapo", the lowest number on the board (usually under 10)...although at least once (the Davidson version), it was actually a decoy.
    • Choosing to have the first digit revealed in any game where you are offered to have a digit of the price revealed (Stack the Deck, 2 for the Price of 1; in the case of Stack the Deck, if you are unsure of whether a car is high $10K or low $20K, it's better to ask for the second digit).
    • In 10 Chances, repeating a guess. Supposedly, there's a 10-second time limit on making a guess, but since this rule has never been enforced since at least the early 1980s, contestants who appear to be having trouble have often been encouraged to review earlier guesses before taking a deep breath and write down their next guess. (This isn't taking into effect the unwritten "zero" rule, which has been in place since the 1980s and provides that zero is always the last number in all three prizes {unless it isn't a choice, in which case the last digit is always 5}.)
      • Also, repeating numbers in the price. The number choices have never used repeats.
  • For the Showcase Showdown:
    • Most people who spin again on a high number, although this has sometimes resulted in a better score (including $1.00).
    • The third spinner should never take that second spin if they already got a score which beats the leader. This actually happened on the Season 25 finale.
  • For the Showcase:
    • Four-digit bids (mainly since the show used its last sub-$10,000 Showcase on April 22, 1997), or anything less than the current threshold of about $18,000.
    • Bids that are quite clearly over. Several people came remarkably close to making six-digit bids on a five-digit display, although this wouldn't be a problem on the current computerized ones due to having shown six-digit grand totals.
      • On Dennis James' nighttime show, one lady very nearly bid $100,000 on a Showcase.
      • February 15, 2007: A contestant tried to bid $250,000 on a Showcase containing two motorcycles, but was convinced to tone it $60,000.
    • Obviously-low bids ($1, $30, $500), usually done if one contestant thinks the other has overbid. While it typically works, it also gives you approximately zero chance of winning if your opponent didn't actually overbid (known to have happened at least twice, one of which led to a Double Showcase Win).
    • If your Showcase includes cash, bidding less than the total amount of said money (plus a little more for whatever else is included).

Bob Barker (1972-2007)

  • 1972-73: While yes, Clock Game was relatively new, one male contestant tried to go a different route — namely, thinking before bidding, rather than rapid-fire. He lost.
  • May 26, 1983: A contestant playing Lucky Seven got the first three numbers exactly right, guaranteeing herself a car and some gas money by saying anything from 3-6... but then it would be in Moment of Awesome, not here.
  • May 28, 1990: This One Away playing for a Lincoln Mark VII.
  • April 1991: Another bad Ten Chances playing, complete with really bad guesses and Bob quickly getting impatient with the contestant's ineptness. He didn't win the car.
  • November 14, 1991: Mohini — great at pricing, bad at the actual meat of SuperBall!! despite Bob's attempts to get her to roll underhanded instead of throwing the balls. This segment (the opening segment) ran for twelve and a half minutes, during which Barker got in several great quips.
  • September 14, 1992: A contestant playing Cliff Hangers clearly has no clue how much a small Bulova watch costs, guessing $395 and then $2,500. He then asks Bob to change his answer again, and does $350. It actually cost $25.
  • 1993-94: A contestant playing Lucky $even is given the first digit and told to guess the second. As cars were just barely over $10,000 at the time, anything from 1-3 would've been a reasonable guess. Apparently not seeing the first digit already revealed, and thinking it was a four-digit car, she says 9 and loses right off the bat.
  • November 1, 1993: A Check-Out player who guessed really high prices at the time. The audience and Bob responded in disgust to most of his guesses. He lost so badly, Bob joked that he got a prize for missing the target range of 50 cents.
  • January 21, 1994: One Clock Game player barely got up to three-digit bids before time ran out. And he gets progressively louder as he does.
  • April 19, 1994: A Magic # playing where the contestant thought $110 would be a good guess. To be fair, a granddad would probably think a rocking horse for his grandchild would cost about 1/20th the price of a motor scooter — and you can typically get a rocking horse that size made in China for $100 and a bike for $2,000. The mistake here is that the guess should be nearer the middle figure, not the bare minimum.
  • March 20, 1995: During one Money Game playing, the contestant (playing for a Plymouth Neon) picked the last two numbers right off the bat. As there are typically three obvious candidates for the first two numbers (10, 12, and 14 here), this was a win and perhaps some extra money [1]... but if that was the case, it wouldn't be here.
  • June 12, 1996: A contestant gave three ridiculous bids on a toy guitar in Cliff Hangers ($2,000, then $450, then $850). Hilarity Ensues when Bob started badgering the mountain climber to get a move on because "I've got prizes to give away!"
  • October 30, 1996: A lady playing Grand Game didn't notice the adhesive price (below the target) was already revealed due to a prop malfunction until she lost the game. Bob was reluctant to give her the $100, but eventually he did.
  • January 16, 1997: In the final playing of Split Decision, Jason guessed the dishwasher was $512 twice. Bob was more surprised that he didn't guess $512 a third time.
  • April 4, 1997: A Check Game contestant wrote a check for $7,000, which Bob immediately voided and allowed her to write a new amount. She still lost.
  • November 2, 1998: A Make Your Move contestant thought a trip to Guadalajara was $7,082. Bob even chastised the contestant's decision.

