Tuesday, October 21, 2008

The Subtle Art of Pricing

#191 – Draw Some Paper Money

I was at a yard sale where a bubbly woman had a small table of kitsch and bric-a-brac under a hand printed sign saying "35 cents each." What I next saw sent me into a tailspin. It was a tiny origami shirt fashioned from a dollar bill. I took it to the cashier's table to show the sweet but obviously math-challenged lady her mistake.

“This is a dollar.” I said.
“No,” she countered, “it’s thirty-five cents.”
“But it’s made from a dollar bill!” I sputtered.
“But now it’s a paper aloha shirt.” says she. “Isn’t it too cute?”

We proceeded to have a debate. I had it in my head that “legal tender” must mean I was engaging in a crime if I bought a dollar for thirty-five cents. She was determined that if someone paid less for it, they would not think of it as a dollar, and she didn't want it unfolded and spent. I retorted that the average person, paying a reduced price for a dollar, would be all the more motivated to spend it. Eventually I bought the paper shirt for the asking price and no more, still feeling karma will someday get me for it.

I was at another yard sale where a little girl was hanging a crayoned sign over a box of kittens saying "$2.00 each, or 2 for $5.00." We proceeded to have a debate during which I pointed out the logical marketing intent of two-for-one sales and bulk buying, and how she had the idea all wrong. She graciously acknowledged my advantages in education and life experience, even admitting her own mother had told her much the same thing, but trumped me with her Daddy’s words. He had opined they were her kittens and she should sell them however she pleased!

Not being one to give up easily, I had a brilliant idea. I could buy one kitten for two dollars and take it too my car. Then I would come back and buy a second kitten for, again, two dollars, thereby proving beyond all argument that the fair market value for two kittens could not POSSIBLY be more than four dollars. Hah!! But... then I would be left with two kittens I really didn’t want to live with, despite their obvious appeal, and one husband I really had to live with despite his total lack of appeal (once he found out why I'd bought them, I mean, and got all outraged about it) so there was no more debate.

25 comments:

Shirley said...

Christie,
You had me laughing out loud with your garage sale entries! The origami dollar shirt is a wonderful item for this EDM challenge - I always love seeing what you paint....

Barbara Weeks said...

LOL Love the story and the drawing!

Lynn said...

Not only is your drawing gorgeous, but your post had me laughing out loud. Money certainly raises some powerful emotions, doesn't it?

E-J said...

What a unique subject for the challenge - and an entertaining story too!

BMoon said...

Adorable and really well drawn...

I'm on the way to the bank right now with $215 I painlessly saved by folding up my $5's every time i got one as change.

See it here...
http://timeforinspiration.blogspot.com/

Good economy to do a bit of saving, eh?

June said...

Great post! Great sketch, too. My haiku teacher, Kiyoko, made a tiny origami elephant from a dollar bill once while we all watched, but she gave it to someone else. I still really want one. . .

Carol O. said...

Best Laugh I have had today! Great drawing!!!

Angelica said...

Oh Christie -- you are sooo good!!
I too laughed out loud as I read your piece - and the aloha/money shirt is great!!
Blessings, Angelica

Margaret Ann said...

Absolutely hilarious story...Love the aloha shirt...a really awesome drawing! :)

freebird said...

I think you'd better check the store prices! You will find the larger item often costs more these days. I think they have in mind all the people who assume more costs less. I bet this little girl sold her kittens because most people only want one and they were happy to get one for only $2 when two would cost $5. In a quirky way she made sense.

I think the lady with the dollar bill shirt is wacky but wonderful. I bet she was just sharing some happiness and that's priceless!

Your story is funny and I'll bet you felt confused yet happy at the end of that topsy-turvy day and your drawing is terrific.

Carol said...

Great drawing and a priceless post! I loved your yard sale story so much that I told my family about it and they laughed as hard as I did...

Christine said...

What a darling little shirt, and so beautifully rendered!

BTW, I was very happy to see that you commented on my blog :)

(I just experienced a little technical difficulty with this post — if it appears twice, please delete one of them! Thanks!)

Lisa Reed said...

Very familiar story! I had a larger version of this "shirt" for sale in a garage sale for 5 bucks. It didn't sell and when we started looking at it and began unfolding it---there were NINE dollars! Duh.
You did a great job of drawing yours!
Lisa

Stephen Hall said...

Lovely story and wonderful drawings. I love the kitten bit!I'm now going to sell my paintings on the same premise - it's genius!

pattie said...

Christie...
These posts did my heart good...I laughed away...I have had these similar debates lately!! Got to love logic!! Thanks for all your wonderful words...
Artfully Yours,
Pattie

Alison said...

Lovely drawing and great post - especially about the husband.

Joanne Gover Yoshida said...

Such a fun post. Children's logic is the best, and logic that is in the spirit of children! I love the story too.

Thank you for your visit and comment. Good luck with your 'finds' and I suppose its childlike logic too, but...Enjoy them for what they are.

I look forward to visit again. Best wishes,

Joanne Gover Yoshida said...

PS I just found and posted a 10 yen coin, and at the end of the poem I wrote about it, I referenced your post. I hope you don't mind, the theme just connected to the questions you raised, and I followed the thread.

Hope you are having a good weekend and finding some fun and creative adventures.

Sharon said...

This is clever! I love it.

fengshuisuccess said...

Oh this story is just too funny. It gave me a good laugh to start the day.

BTW thanks for visiting my blog. I have added you to my blogroll.
Diane

Robyn said...

I love this story!A good laugh to start my day. Your drawing of the origami shirt is wonderful.

Michael C. said...

LOL... What a great story.. and deal. a buck for 35 cents... You single handedly deflated the value of a buck by almost 2/3rds. LoL..
and your painting looks great.

andrea joseph's sketchblog said...

tis is fab!

pedalpower said...

Oh my...I'm laughing out loud, and I'm the only one awake in the house! I love your drawings and your stories.

pedalpower said...

P.S. I wish I had a source for a whole bunch of dollar bills I could acquire for a mere .35 each! LOL