The Straight Dope

Go Back   Straight Dope Message Board > Main > In My Humble Opinion (IMHO)

Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
  #1  
Old 07-13-2009, 01:39 PM
guizot guizot is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: An East Hollywood dingbat
Posts: 6,340
The truth about 99 Only Stores

When you go to a 99 Only Store to buy, let's say, a Colgate toothbrush that at Rite Aid would set you back four dollars; or a Tupperware that runs $3.50 at Walmart; or a rubber spatula that costs $2.75 in Ralphs...Quite naturally you expect to be charged 99 for the thing.

But look more closely at the receipt when you leave the store. That 30-page Hanna Montana notebook with lined pages you bought actually costs 99 and 99/100. Yes--you're paying over nine-tenths of a cent more than you've been led to believe, and this is before taxes--despite the name of the store, and the tag on the shelf where you found it. And this goes for every item you've bought.

This might seem like a petty sort of fraud that isn't worth your while to protest. But think of the millions of SOS Pads, plastic flowers, car air-fresheners, simulated 9mm semi-automatic squirt guns, bottles of Suave shampoo (for dry, normal and oily hair), ice cube trays, vinyl shower curtains, and pairs of foam flip-flops that are sold each day by this huge commercial enterprise. Those 99/100s of a cent for each one accrue and accrue, and soon we're talking real money, unwittingly paid by you, the consumer.

Shouldn't we take some kind of action on this? Why shouldn't we stand firm in the checkout lane and demand that the total charge for that can of Mrs. Wainwright's pork and beans, or that package of Zipee Lighters (three to a pack), or that can of Arid XXtra Dry (now 30% more) be recalculated at the advertised price? After all, who's to say they won't raise it even more, to 999/1000 of a cent extra, extending the parabolic curve of their pricing ever closer to the forbidden dollar?
Reply With Quote
Advertisements  
  #2  
Old 07-13-2009, 01:50 PM
Whack-a-Mole Whack-a-Mole is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Apr 2000
Not sure this is a Great Debate.

I also find it hard to get in a fuss over it since the difference to me at checkout is likely only a bare handful of pennies.

That said I would think truth in advertising would demand they are lying. Simple rounding-rules should be in place. So, if it was $0.9949 then fine...advertise $0.99 as that rounds down to that. $0.995 and over should be advertised as $1.00.

I think a simple regulation from the FTC or whoever watches this should just mandate that. Use accepted rules of rounding when advertising your price.
Reply With Quote
  #3  
Old 07-13-2009, 01:55 PM
Merijeek Merijeek is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Mar 2002
(looks around)

All I've ever seen are dollar stores. Not $.99 stores.

For once I'm not the victim. Yay me!

-Joe
Reply With Quote
  #4  
Old 07-13-2009, 01:58 PM
Patty O'Furniture Patty O'Furniture is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: May 1999
I've never heard of 99 stores. I've seen Dollar Stores, Dollar Mart, Dollar Tree, Family Dollar, Everything's a $1 (which I call "Everything's a one dollar"), Dollar General and Dilford's Daily Discount Dollar-n-Dash Depot.
Reply With Quote
  #5  
Old 07-13-2009, 02:09 PM
Lynn Bodoni Lynn Bodoni is offline
Creature of the Night
 
Join Date: Mar 1999
Location: Fort Worth, Texas
Posts: 20,803
Dollar General and Family Dollar don't price all their merchandise at a dollar. Instead, they will generally price goods at dollar intervals, for instance, instead of pricing something at $1.99, they'll price it at $2.00. These stores also have some pretty cheap merchandise, both price-wise and quality-wise.

As far as I know, you can't buy Tupperware at a store. Perhaps you're thinking of Rubbermaid or some other brand. Tupperware is sold at home parties only, last I heard.
Reply With Quote
  #6  
Old 07-13-2009, 02:11 PM
Jackknifed Juggernaut Jackknifed Juggernaut is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Oct 2000
This sounds like basis for one of those frivolous class action lawsuits, in which consumers get back about a nickel each for the 10 products that they purchased. The lawyers, of course, take a cut of the total and end up with $millions.
Reply With Quote
  #7  
Old 07-13-2009, 02:13 PM
Maeglin Maeglin is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jul 2000
Wasn't this the plot of one of the Superman movies?
Reply With Quote
  #8  
Old 07-13-2009, 02:14 PM
Patty O'Furniture Patty O'Furniture is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: May 1999
It was the plot of all of them. The actual crime took place at area box offices.
Reply With Quote
  #9  
Old 07-13-2009, 02:18 PM
Jackknifed Juggernaut Jackknifed Juggernaut is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Oct 2000
By the way, there's a "dollar" store in Elizabeth, NJ that proudly advertises "Everything 99 cents or higher". Hilarious.

