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Feb 10, 2009 07:00 PM

supermarket pricing

I went to Albertsons last night and the checkout lines were long so I went to the self checkout line. The computer tells you the price as you put it through the scanner, which is when I realized that everything ended in 9c. $1.99, 1.19, 2.49, 5.39, 2.79 etc etc.

Just don't understand how they can justify EVERYTHING ending in 9. Surely some items can end in a 7 or an 8 or even a 5. Price gouging or what?

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  1. Even the produce per pound? Med vs large eggs? 1/2 vs 1 gallon milk? Wow, weird.

    1 Reply
    1. re: enbell

      yep, milk was 1.99 for the half and half, the meat was 3.99 a lb for ground, the eggs are 2.79 a dozen grain fed free range. Bananas 59c a lb. Too weird.

    2. Always has been the case. Have you ever been to a restaurant? Most menu items end in .99. It's a psychological trick- when something is priced $2.99, you'll think "It's $2", but add a penny, and you add a mental dollar. The fact that you see such gradations indicates the lack of price gouging, imho.

      5 Replies
      1. re: caviar_and_chitlins

        I understand it more so in a restaurant but a supermarket with thousands of items?

        1. re: smartie

          ever notice that in walmart most things end in a 7?

          1. re: karmalaw

            Many moons ago, when I worked in retail (not food-related), there was a pricing system whereby if a price ended in something other than a 9, it indicated a certain sale scheme (i.e., it was marked down for clearance or some other such category). I think that's kind of what Wal-Mart does - uses an ending number other than 9 to indicate sort of a special sale.

            1. re: lisavf

              yes, doesn't kohl's do that?

              as for the "99" business, it is purely psychological, as caviar and chitlins says.

              1. re: alkapal

                Costco does that.

                I believe (and correct me if I am wrong) but any item that ends in a "7" means that it is no longer being restocked.

      2. There are sale items that do not end in a "9".

        For example 2 for $5, or the "10 for $10" specials.

        1. They taught us in Marketing 101 that customers don't usually notice the cents part (until you use self checkout! or maybe at BJs when it says the price out loud). Actually there was something about people psychologically liking round shaped numbers too, so you shouldn't use 1 or 7 or whatever, guess Walmart is using reverse psychology.

          1. Article in Sunday's NY Times on the marketing psychology behind this practice.