Check this out:
Today I returned a lifetime supply of Roundup to Costco, because I couldn’t open the damn consumer-proof container and because on reflection I decided I didn’t want to open it.
I paid a penny less than $40 for it and expected to get that much back. When the guy said “That’ll be $33 back on your credit card,” I said “Huh?” He said, “You got a $9.00 coupon.”
But…look at the amount of tax they refunded, shown on the green receipt: $3.63
That tax is not on the reduced amount I paid. It’s on the full freight of the pre-”coupon” price.
See? I paid $29.99 for the stuff, and they charged me tax on a $38.99 purchase.
In Arizona our sales tax is almost 10%. So that amounts to an 84-cent difference.
Peanuts, you say? Well. Consider how much merchandise a single Costco store moves, to say nothing of Costco’s thirteen stores in the Greater Phoenix Metropolitan Area.
At this time of year, Roundup is a hot item in Phoenix. Every one of those 87 berjillion fake “desert-landscape” yards sprouts a bumper crop of wazoo-high weeds after the winter rains. Basically what it means is that just about everyone who lives in a house craves to buy Round-up. Last I heard, the Phoenix GMA was home to about two-thirds of Arizona’s population, to the tune of something over 1.5 million households.
Think of that. Let’s say a half-million of them live in apartments. That would give us a potential market, for the wee overcharge, of $.84 x 1 million, or $840,000. Not a bad profit, on a bit of bookkeeping sleight of hand.