I just found it on Google Maps:

http://maps.google.co.uk/maps?utm_ca...mea-gb-gns-svn
Reply With Quote
  #10  
Old 07-13-2009, 02:19 PM
Jackknifed Juggernaut Jackknifed Juggernaut is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Oct 2000
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jackknifed Juggernaut View Post
By the way, there's a "dollar" store in Elizabeth, NJ that proudly advertises "Everything 99 cents or higher". Hilarious.

I just found it on Google Maps:

http://maps.google.co.uk/maps?utm_ca...mea-gb-gns-svn
Let's try this one:

http://maps.google.co.uk/maps?f=q&so...2,97.4,,1,0.52

Last edited by Jackknifed Juggernaut; 07-13-2009 at 02:19 PM..
Reply With Quote
  #11  
Old 07-13-2009, 02:20 PM
not_alice not_alice is offline
BANNED
 
Join Date: Sep 2008
Posts: 2,964
99 cent store is the finest emporium in this burg!

This was a recent change, a few months ago, the first ever in over 30 years according to corporate flacks. Before that it was 99 cents for everything indeed.

and as for rounding, it is worth noting that the register receipts actually go out to 1/10,000 th of a dollar. That novelty alone makes it almost worth it!

dollar tree locally does not seem to have seized on the competitive marketing opportunity to compare our crap and their crap side by side
Reply With Quote
  #12  
Old 07-13-2009, 02:23 PM
Voyager Voyager is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2002
Location: Deep Space
Posts: 34,896
When I was a kid the five and ten cent stores charged more than ten cents for a lot of things. The horror.

What is the forum for misplaced outrage, btw?
Reply With Quote
  #13  
Old 07-13-2009, 03:20 PM
SirRay SirRay is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Mar 2000
I'm confused - I went to a 99c store this past Sunday (there are many on Long Island), and purchased 2 items (a case of 1000 pins, and some wood dowels), and both were 99cents on the receipt (which I looked at). No 99.9 or any sort of gas-price-style trickery
I failed to see any attempt at fraud. Well, there might not be exactly 1000 pins in the case, I didn't count them...

Last edited by SirRay; 07-13-2009 at 03:21 PM..
Reply With Quote
  #14  
Old 07-13-2009, 03:31 PM
guizot guizot is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: An East Hollywood dingbat
Posts: 6,340
Quote:
Originally Posted by Whack-a-Mole View Post
Not sure this is a Great Debate.

I also find it hard to get in a fuss over it since the difference to me at checkout is likely only a bare handful of pennies.
Yet this is a question of principle. When we buy our matching sets of refrigerator magnets, our Sponge Bob-shaped pencil erasers, our three-pack of Palmolive soap bars, our ten-packs of day-glo clothes hangers, our Teletubies soda straws, our Las Vegas-themed ashtrays, our Arizona Diamondbacks pennant flags, our hanging doorway beads in multiple colors, we expect a higher degree of integrity. As consumers we hold the potential power to exact a higher standard from our vendors. If only we stood together, we could bring back the voice of the buyer.
Reply With Quote
  #15  
Old 07-13-2009, 03:31 PM
Enderw24 Enderw24 is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2000
Location: KC. MO -094 35.3 39 4.9
Posts: 10,241
In this case, I'm willing to let the rounding slide and give them the extra cent. If not, the Give a Penny/Take a Penny tray would be overflowing, causing undo administrative strife and an unnecessary temptation upon the minimum wage worker who mans the counter and could use the extra 5 cents an hour.

Last edited by Enderw24; 07-13-2009 at 03:32 PM..
Reply With Quote
  #16  
Old 07-13-2009, 03:35 PM
tdn tdn is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Feb 2000
Years ago I needed some rubber gloves for a home project. I went to the 99 and found a pair. They were 99.

Each.
Reply With Quote
  #17  
Old 07-13-2009, 03:35 PM
Lanzy Lanzy is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2004
Location: Orlando
Posts: 3,688
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lynn Bodoni View Post
Dollar General and Family Dollar don't price all their merchandise at a dollar. Instead, they will generally price goods at dollar intervals, for instance, instead of pricing something at $1.99, they'll price it at $2.00. These stores also have some pretty cheap merchandise, both price-wise and quality-wise.

