Salesfolks cannot fool programmers

Here’s two popular comments on “why you should buy [insert item here]”

  1. “We’ve reduced price now twice!”
  2. “It’s now 50% from original price”

Any True Programmer Mind immediately knows that the amount of times some price has gone lower has no relevance. Why would you care if item that costs let’s say 17.99 has got price “decreased twice” (or three times). It has no relevancy here: the item costs 17.99 and that’s it.

Another way to fool is to say that some thing costs “50% of the original price”. Let’s say some jacket costs 129.99 – now, what difference does it really make to you whether original price is 250 or 130. You are still going to spend 130 bucks on that thing.

“Yeh, but 250 thing has more ‘quality’ than 130 jacket.”

Possibly so, but why would you need to know the original price? If the jacket is good quality and costs 130 bucks, that should be enough knowledge. Programmers don’t need to know original price, number of discounts or amount of discount.

Juuso Hietalahti


  1. Incidentally, the $250 jacket and the $130 jacket were both made of the same materials at the same Chinese or Bangladeshi or Macedonian sweatshop. Production costs were about ten to fifteen bucks tops.

  2. How about if they just say “now it costs X euros” – why would you need to know it’s 50% discounted?

  3. Juuso, I don’t really see any connection between what I said and being a programmer.

    -I want to buy something and I really need it too.
    -I don’t have enough money for it.
    -After a while I hear it’s %50 off and my money is enough for it now.
    -I go buy it.

    So what does it have to do with being a programmer? It’s simple logic actually. If they do not advertise about their %50 discount how can I ever hear that it’s price has been changed so I can buy it now?

  4. What if I saw the product a while ago, really liked it but couldn’t buy it because of it’s high price? Then I would hear it’s %50 off and buy it.

  5. My thoughts exactly! Everyone around me is like “OMG, a discount!” while I’m wondering why should I care about the old price… For a while I thought I’m the only freak, that I don’t understand the magic of discounts. Then I realized I’m a programmer :P

  6. You can not advertise something as being discounted without showing the original price – it’s the law, at least it is in the UK.

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