Melville Stone was a self-made man, who worked his way up from newspaper carrier to publisher of the Chicago Daily News. When Stone first started his newspaper in 1875, the price was a penny. Circulation rose rapidly at first, then leveled off. Then sales started lagging. When Stone investigated why fewer people were buying his paper, he discovered the problem had nothing to do with its quality. Pennies were in short supply. Stone decided he had to do something.
First he traveled to the United States mint in Philadelphia and brought about the transfer of barrels of pennies to Chicago. The problem then became how to get the pennies into circulation. So Stone persuaded Chicago merchants to sponsor "odd-price sales," during which they would sell their merchandise for a penny under the regular price. The odd prices did the trick. People had pennies again, and Stone’s paper flourished. And that is why store items today cost "$8.99," or $12.99," instead of even dollar amounts.
6 years ago