when does it end?

August 3rd, 2004

It must have been about 15 years ago when the madness struck in Norway. 10kr became 9.95, 100 became 99, 1000 became 999. I would like to know which moron came up with this ingenious sales gimmick. It clearly has stuck, because after so many years it's still around. But is there a documented case of even one customer who fell for it? I find it hard to believe that any sane person, with or without the basic grasp of arithmetic (but with a working knowledge of how currency works however, in as much as the two can be separated), would fall for this trick.

It's obviously not a discount, because that would involve lowering the price by a distinguishable amount. Instead, we pay 9.95 instead of 10, which is a bipolar aggravation. Firstly, if you don't have the change, the cashier will still customarily ask you for it. Secondly, not having the change means you are getting it with every purchase. And it doesn't take a financial analyst to realize that the change we are walking around with is worthless. It's not enough to pay for anything and if you want to actually spend it, you have to keep saving up for some period of time before you have enough. Unless you keep it around for the sake of that cashier, if you give them change, they will reward you with a bill. But then you do need change in the first place to complete that transaction and walk away in satisfaction. So there is no getting away from it.

But the question remains, what is the purpose of this annoyance? And if there actually is a purpose for it, perhaps it's now, 15 years later, safe to say that it's outlived its function? Wouldn't we all be happier going back to paying 10? I would like to see a store open with that motto, we don't give you change. Everything costs a full amount, 10, 20, 50. No more change. I think it would be a tremendous success.

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