As far as I know, you can't buy Tupperware at a store. Perhaps you're thinking of Rubbermaid or some other brand. Tupperware is sold at home parties only, last I heard.
I saw a tupperware booth at the Springfield mall in VA.
Reply With Quote
  #18  
Old 07-13-2009, 03:38 PM
Smeghead Smeghead is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Apr 2000
Ah, good. I had a spare brain cell way back in the back that wasn't busy worrying about something for the last few seconds. Now it's got something to concern itself with.
Reply With Quote
  #19  
Old 07-13-2009, 03:45 PM
pbbth pbbth is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
There is a store here in NYC called 99 Cents or Less or More. That is truth in advertising, right there.
Reply With Quote
  #20  
Old 07-13-2009, 03:53 PM
Gatopescado Gatopescado is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Aug 2001
Quote:
Originally Posted by pbbth View Post
There is a store here in NYC called 99 Cents or Less or More. That is truth in advertising, right there.
We got places like that here, too. They are called "every freakin' store"!

You New Yorkers are a strange lot.
Reply With Quote
  #21  
Old 07-13-2009, 04:08 PM
LunarPlexus LunarPlexus is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Nov 2006
Quote:
Originally Posted by tdn View Post
Years ago I needed some rubber gloves for a home project. I went to the 99 and found a pair. They were 99.

Each.
Had you the ingenuity of, say, a Michael Jackson, you could have made do with one, saved the better part of a dollar, and retired rich. Or dead, as the case may be.
Reply With Quote
  #22  
Old 07-13-2009, 05:23 PM
Rigamarole Rigamarole is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Dec 2005
Quote:
Originally Posted by guizot View Post
After all, who's to say they won't raise it even more, to 999/1000 of a cent extra, extending the parabolic curve of their pricing ever closer to the forbidden dollar?
They were thinking of raising prices on some items to over $1 around this time last year. The 99/100th of a cent raise was the solution they came up with in September '08 so they could stick with their name and slogan. It's slightly weaselly but still basically retains the spirit of the brand name. It's amazing they've even been able to keep their business model for so long. I can't imagine it lasting much longer before they have to become the $1.50 store.

To those saying they haven't heard of a 99-cent store, but they have heard of dollar stores: we are talking about a specific chain. It's called "99 Cents Only" and is very common in California and the southwest (specifically, California, Nevada, Arizona, and Texas are where they have locations).
Reply With Quote
  #23  
Old 07-13-2009, 05:26 PM
ChockFullOfHeadyGoodness ChockFullOfHeadyGoodness is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2001
Location: Hollywood Riveria, CA
Posts: 1,678
Quote:
Originally Posted by guizot View Post
But look more closely at the receipt when you leave the store.
Or you could just read the big-ass sign that's been on the door since last September, when they announced the price hike.
Quote:
Originally Posted by guizot View Post
Shouldn't we take some kind of action on this? Why shouldn't we stand firm in the checkout lane and demand that the total charge <snip> be recalculated at the advertised price?
The 99.99 is the advertised price, as you can see if you take a look at a flyer
And they do round down if you buy enough. Last month, they got ahold of the discontinued Ben and Jerry's flavor Vermonty Python. Those little chocolate cows are soooo goood. It's better than frozen crack to me, and I bought 60 pints. (When it's gone, it's gone). Only cost me $59.99. And I've only got 23 pints left. And there's none left in any of the stores. What do I do next month? I need my Vermonty Python, dammit!!!
Reply With Quote
  #24  
Old 07-13-2009, 05:30 PM
Rayne Man Rayne Man is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jan 2001
And we have many 99p and 1 stores in the UK. In mainland Europe I have seen quite a few €1 stores, including Hungary where they don't even use the Euro.
Reply With Quote
  #25  
Old 07-13-2009, 05:46 PM
conway conway is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jul 2000
This guy shows you how to cook with stuff from 99 Only stores...with mixed results.
Reply With Quote
  #26  
Old 07-13-2009, 07:09 PM
Junior Spaceman Junior Spaceman is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jun 2000
Quote:
Originally Posted by pbbth View Post
There is a store here in NYC called 99 Cents or Less or More. That is truth in advertising, right there.
There's a CD store here which has 'bargain bins', that often have the sign on top saying "From UNDER $5!". That sure covers a lot of ground
Reply With Quote
  #27  
Old 07-13-2009, 07:22 PM
Voyager Voyager is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2002
Location: Deep Space
Posts: 34,896
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lanzy View Post
I saw a tupperware booth at the Springfield mall in VA.
We just bought a container at our County Fair. Tupperware itself doesn't have stores, but it is okay for reps to set up booths. Discovery Toys, which worked on a similar model, were sometimes sold at booths like this also.
Reply With Quote
  #28  
Old 07-13-2009, 08:20 PM
crowmanyclouds crowmanyclouds is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Sep 2005
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jackknifed Juggernaut View Post
... there's a "dollar" store in Elizabeth, NJ ...
[HIJACK] Ya know ... I come here to escape my reality, not be reminded of it!

