Why Things Cost $19.95 - the psychology of bartering

There are 13 comments on the www.sciam.com story from Apr 11, 2008, titled Why Things Cost $19.95 - the psychology of bartering. In it, www.sciam.com reports that:

How does life's dickering play out in the brain? And is it a trustworthy tool for getting what we want?

Join the discussion below, or Read more at www.sciam.com.

Redman

Oklahoma City, OK

#1 Apr 11, 2008
I really hate to be soooooo crude but this is pure and total horse hockey.......
Bill of Delaware

United States

#2 Apr 11, 2008
Well, it's because they (the retailers' CEO's and the advertising industry) are SO much smarter than the rest of us they're convinced we're too stupid to realize that $19.95 pretty much does away with the $20. bill!

It's insulting; just like the stupid commercials on TV that are supposed to portray you and me and the average family!

Anybody out there agree?
Once-ler

Detroit, MI

#3 Apr 11, 2008
LOL, everything is negotiable.

However, it's also subject to social trends. For example, gas at $3.48/gallon is outrageous, but if it drops to $3.25/gallon, which is still outrageous, people flock to that station and brag about what a deal they got.

I heard it's $4.00/gal in CA; is that true? Then I'm getting a deal at $3.48. It's still outrageous. I remember when it was $0.55/gal.
Donald

United States

#4 Apr 11, 2008
Consumers are stuck, we have to pay or go without.
WERES YOUR DADDAY

Canton, MA

#5 Apr 11, 2008
"first things fisrt" and "never the less" and "by the way" and "of course" not to mention "your the trukin balls kid"
Bill of Delaware

United States

#6 Apr 11, 2008
One more thing...I wonder why, with the current poor economy and major retailers wringing their hands, why is Walmart doing just fine? They have items priced at $1.32 and $5.87 and $27.62 (or numbers like that) and so on.

This blows the $19.95 theory all to hell in my book!

Hey scientists...ya see, we aint so stupid as you want all your tests to show!
Vox

United States

#7 Apr 11, 2008
Redman wrote:
I really hate to be soooooo crude but this is pure and total horse hockey.......
You want to call your shot?
How is it "horse hockey?"
If you read the last paragraph it explains how the mind's mechanism works. The results of this test are consistant, and also interesting.
With the assault on our reasoning powers today, by commercial vendors, and religions, and politicians, it is good to understand how they are trying to manipulate us.
On another level, I doubt many of us are fooled by the '$19.95's.
Bearhugs

United States

#8 Apr 11, 2008
I wonder why so many people feel they are getting a good deal when something is $19.99, and say they got it for $19! I hear this type of thing all the time, and when I say, "No. You got it for $20", they don't want to admit it. Obviously, the sales community knows this, as most companies tend to use the $19.95 or $24.99, etc. There are exceptions, of course, and some merchants do use prices that are not deceptive.

“make mine a double, please”

Since: Sep 07

chicago

#9 Apr 11, 2008
Bill of Delaware wrote:
Well, it's because they (the retailers' CEO's and the advertising industry) are SO much smarter than the rest of us they're convinced we're too stupid to realize that $19.95 pretty much does away with the $20. bill!
It's insulting; just like the stupid commercials on TV that are supposed to portray you and me and the average family!
Anybody out there agree?
bill, HOW many people shelled out $500. plus for an i-phone?
there's a TON of morons out there...and madison avenue is totally aware of that.

“make mine a double, please”

Since: Sep 07

chicago

#10 Apr 11, 2008
Donald wrote:
Consumers are stuck, we have to pay or go without.
go without for a while...the $19.99 will magically turn into $16.99, or,$14.99.

supply and demand is a wonderful thing.

“anon”

Since: Mar 08

Location hidden

#11 Apr 11, 2008
Remember, …it's ONLY, …$19.99
Pete

Allendale, MI

#12 Apr 11, 2008
The true history of the $XX.95 price tag goes back to the founder of J.C. Penny. When things cost an even dollar amount, cashiers were putting the cash in their pocket. By requiring a return of "change" to the customer, it required the cashier to open the cash register and thus, ring up the sale. No psychology, just fraud prevention.

“Women (and cats) of WoW unite!”

Since: Jul 07

San Diego, but now: The Woods

#13 Apr 11, 2008
Dang, the article site is down for maintenance.

$19.95 or $19.99, the brain still perceives it as less than twenty bucks. That extra $0.04 difference makes a company an extra $4.00 for every 100 units sold, though.

Hey, Once-ler, I remember gas being almost that cheap. Don't they still price it at $3.4399 or something like that, too?

Here's a map of US gas prices for you. My side of the country really sucks, apparently.

http://www.gasbuddy.com/gb_gastemperaturemap....

San Diego is at $3.75 on the average - but go the Balboa Shell station and pay $4.09!

http://www.sandiegogasprices.com/

Ours is also hovering around $3.50:

http://www.oregongasprices.com/Eugene/index.a...

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