Standing in the grocery store today I was looking at avocados. I have a plan to make my internet aggregate guacamole today and for that I need two avocados. The sign on the box read "Avocados, 3 for $5". Now I have a problem because no other price is listed on the box anywhere. Does this mean that the usual price of $1.99 per avocado is in force if I only buy two avocados or can I get them for $1.67 each? Unfortunately I know that either case could be true. Sometimes when they put signs like this up it actually means that you get a deal for buying multiples and sometimes it is just a transparent attempt to get customers to buy more even though the price per unit is the same regardless.
I hate this crap. Ending every price in .99 is irritating as hell but at least when I look at the listing I can determine exactly what the cost of a given item is. When there is a sign that says 3 for $5 though I never know what exactly I will be paying if I buy two and those kinds of shenanigans enrage me. I should be able to determine what price I will be paying for an item by reading the damn price listing. That is why you put prices on the items, to tell people what the item costs. If people reading it don't know what the items cost you have FAILED at listing prices.
I stood in front of the box of avocados trying to decide if I should make a scene. I wasn't rushed for time so I was sorely tempted to call over somebody at random and then go up the chain to the manager to berate them for using these sorts of tactics. After all, if everybody just walks on by refusing to make a scene then they will continue in their evil ways. The only way I can try to influence this situation is to make add a ton of annoyance and frustration to using these sorts of tactics and hopefully that will tip the scale towards transparent pricing schemes.
Eventually I remembered that when I buy avocados Wendy often ends up fussing at me because I use them all for guacamole and she gets the dubious pleasure of watching her favourite food get carted away to be eaten elsewhere. To solve this problem I need to purchase another avocado for her to eat, meaning that I need precisely 3 avocados. While I don't mind the prospect of an argument with little chance of gain I probably don't want to lead off with
"Well, I want three avocados for $5. But what if I only wanted two avocados? What then, punk?"
It just lacks something in the panache department. So I suppose the manager of the local Sobey's can take a deep sigh of relief as they will not need to face down a grumpy me lecturing them about the ethics of pricing. Not today, anyway.