The "99 DEPOT" directly across from the "DUNKIN' DONUTS" from which I have literally bought thousands of cups of coffee, across the street and two blocks away from the "SUBWAY" where I spent way, way, way, too many nights helping close the store and above which I lived for 2+ years.

There is no escape from the past. [/HIJACK]

CMC fnord!
Reply With Quote
  #29  
Old 07-13-2009, 11:01 PM
Lucky 13 Lucky 13 is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Aug 2006
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rayne Man View Post
And we have many 99p and 1 stores in the UK. In mainland Europe I have seen quite a few 1 stores, including Hungary where they don't even use the Euro.
I heard they have 100-yen stores in Japan.
Reply With Quote
  #30  
Old 07-14-2009, 12:33 AM
Markxxx Markxxx is offline
BANNED
 
Join Date: Apr 1999
Location: Chicago,IL
Posts: 14,962
Quote:
Originally Posted by Junior Spaceman View Post
There's a CD store here which has 'bargain bins', that often have the sign on top saying "From UNDER $5!". That sure covers a lot of ground
LOL That is too funny. I love the un-clarity of it. It reminds me of the Simpsons when Bart reads a book called Don't Do What Danny Dont Does.
Reply With Quote
  #31  
Old 07-14-2009, 12:59 AM
Blackberry Blackberry is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Feb 2009
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lynn Bodoni View Post
As far as I know, you can't buy Tupperware at a store. Perhaps you're thinking of Rubbermaid or some other brand. Tupperware is sold at home parties only, last I heard.
I don't think that's true anymore. I think they sell it at Target now.
Reply With Quote
  #32  
Old 07-14-2009, 01:44 AM
Alex_Dubinsky Alex_Dubinsky is offline
BANNED
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Location: New York City
Posts: 2,859
Quote:
Originally Posted by ChockFullOfHeadyGoodness View Post
And I've only got 23 pints left. And there's none left in any of the stores. What do I do next month? I need my Vermonty Python, dammit!!!
You'll go through 23 pints in a month?
Reply With Quote
  #33  
Old 07-14-2009, 09:05 AM
Jackknifed Juggernaut Jackknifed Juggernaut is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Oct 2000
Quote:
Originally Posted by crowmanyclouds View Post
[HIJACK] Ya know ... I come here to escape my reality, not be reminded of it!

The "99 DEPOT" directly across from the "DUNKIN' DONUTS" from which I have literally bought thousands of cups of coffee, across the street and two blocks away from the "SUBWAY" where I spent way, way, way, too many nights helping close the store and above which I lived for 2+ years.

There is no escape from the past. [/HIJACK]

CMC fnord!
Funny, I go by there all the time. The White Castle a block over is my regular after-drinking spot. I grew up on the bagels from Snoopy's. I don't usually go into the DD, but I did a couple of months ago. This hot Polish girl behind the counter was wearing a "I Hate Starbucks" shirt, which I offered to buy from her. She told me she would just give it to me once the promotion was over. I still have to go back there and ask her for it. Apologies to everyone for the hijack.
Reply With Quote
  #34  
Old 07-14-2009, 09:21 AM
tdn tdn is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Feb 2000
Quote:
Originally Posted by Markxxx View Post
LOL That is too funny. I love the un-clarity of it. It reminds me of the Simpsons when Bart reads a book called Don't Do What Danny Dont Does.
Quote:
The Simpsons featured a 99 Cent store, followed by a 66 Cent and 33 Cent Store in episode S10E23 (Thirty Minutes Over Tokyo). Also, in Simpsons Tall Tales, after an 1850s' Bart and Nelson buy tobacco, whiskey and extra strength opium from an 1850s' Apu they are astonished at the "outrageous" price of 2 cents. Apu informs them that if they don't like his prices they can go the 99 cent store across the street, which, due to the effect of pre-inflation currency, is selling luxury goods like grand pianos and crystal chandeliers.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Variety_store
Reply With Quote
  #35  
Old 07-14-2009, 10:17 AM
Anaamika Anaamika is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Nov 2001
If it doesnt' say "Everything for a dollar" it's not. We have a 99 cent City here that charges everything to the .99 - i.e., $4.99, or whatever. Gotta be careful.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Patty O'Furniture View Post
It was the plot of all of them. The actual crime took place at area box offices.

