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99 cents makes common cents

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By John Pawlak

Back in the late 1800s, some marketing genius discovered that glass wasn’t the only transparent thing made by man. He noticed that the number nine was also transparent, in fact virtually invisible, and hence was born the trailing invisible nines. I’m talking about the ubiquitous nines thrown at us in one of the most nefarious pricing strategies ever conceived.

A gallon of milk costs $2.99.  A roasted chicken costs $5.99. A pound of Vermont apple smoked bacon runs $12.99.  Ah ha, you didn’t even see those nines, did you?

The “save a penny spend a dollar” mentality is not limited to jars of peanut butter or video rentals. Dell’s XPS computer starts at $1,599. You can upgrade to the i7-980X processor for an additional $999. Then you can add a Mini 1010 netbook for the bargain price of $199.

Interested in a 46” HD LCD TV? It’s only $2,999.99. A NordicTrack AudioStrider - $999.99. That 80GB iPod your kid wants? Hey, it’s below $350! Yes ... $349.99.


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