A combination of the runaway success of the DVD format, steadily growing business, a flexible cash-or-trade policy, and a town full of college students making poor economic decisions all add up to one thing: pdb has a lot of frikkin' used DVD movies to sell. So many, in fact, that multiple shelves in the DVD section are arranged with the titles edge on.
The answer is obvious! A sale! But not just any old lame 'percent off' sale. Nay, the big gun is called for:
Buy two, get one free!!
The sale is successful! So much so, that customers complain when it is ended, and the amount of DVDs traded in actually increases 20%! Truly, it is a Christmas miracle! The sale is continued, forever!
Background: Each used DVD has its own unique ID number within each title's SKU. The POS software then tracks how much was given for each used game, how long it sat on the shelf, and how much it finally sold for. So to avoid throwing his numbers out of whack (and, indeed, to maintain full whackness) pdb does not actually sell one movie for $0.00. Instead, the price of two most expensive is added up, and the result divided by three. Simple, no?
Well, not for some people.
One pleasant fall evening not too long ago, a young lady of the trailer park tradition enters the store, and approaches the counter.
"Where's the DVDs that are buy two get one free?"
"They're on the very first floor rack, on the right, both sides." She eagerly walks over to the wall, where all the rental movies are. "No, those are for rent, the ones that are for sale are on the floor to your left."
"I can't buy none of these? Why not?"
"Because if I sell them, I won't have any to rent." She appears unsatisified with the answer, but manages to find the right shelves. Time passes, and three movies are brought to the front counter.
*clicky* *clicky* "Ok, that'll set you back $17.10."
"Seventeen dollars! Why so much?"
"You paid for these two," pdb indicates the two movies marked at $7.99, "and you get this one," a $4.99 bargain bin DVD, "free."
"I don't think that's fair. I think I should get one of the seven dollar ones free."
"Well, that's not the way it works. But feel free to exchange that $4.99 movie with one that costs more, if there was one that you were interested in. It would be the same price."
This is considered, and the DVD rack is revisited. The cheapo movie is, indeed, traded for a newer movie.
*clicky* *clicky* "Ok, that's $19.24."
"What? Why'd the price go up? I thought you said it would be the same price!"
"Instead of paying for 2 $7.99 movies, you are now paying for a $7.99 movie and a $9.99 movie, and getting a $7.99 movie for free. A superior deal, I might add."
"I don't think that's right!"
"Miss, the sign does indicate that the free movie would be 'of equal or lesser value'. That's how that works."
"I hate that kind of bait and switch, fine print bullshit! That's a ripoff!"
"Well, obviously I disagree, but that's how it works here. Would you like the movies or not?"
"Fine, ring it up!" A $20 is slapped on the counter. Change is made, discs are retrieved, and a bag is provided. She marches to the door.
pdb sighs and takes a long pull on a can of Arizona iced tea he has under the counter, wishing he could transmute it into bourbon. One brown liquid to another brown liquid, how hard could it be?
Then without warning, she storms back into the store!
"I knew you were a ripoff! You put my receipt into the bag so I wouldn't see it until I got home, but I saw it first!"
The receipt is slapped on the counter.
"Look at that! Look! You charged me for each movie! How's that getting one for free?"
"Oh, sure. See, the computer freaks out if you sell something for a zero price, so what we do is add up the two movies that you're paying for, and divide it by three."
"So I didn't get one for free, then!"
"Well, yes you did. The final price you paid was, in fact, $7.99 less than what it would have been if we had charged you full price for all three."
"Look, watch." pdb demonstrates on the calculator. "$7.99 plus $9.99 times 1.07 for tax is $19.24. $5.99 plus $5.99 plus $5.99 times 1.07 for tax is $19.24. It's exactly the same thing."
"So why didn't you do it the first way?"
"I already told you. The computer expects a non-zero price for every item sold, or it starts throwing flags up."
"You might think I'm stupid, but I'm not! Don't act like you're smarter than everyone else!"
"I assure you, I don't think I'm smarter than everyone else. But do you see what I'm saying about the prices?"
*facial crinkling* "Well, yeah, I guess."
"Good. So, we cool? You don't feel cheated?"
"Well, no, I guess not."
"Great. Don't forget we take used DVDs in on trade, if you've got some that you don't watch anymore."
I imagine that explaining why I can only give $4 in store credit on a movie she paid $20 for will be another amusing tale.