 Bob: You think the trip is $7,082? Have you ever been to Guadalajara?

Contestant: No, I haven't.

  • February 11, 1999: Brian, playing Clock Game, does a decent job with the first prize. Hilarity Ensues when he begins bidding on the second.

 Bob: Brian, what kind of a show do you think this is?

  • April 1999: A Secret X player loses because she tries to line up three X's on the left side of the board, when a win actually has to be made using the center column. (Besides that, she didn't get the third X.)
  • January 27, 2000: A Ten Chances playing with eight chances used on the first two items, complete with four bad guesses out of ten.
  • February 15, 2002: A contestant playing It's In The Bag got exactly zero items in their right bags.
  • April 24, 2002: A Ten Chances contestant looked and acted like he wanted to get attention and fame for epically failing.
  • November 7, 2002 (Paul Boland announcing): A perfect example of how not to play Race Game — the contestant took too much time conferring with the audience, rather than pay attention to the game.
  • January 19, 2004: Janice plays One Away for a Pontiac Vibe and guesses $37,840 on her first turn. Bob is shocked that she has only one number right, and she elects to change the price to $39,642...and loses on the first number reveal. (If you listen carefully, you can hear her group yelling at her.)
  • April 6, 2004: An older lady playing On The Spot loses by guessing that an ice sphere is $30 twice.
  • June 3, 2004: Another failure in Ten Chances, where the contestant and the audience almost constantly thinks a karaoke machine costs $200. WARNING: Includes an "x69" guess and redundant chance-using.
  • January 7, 2005: A contestant playing Cliff Hangers thought a cookie press cost $275, but changed her an even bigger eyesore of $350.
  • May 1, 2006: This playing of Ten Chances, where the contestant uses the "1" twice. Repeatedly. And then she wins, to which Bob sits down in complete shock.
  • June 16, 2006: A playing of Ten Chances where Bob nearly gives up on a contestant who thinks a Chevrolet Malibu costs $68,000.

Doug Davidson (1994-95)

  • One episode had a Squeeze Play setup of 73995, which meant that two of the three choices led to the same price ($7,395) and hence increased the odds of winning to 50%. Usually, a setup with duplicate choices has the other number in the middle (which is almost always the one to remove).

Drew Carey (2007-Present)

