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Dynamic Pricing Returns

michael posted more than 13 years ago | from the redlining-internet-style dept.

The Almighty Buck 243

TwP writes: "That new computer will cost you $1,200 - wait no $1,300 - better make that $1,500 dollars! IBM, Compaq, and Dell are experimenting with "dynamic pricing" according to this article over at InfoWorld. Amazon tried a similar idea last summer and met with quite the negative response. Hope the computer makers can spin this idea in a better light." Amazon's experience didn't work out, and as far as I know, they've ceased doing it.

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EBay-itis? (2)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#213966)

Is it just me, or has EBay driven the entire world into a "just a few dollars more" type of mindset? I've always shied away from places where prices weren't stable, because even if I end up paying a small premium, I know I'm not going to end up with the "but Bob just bought it from them for half that" blues.

Of course, it is somewhat irrelevant, since I'm not going to to be buying a prefab system anytime soon, but it will definitely make my job harder when it comes to giving recommendations to friends... "Yeah, a Dell's pretty good, but I'd wait until the Fed cuts the prime rate at their meeting next week, unless you think Compaq is going to post a strong earnings report Friday, which would drive the prices up for individuals who buy on Mondays and Tuesdays, which would make it cheaper to buy from a library terminal on Thursday."

Fair? This ain't kickball... (4)

Joseph Vigneau (514) | more than 13 years ago | (#213968)

So, protest with your dollars. Capitalism is a beautiful thing. You always have the option of taking your money somewhere else. If they can squeeze more cash out of you because you're unwilling to do your own due dilligence, then too bad. If they want to charge you $500 more than some other vendor because you told them (or they somehow figured out) that you make more than $75k a year, go somewhere else. If enough customers balk at the practice of dynamic pricing, IBM/Compaq/Dell will end up losing money, so it will make more financial sense not to do it.

Look at auto sales, you get a different price for the exact same product from different dealers! GM's Saturn division is using this practice as a way to entice customers who don't want to deal with this.

[ Full disclosure: I work for a company that writes software to support "dynamic pricing" on web sites. ]

Re:this is evil, but... (2)

drsoran (979) | more than 13 years ago | (#213973)

I would think the price would go up rather than down the more you clicked it. "Hey, this guy is REALLY interested in this laptop. Let's raise the price for him $50 and if he comes back to view the page again a few times raise it some more since he's really hot for it." Now THAT is evil.

The amish store down the road (2)

hawk (1151) | more than 13 years ago | (#213974)

The amish are another anabaptist group. About 5 miles down the road s an amish store near several farms. On the repackaged bulk goods, the price is consistently *exactly* twice as much for a package twice as large . . .


I don't believe those were actually implemented (2)

hawk (1151) | more than 13 years ago | (#213975)

There was a big fuss about them a bit over a year ago, abut as I recall, there was no plan to implement them in the near futere.

Also, reaction to them varies: Is it charging more on a hot day, or is it offering steep discounts on cold days? People tend to oppose the former and support the latter, even though they're the same thing.

hawk, economist

Russia? Capitalist? Not hardly (2)

hawk (1151) | more than 13 years ago | (#213976)

Russia did *not* switch to capitalism or free markets (kudos to Mr. Slippery above for being one of the rare folks to recognize the difference).

Under a capitalist system, ownders of the capital receive the proceeds. This just isn't the case there--the managers of the firms get the proceeds, and currently the shareholders have absolutely no way to force them out. Additionally, the state is massively involved to favor its own industries (Just look at the current takeover of the media).

Russia is currently a mix of industrial feudalism and fascism. The markets are not free, and the owners of capital are not entitled to the proceeds.

hawk, econ professor

Re:Bartering!! (2)

hawk (1151) | more than 13 years ago | (#213977)

A friend of mine (a gem dealler) will probably try to haggle before the Throne on Judgement Day . . .

the man once got the price down on a bucket of chicken at Col. Sanders . . .


Great way to build loyalty... NOT! (3)

rnturn (11092) | more than 13 years ago | (#213991)

Amazon's dynamic pricing failed, IMHO, becuase it turned the book/cd/etc buying experience into something akin to buying a car. The price you pay depends on which saleman you talk to or how successful you were in negotiating a better price. All in all, an experience that makes you feels as though you were ripped off or that there was a better price but that your bargaining skills were inadequate and no one likes that experience. Don't the airlines use something like dynamic pricing? I don't know of anyone who feels like they got the best possible or even a fair price on their airline tickets.

Just wait until Compaq and IBM owners start comparing notes and find out that they bought the same computers but at wildly difference prices. I wouldn't count on a consumer buying another computer from a vendor that adopts this pricing scheme.


Re:Imagine... (2)

scav (14941) | more than 13 years ago | (#213995)

That is called price-fixing, and many if not all companies do adjust based on competitors' pricing. Just now that factor will introduced real-time. Take the example of petrol prices, most are changed when the other nearby ones have changed their prices. Exactly what in the UK, Esso (Exxon) pledge in their adverts "Pricewatch".

Different cases (3)

Sly Mongoose (15286) | more than 13 years ago | (#213996)

It's one thing to vary the price with availability, demand and the cost of components. To feed in discounts as the order expands to encompass more items or extras.

Thai is quite different from Amazon. They were essentially using past-purchase information and website activity to determine your ability to pay more (IOW how rich you were) and boosting the price on you based on that.

If the price of RAM goes up, I expect to pay more. If it drops later, I'll groan when my friend gets the exact same machine for less. But that's the way in the industry. OTOH, if I save up and buy an expensive book, I don't want all subsequent purchases to be charged at an inflated price, because I've now proved I can afford it!

