99 Cents Only Stores Actually Charge 99.99 Cents For All Items

Image courtesy of (Rupert Ganzer)

Fractions of a penny aren’t a significant amount of money, so we don’t really pay attention to them. That might be what the dollar store chain 99 Cents Only is counting on. They don’t exactly hide that everything in their stores costs 99.99¢ rather than 99¢, putting that information on customer receipts and even on shelf tags. Does that make the store’s name misleading, or is it okay to round down?

Once sales tax is added, the few pennies’ difference in prices is almost invisible to customers, especially if they’re only buying a few items. Still, CBS Sacramento sent in undercover shoppers to check the shelves and chat anonymously with the cashiers. Yes, they said: some customers do notice and complain about the extra .99 cents they’re being charged.


One customer noticed and was annoyed enough to file a lawsuit against the company, which ended with them posting signs explaining the additional .99¢ price hike. The company blamed the need to raise their prices almost imperceptibly on inflation.

In a competitive retail environment, being able to raise their prices by a penny and thus raise their margins by 1% isn’t a bad deal. For every 100 million items they sell, they take in an extra million dollars. That kind of volume isn’t out of the question for a chain with hundreds of stores.

Call Kurtis: Why Is 99 Cents Only Store Charging Me 99.99 Cents? [CBS Sacramento]

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