I didn't want to let this gem go by unremarked on. So - very nice!
Reply With Quote
  #36  
Old 07-14-2009, 10:27 AM
KneadToKnow KneadToKnow is offline
Voodoo Adult (Slight Return)
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2000
Location: Charlotte, NC, USA
Posts: 24,087
Quote:
Originally Posted by Patty O'Furniture View Post
Everything's a $1 (which I call "Everything's a one dollar")
You are not alone.
Reply With Quote
  #37  
Old 07-14-2009, 11:37 AM
guizot guizot is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: An East Hollywood dingbat
Posts: 6,340
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jackknifed Juggernaut View Post
This hot Polish girl behind the counter was wearing a "I Hate Starbucks" shirt, which I offered to buy from her. She told me she would just give it to me once the promotion was over.
You didn't actually think it'd be that easy, did you?
Reply With Quote
  #38  
Old 07-14-2009, 03:10 PM
Harmonious Discord Harmonious Discord is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Apr 1999
There is no law linking the price of merchandise to the name of the store. That darn Penny's store is such a fraud don't you know.
Reply With Quote
  #39  
Old 07-14-2009, 10:44 PM
Pyper Pyper is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Apr 2007
I thought the truth about 99 cent stores was that they charge you 99 cents for a can of beans you could buy at Ralph's for 49 cents.
Reply With Quote
  #40  
Old 07-14-2009, 10:45 PM
Mahaloth Mahaloth is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2000
Location: 地球
Posts: 22,107
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lucky 13 View Post
I heard they have 100-yen stores in Japan.
I saw a store in China called "A Yuan or Two".

That was, at the time, 12 cents or 24 cents.

I bought a basket for kids to place their homework assignments. It broke the next day.

I wish, wish, wish, I had taken a photo of the store sign.

Oh, and stop whining about the extra penny! Read up on Uganda or Darfur and then complain!

Last edited by Mahaloth; 07-14-2009 at 10:46 PM..
Reply With Quote
  #41  
Old 07-15-2009, 10:50 AM
guizot guizot is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: An East Hollywood dingbat
Posts: 6,340
Quote:
Originally Posted by Pyper View Post
I thought the truth about 99 cent stores was that they charge you 99 cents for a can of beans you could buy at Ralph's for 49 cents.
The comparison is inapt. Are you willing to pay for Ralph's brand beans when you can chose from several solid walls of Ranch Riders (both regular and bar-b-que flavors), stacked five feet high, or Quality Select (two to a package)? And when will Ralph's ever stock matching Dukes of Hazard finger and toe nail clippers; pink clip-on ties (in size small and extra large only); Surf 'n' Sun bubblegum flavored lipgloss; 12-Piece String of Glowing Plastic Chilis; or a digital egg timer which plays a popular tune when your egg is ready (battery not included)?
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mahaloth View Post
Oh, and stop whining about the extra penny! Read up on Uganda or Darfur and then complain!
Marguerita Nakoli begged Idi Amin to allow dollar stores the option of reducing their wares to 99, so that the people could more easily afford Play Time mini badminton rackets (for indoor fun), Martha Stewart reversible Expert Chef aprons, combination soap dish/toothbrush holders with suction cups for convenient placement, or three-season natural wood spice racks with potpourri included? Amin refused her request.

Need I go on? The time to press our cause is now.

Last edited by guizot; 07-15-2009 at 10:53 AM..
Reply With Quote
Reply



Bookmarks

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is Off
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


All times are GMT -5. The time now is 04:33 AM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.

Send questions for Cecil Adams to: cecil@chicagoreader.com

Send comments about this website to: webmaster@straightdope.com

Terms of Use / Privacy Policy

Advertise on the Straight Dope!
(Your direct line to thousands of the smartest, hippest people on the planet, plus a few total dipsticks.)

Publishers - interested in subscribing to the Straight Dope?
Write to: sdsubscriptions@chicagoreader.com.

Copyright 2013 Sun-Times Media, LLC.