¿Alguna vez os habeis preguntado por qué tantos precios acaban en .99 o .95? El motivo suele ser el obvio: así parece que el precio es menor de lo que es en realidad.
Pero hoy he descubierto los orígenes de esta costumbre en el artículo de la Wikipedia Psychological pricing:
Exactly how psychological pricing came into common use is not clear. One source speculates that it originated in a newspaper pricing competition. Melville E. Stone founded the Chicago Daily News in 1875, intending to price it at one cent to compete with the nickel papers of the day. The story claims that pennies were not common currency at the time, and so Stone colluded with advertisers to set whole dollar prices a cent lower — thus guaranteeing that customers would receive ample pennies in change.
It seems unlikely, however, that this is the full story, if it is indeed at all relevant or accurate. The practice is likely to have arisen in the late 19th century as an attempt by merchants to appear to be significantly underselling the competition while in fact lowering prices by only a small margin. It caught on slowly; the inconvenience placed on the vendor (printing fractional prices), the cashier (producing awkward change), and customer (stowing the change) certainly impeded adoption. Even today, a small number of stores are known for pricing common items so as to minimize hassle.