Half a croissant, on a plate, with a sign in front of it saying '50c'
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Mind Blowing Price Designed To Grab Attention

$18.43
  (-1)
(-1)
  [vote for,
against]

People will see this and their brains will short circuit, like yours is now.

People will stand transfixed as their minds goes over and over the possible ramifications of this bizarre arrangement of numbers. "Was this a simple mistake? Does this portend the end of the universally agreed to pricing standards as we know them? Is this plan to take over my brain? Am I wearing pants? Does that really matter at this point?"

A tectonic shift in pricing or an exercise in mind control? You're trying to look away but even now every atom of your being is screaming "Type $18.43 in Google search and see what pops up." You don't want to, but you must.

$18.43. Just a number? You can tell yourself that. Whatever helps you sleep at night.

doctorremulac3, Dec 05 2021

Second part of this trilogy. $19_2eRANDOM_20Price_20Tag
[doctorremulac3, Dec 06 2021]

And the thing that started it. $19_2e94_20Price_20Tag
[doctorremulac3, Dec 06 2021]

prequel Stochastic_20rounding
[Loris, Dec 06 2021]

Time Considered As A Helix Of Semi-Precious Stones https://en.wikipedi...emi-Precious_Stones
Science fiction short story by Samuel R. Delaney. [DrBob, Dec 07 2021]

Superman III https://www.youtube...watch?v=N7JBXGkBoFc
Richard Pryor steals the roundings & buys a Ferrari. [DrBob, Dec 07 2021]

[link]






       This is clearly a reference to the year 1843, in which the British government established a commission to look into problems of land- holding in Ireland. The commission's report was damning, but nothing was done.   

       This suggests a good price because ...
pertinax, Dec 05 2021
  

       Not necessarily good, possibly evil.   

       The number locks the human brain into a maelstrom of contradicting thoughts. Desire, repulsion, fear, anxiety and even calm resignation.   

       But the human mind can't walk away from this price without having its programming permanently changed. Your DNA will probably remain intact, I don't see anything permanent happening at the atomic level, but the viewer's life will be divided into "before" and "after" they experienced the effects of $18.43.   

       We could fund scientific studies but I'm not sure that would be safe or even moral.
doctorremulac3, Dec 05 2021
  

       Meh. I barely register the "cents" of a price these days. I use EFT-POS to pay for everything, so all the tiny differences come out in the wash.
neutrinos_shadow, Dec 05 2021
  

       To be honest I try not to look at prices these days.
doctorremulac3, Dec 06 2021
  

       Thing is though, at least here, they've decided to do away with pennies and tax people at five and seven percent brackets so transactions are hardly ever a number without multiple numbers after the final decimal point and so get rounded up by whatever fraction of a cent isn't accounted for.   

       Where do you think all those fractions of a penny go?   

       Just asking for a friend.   

       sp. maelstrom
pertinax, Dec 06 2021
  

       //Where do you think all those fractions of a penny go?//   

       I'm gonna guess, to a rounding-errors account, where they probably balance out to around zero over time.   

       However, the idea that someone might steal them was proposed in science fiction several decades ago.   

       So, does it really happen?   

       Well, I've poked around in quite a few accounting databases over the years, and several of them have had a rounding- errors account, but I've never yet seen an excitingly large balance in one, somewhat to my disappointment.   

       [DrBob] would be your man to confirm or disconfirm this.
pertinax, Dec 06 2021
  

       I'm a bit disappointed. I thought it would be a price like $34.81-7i, or perhaps an interesting mixture of constants. $e^(i pi)+1 would be a bargain.   

         

       ////Where do you think all those fractions of a penny go?////   

       //I'm gonna guess, to a rounding-errors account, where they probably balance out to around zero over time.//   

       If they're always rounded up as 2fries says, that's not going to happen.   

       //However, the idea that someone might steal them was proposed in science fiction several decades ago.//   

       I would have said that this happened in reality and was known as the salami trapdoor technique, but a google search suggests that it's much less of a common term than I thought.
Sorry - I mean much fewer of a common term.
Loris, Dec 06 2021
  

       I think all pricing should be in binary.   

