How far would you go for twenty cents?

Was walking through the grocery store tonight scoping out the cat food aisle and overheard one of the most bizarre statements. A lady who needed one of those motorized carts to get around the store was fairly irate about the price of an item. She noted to her female companion that they would just have to go across the street to another grocery store to buy this can of whateveritwas because it was twenty cents cheaper over there. She was not going to spend 89 cents for something that cost 69 cents at the other store.

First of all, just the drive across the street seems like it would cost twenty cents in gas money given the high price of fuel these days. But even if you set that aside, is it really worth extracting yourself from that store at that moment over twenty cents? What if you want to pick up a few other things and some of them are twenty cents cheaper at the store you’re already in? I guess people don’t think that far ahead? I was baffled by this woman’s statement. I didn’t follow her around to see if she stuck to her word and just headed for the door immediately, but given how bullheaded people can be in this part of Pennsylvania, it wouldn’t surprise me.

As usual, this got me thinking about videogames. Obviously no one’s going apeshit over twenty cents when they’re buying videogames, but people do get awful uppity about paying $5 for a downloadable Nintendo Entertainment System title available through Virtual Console. When you ask them how much they should cost, they usually lower the price by a dollar or two. A dollar… or two… um, yeah. It’s really not all that different from the twenty cents lady in my opinion. The same thing happens with Xbox Live Arcade titles and those available on PlayStation Network Store. Someone’s always complaining about those being overpriced too, as if games available for $10 are an affront to their consumer rights.

Here’s a protip, games at the store cost $60 and you’re happily paying that much for many of those games and getting less than ten hours of playtime out of them. Some of these Live Arcade titles such as Catan or Carcassonne can easily provide years of entertainment value for one-sixth the price. Virtual Console games? Same situation. And what’s really amusing is the cartridges are often more expensive than the price of the game through Nintendo’s Wii Shop. You’re getting a true bargain much of the time, and you don’t have to hunt around flea markets or eBay either.

I guess it’s just the nature of the Internet and of life in general that people are simply very happy to complain about anything and everything. I’ve actually tried to change my personal outlook there whenever possible, but I even catch myself complaining about stupid things sometimes. It’s sort of nice to know that it’s not just on the Internet that people moan about inconsequential price deltas.



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