Amazon Needs Math Lessons

Brian shopped for a webcam on Amazon and faced this confounding pre-checkout screen.

He writes:

It’s wrong on so many levels. First they say regular price is 79.99 and you get a discount of $60.00. Somehow the price comes out to $39.99 and they count that as 50% off. When added to cart, it says 99.00 is the regular price. I’m so confused.

Hopefully Brian nabbed the miscalculated deal at $39.99, because last we checked the item had shot back up to $99.99.


Edit Your Comment

  1. Rocket says:

    Math is hard.

  2. dolemite says:

    Don’t you say anything bad about my sweety, Amazon. She’s the reason I have to set foot into Walmart only once or twice a year, and can avoid Best Buy completely.

    • photoguy622 says:

      Agreed! I love Amazon. Great prices, and whenever I have a problem they are nothing but helpful.

    • craptastico says:

      Amazon has single-handedly allowed me to enjoy Christmas season again. a couple days after thanksgiving i sit at the computer for an hour or two and voila. shopping done. without having to spend all day battling moms at the mall

    • agent 47 says:

      Same here, but due to Amazon not offering cheap 9mm and .22 ammo, I still frequent Walmart, unfortunately.

      • Traveshamockery says:

        Hang out on and you’ll never need to buy ammo in a brick and mortar store again (assuming you live in a free state).

    • mourgh says:


  3. danmac says:

    It’s no coincidence the webcam resembles the evil steering wheel from Wall-E…it’s trying to make us so bad at math that we become fat, lazy idiots.

    I’m not an idiot, steering wheel!

  4. j_rose says:

    It’s $79.99 when I look at the link in the article. Not $99.99

  5. pecan 3.14159265 says:

    This is also known on the You Suck at Craigslist site as “cat math” – so $39.99 is 50% of $79.99 but that $60 number is from the fact that the full MSRP of the webcam is $99. So Amazon mashed all the numbers together.

    • DariusC says:

      THIS! They do that with almost every deal to make it sound much better. Good article to make people aware, but to those that already know, Amazon does this all the time :)

  6. Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

    Original (MSRP) Price – $140
    Regular Selling Price – $99.99
    Sale Price – $79.99
    Gold Box 50% discount – $39.99
    Total Savings – $60 ($40 from Gold Box + $20 from Regular Selling Price)

  7. pixiestix says:

    Who proof-reads Amazon’s stuff?

  8. corkangel76 says:

    I don’t ever shop at Amazon… I shop at instead…

  9. Ben says:

    Who the hell would pay $80 for a webcam?!

  10. giantspbpk says:

    List Price: $79.99 to
    Gold Box Price: $39.99 to
    Gold Box Discount: $60.00 to customer (sort of)
    Cost of Webcam built into my Mac: One Soul to Steve Jobs

  11. Razor512 says:

    It is stupid to get pay that much for a webcam.

    Do the right thing and buy a cheap point and shoot camera that can be detected as a capture device.

    A 6-8 megapixel $50 crappy point and shoor camera easily offers many times the quality of even a $100 webcam.

    Webcams use a very small image sensor and a very small lens. in order to provide a bright image at a usable framerate, they rely on a very high ISO (light sensitivity). High ISO on a small sensor adds a large amount of noise so a lot of noise reduction is done. this is why on many camera phones and web cams the image is not as detailed.

    take a 1.3 megapixel web cam image, and compare it to the quality if you were to set a 5 megapixel digital camera to 1.3 megapixels. you will see that the digital camera offers much better color, dynamic range and detail.

    many point and shoot camera allow you to use them as a web cam and when that is done, you will get much smoother video as the larger sensor can offer good detail and framerates even in low light.

    The cameras can also be run for days on end with no problem (tried it before for time lapse footage)

  12. coren says:

    I think the 79 was just a mistake, but then the gold box bases it’s percent off what the original price is.

    Or they had the discounted price chosen, and forgot to update the discount amount to go with a lowering in the original price.

    As for it being 99 in cart, that’s gold box standard – discount won’t show up til later.

  13. redwing41 says:

    You’re making these so much more complicated than it needs to be. The list price was mistaken and is supposed to be $99.99 (as stated in post). Magically, $99.99 – $60.00 = $39.99.

    The 50% off, I’m guessing, is coded into the site as the Gold Box Price divided by the List Price. And if Amazon changed the List Price, the Gold Box Price would read 60% off.


  14. bumblefoot2004 says:

    I just checked the link given and the price says $79.99, $69.00 with the discount. At least it isn’t as bad as Verizon math.