  • May 20, 2008: A guy named Joseph gave a bid of $2,000,000 on an IUFB, plus $420 and numbers ending in "69". He never won, and the episode was put on CBS' prestigious "DO NOT RERUN" list.
  • January 30, 2009: Two really bad Showcase overbids.
  • October 31, 2009: On the annual Halloween episode, the Showcase contestants each bid $4,200. A reasonable bid for circa 1975, yes, but not for 2009.
  • December 18, 2009: A one-bid for a piano had the following bids — $12,000; $12,001; $13,000; $1.
  • April 21, 2010: A contestant playing Magic # (begins at 3:00) made a guess of $371 for a satellite TV package and an HDTV. Before Drew could ask to reveal the HDTV price, the crowd was literally screaming at the contestant to guess a lot higher, so Drew let the guy change his guess — except he only upped the amount to $496. The prices? $1,560 and $2,499. Drew's comment, "off by a little", doesn't even begin to describe how dense this guy was.
  • October 21, 2010: Laurie bids $420. Repeatedly.
  • Fall 2010: Three examples of how not to play 10 Chances.
  • A contestant playing Pathfinder guessed the first four numbers correctly on his first try for each, then stepped on the wrong choice for the last number (usually a 50/50 shot anyway). Okay, no problem — no perfect game, sure, but a good vantage point with three chances to own the car by winning any one of the three "second chance" prizes. Despite this, he failed to get any of them. Among the prizes he missed? A Nintendo DS adaptation of Price which he apparently thought was $50. DS games never cost more than $35 unless some kind of peripheral is included.
  • April 5-6, 2011: Two consecutive shows with Rat Race...and two consecutive wipeouts.
  • April 7, 2011: A contestant named Alexander blatantly proves he hasn't seen the show before — bidding $35,000 on the first IUFB before asking "What am I bidding on?", then thinking he was supposed to bring the groceries over himself during It's In The Bag. After losing on the first item, he asked "Do I win anything?" upon finding out he had placed one item correctly.
  • May 27, 2011: A contestant named George plays Magic # for a "diner booth set" and a "retro" fridge. Considering the prices are $1,749 and $4,195 respectively, this is one of the easiest setups in the game's history...but he still manages to blow it by setting the display at $746.
  • May 30, 2011: Carlos loses More Or Less on the first prize by thinking a set of dumbbells is less than $350.
  • May 31, 2011: A contestant bids $8,000 on a Showcase consisting of trips to Paris, Miami, and Beverly Hills plus $6,000 cash, and is off by over $20,000. Had her opponent not overbid...
  • June 1, 2011: A contestant playing Race Game is told by Drew to just "throw the pricetags down as fast as you can", and she does so, dropping them on the floor; as the game operator can't tell which tags fell where, the display shows 0 instead of 1. While the tags are picked up and she doesn't drop them on the floor again, she ends up losing...but before she spins in the Showcase Showdown, Drew announces that they're giving her all four prizes. Basically, she was awarded the prizes on a technicality because she listened to Drew's badly-worded explanation.
  • June 16, 2011: A contestant playing Cliff Hangers guesses $5, $7, and $6 on a measuring cup, an egg cooker, and a whipped cream dispenser respectively (the correct prices were $10-$22-$26).
  • October 28, 2011: A contestant playing Freeze Frame guesses $1,199 for a $6,175 outdoor furniture group.
  • November 2, 2011: A Magic # setup even easier than the one above, most likely the easiest in its history — a DirecTV package worth $1,128 and a 55" Samsung LED-LCD HDTV worth $3,800. A $2,672 difference, and yet Bethany manages to blow it by setting the display at $865; making matters worse is that she had it up to about $1,100 at one point before her friends yelled at her to lower it.
  • March 9, 2012: Two real stinkers.
    • Anjuli plays Clock Game, beginning with an $848 Panasonic Lumix with underwater camcorder. Cue the Surfaris' Wipeout.
    • A Showcase contestant is offered three trips (to South Padre Island, Miami, and Greece)... and bids $5,500, being off by over $20,000. Unlike the May 2011 example, her opponent didn't overbid on his own.
  • March 20, 2012: Hampar guesses $85 on the first item in Cliff Hangers, a three-piece ceramic tea set valued at just $20.
  • April 9, 2012: Another Clock Game stinker. The first prize is $549, but not only does Donna go all over the place and come within a dollar of the price, she also hesitates throughout, wasting time as she guesses slowly. And she doesn't get to the second prize.
  • April 19, 2012: A young woman playing Bonkers clearly didn't pay attention to Drew's explanation, as she not only takes the paddles back to him instead of putting them on the board but wastes time looking at the audience for help. Somehow, she won.


  1. (best solution would be to pick the two wrong "obvious" numbers to guarantee you won't screw up, the highest number remaining, and finally the remaining "obvious" choice)
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