The following commentary is from an investment professional with Clear Harbor Asset Management who is a participant in TheStreet's expert contributor program.
NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- I've always been annoyed when I'm shopping for a product that is priced one penny below a flat dollar amount, like $19.99. Does the seller honestly believe I'm dumb enough to look at the price tag and think I'm paying any less than 20 bucks? Is it really a good idea to try and dupe your customer into thinking they're paying less than they really are with such a transparent ploy?
Apparently, the answer is yes. Everywhere I go, I see this pricing strategy in action. Fly round-trip to Miami for just $49.99! Buy an iPad 2 for just $499.99! There is even a so-called "dollar store" chain called 99 Cents Only Stores (NDN), which is really sticking it to higher-cost rivals like Dollar General (DG) and Family Dollar (FDO). Back in 2008, they announced raising their top price point for the first time in 26 years from 99 cents to 99.99 cents -- perhaps the most irritating move in the history of retail.
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