Saturday, April 2, 2011

Not as bad (could be this good!)


That was the price on the item. $19.99. As we stood there waiting for the friendly man at the cell phone store to program my daughter's new phone, I kept looking at the price on the protective case.


I think somewhere in the recesses of my mind I was told a story about why things were marked down a penny. (ok, side note: there is no such thing as a U.S. penny. The official name is one cent piece--look it up if you think I'm lyin')

Before the days of the fancy cash registers we have today, they had to keep track of things by hand. By marking things down a penny, at the end of the shift, the owner (or whoever) could compare the number of things sold by how many pennies, er, one cent pieces, were gone from the cashbox.

So, if 11 things were sold, then 11 cents would be handed back to the customers. Right? In theory, it makes sense.

But then there is other concept that the human mind sees $19.99 as not nearly as expensive as $20.00. Which, if you think about it, is kinda weird. After all, $19.99 has a lot of 9's in it. And 9 is the highest single digit out there. Whereas $20.00 has a bunch of zeros, which is the lowest single digit, so you would think our brains would say, "Wow! That has three 9's in it, and that one has three 0's in it. The one with the 9's must be really good!" Actually, maybe pricing something at $19.99 versus $20.00 works on both levels. It lets us think that something is cheaper, yet of worth more value.

I think I blew my own mind there.

Not to be out done are the gasoline prices. That gallon of gas that is $3.59? It's actually $3.59 and 9/10ths. Talk about added value while saving us all those 1/10th of a cent per gallon!

And there is the other side of the coin (pun intended--though even I admit it was lame). How many times have you see the variation on the phrase "It could be worth up to $X,XXX,XXX.XX!" I'm leery about promises that contain variables. And usually the more variables, the more leery I become. In this case, "could" and "up to" are variables.

Obviously the trick here is to have the highest possible number out there for people to see. That's what they'll focus on, not the variable words.

When I got my job right out of college selling cell phones, they said we could earn up to (whatever the dollar amount was) per year. However, as we soon discovered, the only way to hit that number was to basically everything in the store on a daily bases. "Could" to be done? Possibly. And possibly a stranger may walk up to me and give me a million bucks because I'm wearing brown shoes.
In the spirit of this wonderful concept, I'm going to make an offer you can't refuse. This is 100% legit.

Here it goes:

"I could possibly, maybe, perhaps give you up to $50,000.00 in cash if you get 100 people to follow this blog. Certain terms and restrictions apply.*"

*In order to win, all 100 people must sign up between 3:00 am and 3:05 am on Tuesday, May 17th. For each of the hundred people, $10 will be earned if they have an "J" in their name. $20 will be earned for each person who was born in Wyoming. $20 will be earned for each person who is left handed. $450 will be earned for those who have been struck by lightning--twice, while in Italy. Cash award will be dispersed in sums of 25 cents a day for the next 200,000 days. Winner forfeits any cash not awarded to them if either the winner or J. Lloyd Morgan pass away before all sums can be dispersed. Contest void in any state that doesn't have an "x" in the state name."

Good luck to all those entering the contest!


  1. This is hilarious! And I'm quite leery of the "wait--there's more!" kinds of "deals."

  2. Very very funny. This is the first blog post I have read outline to my family EVER!

    Thank you so much.

  3. LMAO to funny, I especially love "$450 will be earned for those who have been struck by lightning--twice, while in Italy."