|Did you ever wonder why product
sale prices end in a odd number?
|Melville Stone was a self-made man, who
worked his way up from newspaper carrier to publisher of the Chicago Daily News. When
Stone first started his newspaper in 1875, the price was a penny. Circulation rose rapidly
at first, then leveled off. Then sales started lagging. When Stone investigated why fewer
people were buying his paper, he discovered the problem had nothing to do with its
quality. Pennies were in short supply. Stone decided he had to do something.
|First he traveled to the
United States mint in Philadelphia and brought about the transfer of barrels of pennies to
Chicago. The problem then became how to get the pennies into circulation. So Stone
persuaded Chicago merchants to sponsor "odd-price sales," during which they
would sell their merchandise for a penny under the regular price. The odd prices did the
trick. People had pennies again, and Stones paper flourished. And that is why store
items today cost "$8.99," or $12.99," instead of even dollar amounts.
ON THE BOOKSHELF:
The Emperor Who
Ate the Bible: And More Strange Facts and Useless Information
by Scot Morris / Paperback: 164 pages / Doubleday; Reprint edition (October 1991)
A reference book of fun facts you never needed to know.
Didn't I Think of That (This title is out of print.)
by Webb Garrison / Hardcover - 120 pages (1977) / Prentice Hall / ISBN: 0139586032
ON THE WEB:
A Penny For Your Thoughts
In the late 1800's all newspapers sold for a nickel. Melvin
Stone thought there was a market for a penny paper. After appropriate market research and
a trial issue, the new paper was launched.
Why do prices end in .99?
The practice bespeaks a certain low cunning, but it's also pretty
obvious and trying to find out who invented it is like trying to find out who invented the
DID YOU KNOW?:
Sources in BOLD Type
page revised May 27, 2005.