Prices should have no more than 2 significant digits. The fact that every goddamn price in the world ends in 99 or 95 is a testament to the stupidity of the damn ad execs who honestly believe that people think that $49.99 is cheap, while $50 is expensive.

I once saw an ad campaign here in Israel for some bank's savings account. They were offering %8.99 (or some other %X.99), evidently in an effort to make people think they were getting less than %9.

Uhmm, somebody definitely got something backwards here, don't you think?

The reason for prices ending in x99.99 is that some people, who are even more stupid than the guys that thought up this project, thinks that 99.99$ isn't even a hundred bucks, so that must be unbelieveably cheap for an object that costs 100$ in the shop next door.

In general, people who fall for this trick are in other words even more stupid than Those stupid ad execs who make every price end in 99.

It is a fact that people actually thinks that 49.99$ is much less than 50$, and therefor they buy more stuff that's only a nickle cheaper...

Actually, the X.99 thing comes from the good old days of mechanical cash registers, and not, as many think, from the fevered mind of a marketing exec. The promotional spin is just added value.

Let me explain: once upon a time, security measures in stores were not what they are today, what with CCTV cameras and computerised cash registers. One could do the sums of a purchase in one's head, and then pocket the payment without opening the till, and no one would ever be the wiser.

If, however, the price was an awkward number, which required one to give change from the frequently used coins/notes, the sales clerk would be more likely to have to open the register and get the small coins from there - at which point a record of the transaction was created.

Since this is no longer the "old days" and there are a myriad of security measures that store employees are either being watched with or subjected to, it makes little sense to continually use byzantine practices such as adding unnecessary digits to prices.

However, this is only apparently a root of stupidity in some places. During my travels in Europe, I never once saw a .99, or .95 price. Throughout France, England, and Ireland, most prices tend to be pretty even... especially in France where sales tax isn't added at the register. Their sales tax is paid by the merchants who figure it into their prices.

Odd numbered prices simply cause the customer to either fumble for spare change or be present with a handful of coinage as change. In Europe, if the price tag says 30 Euros you hand them a bill or two and they say thank you. That's it... no exchange of various coins, no calculation of needed change, nor dealing with national, state, and local sales taxes.

So, considering the Europeans have gotten over this inconveniencing activity, I think it's about time for America to mark the price $19.95 at $20.00

That has become a real big debate around here, especially with the gas prices coming close to 2 bucks.

The local news was reporting on the local gas prices and they showed a gas sign saying 1.99 9/10 and were talking about what would happen to businesswhen gas prices hit 2 bucks.

Well if you didnt happen to see the little 9/10 on the end of the gas price, that means its only 1/10 off of 2 bucks and if you buy a gallon of gas, your gonna pay 2 bucks for it.

This madness is not limited to the United States of America... we have it bad down here in New Zealand. Retailers have charged $x.99 for many many years, even when advertising the before-GST price.

Nowadays, the 'ninety-nine cents' is routinely shortened in verbal price advertising to "ninety-nine", or "nine-nine" for little prices. Big prices get "nine-nine" in the dollars place - the height of stupidity is the retailer who sells big ticket items like home computers with the spoken price of "four nine nine nine ninety nine" - but at least they haven't scared punters off with a "five thousand dollars" price, eh?

To compound matters, our forethought-deprived government removed the coins for 1 cent and two cents. I could understand removing the two cent piece, but now one can't even get change for the $x.99 prices... so retailers round up, or down, or Swedish, whatever that is, unless the buyer is paying via EFT-POS, in which case you often get charged the literal price after being verbally told the rounded figure... we're bullish on EFT-POS 'round here.

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