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July 30th, 2009

Less Cents

I’m sorry to report that a trend I started noticing a couple of years ago – companies and stores using a decimal point and a cents sign incorrectly – has been picking up steam.

If someone prints “50¢”, I know they mean 50 cents. Easy. And if someone prints “$0.50”, I know they still mean 50 cents. But when someone prints “.50¢”, they think they’re saying 50 cents when in reality they’re saying… half a cent.

It’s subtle, which is why I was only a little disappointed to see several coupons in the paper last weekend that gave “.50¢” or “.25¢” off of a product. In that case, the fraction of a cent is hardly a deal! But to think: the person who created the coupon missed that. An editor missed that. A creative director missed that. Lots of people just didn’t see anything wrong with it.

To me this is a little more egregious than, say, a comma splice since this dramatically changes the amount involved. Pingers, what can we do to reverse this trend? A witty slogan (“Drop the Decimal?” “Use Common Cents?” “You’re Being an Idiot – Learn How to Use the Cents Sign?”) might be a good start.

Posted in Consumer Commentary

CarrieP July 30, 2009, 1:14 pm

I like the third one. I’m always flabbergasted when I see people doing the extraneous apostrophe thing, especially in print. How do so many people not know the difference between plural and possessive? Boggles the mind…

Badure July 30, 2009, 1:48 pm

The US needs to get rid of pennies and make all prices end in 5 or 0. A penny is in reality worthless. The only thing they are good for are turning them into souviners!

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