How Much Did I Save If I Don’t Buy Anything?

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Whenever I throw away a coupon or decide not to take advantage of a sale, I tell myself that I’m saving more money by not buying the item in the first place. That is not exactly the approach that OfficeMax took when adding up the items in Tod’s cart.

“As you can see, OfficeMax says that I saved $37.50 because the item I wanted was out of stock. I guess they’re telling me that not buying stuff is a good way to save money?”

Well, no, because not buying the item would have saved him $49.99. Or is it $12.50? It was one of those, but not the original markdown. Either he bought the item or he didn’t: if there’s nothing in the cart, then he saved the whole amount, or he saved nothing at all.