The Reason So Many Prices End in .99

yacobchuk/iStock via Getty Images
yacobchuk/iStock via Getty Images

With chip readers, auto-reload apps, and one-click online purchasing, it’s only too easy to buy something without fully registering how much it costs. That said, even if you’re not counting out nickels and dimes for the cashier these days, you’ve probably still noticed how often prices end in .99.

Maybe you assumed it had something to do with tax laws, or else it was a leftover practice from decades ago, when things cost less and pennies mattered more. In fact, it’s actually a clever psychological tool that tricks your brain into thinking the price of an item is lower.

“Because we read from left to right, we pay less attention to the end of the number versus the beginning,” consumer analyst Julie Ramhold told Reader’s Digest. So, for example, your mind will interpret $9.99 as $9, though it’s obviously much closer to $10.

Just one dollar’s difference might not seem like enough to drastically affect your decision on whether to buy something, but it can push an item into a lower price range—and that’s enough to make your mind think it costs significantly less. To your subconscious brain, a one-digit price like $9 seems a lot cheaper than a two-digit price like $10.

Though ending prices in 9 might be the norm, there is a fair amount of variation when it comes to retailers’ pricing tactics. Live Science reports that because we often perceive a price ending in 9 as a cheap deal, some stores—like J.Crew and Ralph Lauren—save the nines for their sale items, and use numbers ending in 0 for their full-priced items, giving the impression that those items are high-quality. Thrift stores, on the other hand, often use whole numbers for all their products.

[h/t Reader’s Digest]

Wayfair’s Fourth of July Clearance Sale Takes Up to 60 Percent Off Grills and Outdoor Furniture


This Fourth of July, Wayfair is making sure you can turn your backyard into an oasis while keeping your bank account intact with a clearance sale that features savings of up to 60 percent on essentials like chairs, hammocks, games, and grills. Take a look at some of the highlights below.

Outdoor Furniture

Brisbane bench from Wayfair

- Jericho 9-Foot Market Umbrella $92 (Save 15 percent)
- Woodstock Patio Chairs (Set of Two) $310 (Save 54 percent)
- Brisbane Wooden Storage Bench $243 (Save 62 percent)
- Kordell Nine-Piece Rattan Sectional Seating Group with Cushions $1800 (Save 27 percent)
- Nelsonville 12-Piece Multiple Chairs Seating Group $1860 (Save 56 percent)
- Collingswood Three-Piece Seating Group with Cushions $410 (Save 33 percent)

Grills and Accessories

Dyna-Glo electric smoker.

- Spirit® II E-310 Gas Grill $479 (Save 17 percent)
- Portable Three-Burner Propane Gas Grill $104 (Save 20 percent)
- Digital Bluetooth Electric Smoker $224 (Save 25 percent)
- Cuisinart Grilling Tool Set $38 (Save 5 percent)

Outdoor games

American flag cornhole game.

- American Flag Cornhole Board $57 (Save 19 percent)
- Giant Four in a Row Game $30 (Save 6 percent)
- Giant Jenga Game $119 (Save 30 percent)

This article contains affiliate links to products selected by our editors. Mental Floss may receive a commission for purchases made through these links.

The Reason Apple Doesn’t Include a Calculator With the iPad

The Apple iPad.
The Apple iPad.

Portable computing got a major upgrade in 2010 when Apple launched its iPad, a handheld touchscreen display that could run apps, play video, and destroy productivity with games like Fruit Ninja. For all its versatility, however, no version of the iPad—including the Pro, Mini, or Air—has ever shipped with what has become a standard feature in operating systems: a calculator.

While there’s been no firm explanation from Apple as to why this is, back in 2016 a Reddit post from someone claiming to be an ex-employee of the company offered a possible reason. According to user Tangoshukudai, early iPad prototypes ported over Apple’s conventional iOS calculator, which was stretched to fit the iPad’s screen. As development continued, no one paid much attention to the distorted image of the calculator until it was too late. When the late Apple CEO Steve Jobs finally noticed it, he demanded it be removed.

Ever since, according to Tangoshukudai, no one at Apple has bothered with programming a calculator to fit the iPad’s dimensions. The most recent operating system, iPadOS 14, has not announced a native calculator.

Does that mean iPad users can never crunch numbers? Not exactly. Users can download a third-party app, or they can access a stealth calculator that first appeared with Apple’s iPadOS 9. Swipe down on the home screen to get to the Spotlight search screen. By entering equations into the search bar, the iPad will recognize that some math is needed and provide an answer. You can also use it as a currency and unit converter. Having an Apple calculator readily accessible onscreen, however, will apparently have to wait.

[h/t Cult of Mac]