       This item costs £10,011.1111110101110000101   

       Makes everyone feel really rich
pocmloc, Dec 06 2021
  

       The only price that ever really blew my mind was when oil went into negative territory. That was trippy.
RayfordSteele, Dec 06 2021
  

       //always rounded up//   

       OK, I'm not sure whether that was what was meant. If tax calculations are always rounded in favor of the taxing authority, then the rounding fractions go to wherever the rest of the tax money goes. But there's nothing mysterious about that, so I supposed that something else must have been meant.
pertinax, Dec 06 2021
  

       //The only price that ever really blew my mind was when oil went into negative territory. That was trippy.//   

       And the moment I decided to stop trying to figure out economics.
doctorremulac3, Dec 06 2021
  

       //sp. maelstrom//   

       Thank you pert, I specifically wanted to test you. "Wonder if pertinax will catch it if I spell maelstrom wrong." I was a fool to doubt you, you passed with flying colors.
doctorremulac3, Dec 06 2021
  

       Didn't some-one(s) get caught & prosecuted for siphoning off the bank rounding errors?
Also, I've been told that banks do sort-of this with transactions. It's why everything takes "overnight"; so that bank can "steal" the little bit of interest generated by the money sitting there over night.
neutrinos_shadow, Dec 06 2021
  

       Wasn't that hard. There wasn't enough oil storage available, so the cost of storing exceeded the oil value and nobody wanted it yet.
RayfordSteele, Dec 07 2021
  

       Huh. Makes sense.
doctorremulac3, Dec 07 2021
  

       //It's why everything takes "overnight"//   

       No. I mean, yes, they do that, but no, that's not the same *kind* of stealing. It's a different scam. It has nothing to do with rounding.
pertinax, Dec 07 2021
  

       //[DrBob] would be your man to confirm or disconfirm this//

Did somebody call?

In the systems that I've used, tax is a calculated figure (whether rounded up or rounded down) & the resulting calculation is what is applied in the accounts. So there is no balance for 'rounding differences' in this respect. You do get some small balances elsewhere for rounding in the accounts, particularly with automated processes, but as pertinax points out, these are disappointingly (or comfortingly, depending on your perspective) small.

On the other hand, there is always some kind of holding account on the balance sheet, a place for things to rest whilst someone works out where it should really go. Most commonly these will be linked to the Treasury Management/Cash Receipting process &, if not managed efficiently, can get out of hand very quickly indeed, resulting in some very large sums of money not being properly accounted for.

If you haven't got proper division of duties in your finance function (quite likely given that you are already not managing your cash properly), then an unscrupulous person might be able to arrange for these balances to be re-located to somewhere where they might be of more immediate use. Say, the purchase of a flashy sports car, for example.

They have been largely phased out now, but outgoing Uncashed Cheques was a great target for this sort of thing as all of your accounting processes are already expecting money to go out of the bank account, so there is no need for a potential fraudster to invent much in the way of false documentation.

Sadly, the purpose of flashy sports cars is to show them off. So the method of your discovery is inadvertantly engineered into the whole fraud process. People who steal things are seldom the type of people to quietly shuffle the money off into a long term investment & then sit tight for 20 years. If they get away with it the first time, they nearly always feel the urge to keep on stealing stuff.

Sometimes however, if you reach a particular level of self-confidence at this & your ambition becomes more grandiose, your misdeeds become magically legal & more tools become available for you to carry out your nefarious schemes. You are eventually able to steal the whole country & large parts of the rest of the world. Once you've persuaded enough idiots to vote for you, obviously.
DrBob, Dec 07 2021
  

       //so that bank can "steal" the little bit of interest generated by the money sitting there over night//

I'm not normally one for defending big business but this is certainly not stealing & is part of the t's & c's of a bank contract. The interest generated on your transaction likely wouldn't amount to much (especially at current interest rates) but the interest that the bank makes is from lending out the accumulated balance of all their daily transactions. It is how, at their most basic, banks work.

Other businesses do it too, lending out their daily cash balance on the market to generate interest. Wonder why, for example, payment terms are 28 days? It's not because it takes that long to process your invoice or pay out your cheque/money transfer, it's because the organisation you are doing business with is lending that money out to gain interest on it.
DrBob, Dec 07 2021
  

       And because of cashflow, of course
hippo, Dec 07 2021
  

       Yes, agreed, although that is very dependent on the size & nature of the business. A bank or a large multinational has no problem with cashflow, generally speaking (unless they are going to the wall), whereas, say, a haulage company or a small retail supplier is likely to be very tight on cash at any given time.
DrBob, Dec 07 2021
  
      
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