Pricing transparency on the Net (5)

alienmole (15522) | more than 13 years ago | (#214000)

You're right, this is normal. However, in the offline world, it's not uncommon for a salesman to tell you that a price is about to or has just gone up or down. On the web, it's very unusual to see any notifications about such things, except in the case of specially discounted items or sales.

What would be good from the customer perspective is if websites actually provided some pricing rationale and history. You could click on an item's price and see that yes, it is $100 more expensive today than yesterday, but that's because the price of RAM has just gone up, say.

Otherwise, pricing is just a black box and customers have no way of knowing if they're being discriminated against.

Of course, there are tools to help customers compare prices across web sites, so in an absolute sense, it's not a problem. But vendors would be wise to consider the impression that these things leave on customers. If I want a Thinkpad specifically, I can't go to anyone but IBM or an IBM dealer to get it. If I suspect IBM is playing funky games with pricing, I may decide I'm better off with someone else.

In short, transparency is a good thing, in pricing as in many other areas.

This is known as price discrimination (2)

leperjuice (18261) | more than 13 years ago | (#214003)

Price discrimination says that if I can learn enough information about you, I can predict what your threshold for pricing is, and thus I can charge the maximum for all customers. This is rather than having to set a price and have some customers pay less when they would have been willing to pay more, and to lose some customers where the price is over the threshold.

As the previous poster explained, this process maximizes revenue for the seller.

But in order to perform perfect price discriminiation (which every retailer would love to do), 2 conditions must be met:

1) The various groups must be clearly identifiable

2) The groups must have different elasticity of demand (econ talk for their willingness to pay higher prices for an item).

So the problem for IBM is how to associate what little informaion they can glean from your web habits to associate with your elasticity of demand and to ensure that that information is accurate. Oh, and they have to be able to prevent resale (not too difficult; just void warranties). But since there is no surefire way to identify who is on the purchasing end, and since the internet makes for an almost pure market wih nearly ideal communications, I can only see this backfiring.

Re:Michael Sims: InfoNazi (1)

Black Parrot (19622) | more than 13 years ago | (#214006)

> Michael Sims is an information tyrant of the worst type and now he is a slashdot editor. He censors posts he disagrees with, he mods down others that don't march to his beat.

Funny, it looks like he found your post (+1, interesting).


Re:That's not smart (2)

King Babar (19862) | more than 13 years ago | (#214007)

That's why hardcover books sell at a premium, and that's why hardcover books come out before the paperback version. What you're *really* paying for is the earlyness, not the hard cover. It's called "price differentiation".

Actually, the book question is a bit more complicated than that, albeit in a way that helps prove your point. Libraries also buy hardcover books for reasons that are probably pretty obvious, so part of the hardcover premium is really a "library tax". Then some publishers really cracked wise and started to offer special "archival quality" editions of books with better bindings and completely acid-free paper and the like. And a nice little business this was until somebody figured out how to dematerialize the books completely...but that's another story.

Re:You're already used to this model (3)

King Babar (19862) | more than 13 years ago | (#214008)

Airlines have done this extensively for years. The price of a ticket varies tremendously based on how full the flight is. The guy or gal sitting next to you may have paid twice what you did -- or half.

It is a bit of a different situation, since there's only X seats on a given flight. But still, I'm surprised that people don't find this objectionable.

Oh, they certainly do. You're just hanging out with the wrong crowd. :-) More seriously, things got to the point where nobody had a problem with flights getting more expensive the closer you got to the flight time, and everybody understood the necessity of matching a competitor's low price for a particular route.

But the latter point still leads to some really screwy things. We live in Columbia, MO, which is half-way between KC and St. Louis. When pricing a flight back to Boston recently, we found out that the KC-Boston routes were cheaper. Fair enough, demand might be lower or competition more severe. But many of the KC-Boston flights were actually KC-St. Louis-Boston, and you were paying almost $200 less to take the whole route compared to the St. Louis-Boston chunk. Intellectually, I know why that happened, but that didn't make me feel happy about it.

Now, the real fun came the evening when my wife and I were tag-teaming the travel agency websites from our two computers. At one point, we realized that the more we looked at fares, the higher they seemed to be getting. It got really tempting to believe that we were the culprits by making so many queries...somebody's code decides that X/100 of all queries become sales, so when Y queries come in, you raise the price for query Y+1. This could get really ugly.

(Though I'm more surprised that TicketMaster hasn't started using this approach for concert tickets...)

Me, too. But the most surprising lack of dynamic pricing is for (in-season) ticket sales for sports teams. Why on earth should a ticket to see the Hated Yankees cost the same as a ticket to see the Tigers?

Gasoline Prices (1)

Pinky3 (22411) | more than 13 years ago | (#214009)

If the price of gas changes, a gas station will change the price in the middle of the day. In these times in the US, whatever the price at your favorite station is in the morning, there is a good chance that it will be different by the afternoon.

How is this different?

Once I got caught in a price change. One worker was changing the prices on the sign outside. Another was changing the prices on the pumps on their computers inside. I started pumping gas and discovered at the end that I was being charged $.04 more than any other pump. Either the prices on the computer were reduced on the other pumps before mine or they were changed between the time I started pumping and the time I finished.

The clerk couldn't understand why I was upset.

Re:That's not smart (3)

Russ Nelson (33911) | more than 13 years ago | (#214018)

I mean, why charge ANYONE a lower price?

Because more people will buy at a lower price than a higher price. You'd really like to fill the entire space under the price-demand curve, rather than the rectangle delimited by a single price point. That's why hardcover books sell at a premium, and that's why hardcover books come out before the paperback version. What you're *really* paying for is the earlyness, not the hard cover. It's called "price differentiation".

In a competitive market, it serves to lower prices for everyone. Yes, even the people who pay the higher prices.

Economics is fun! You can learn more about this kind of thing from David Friedman's _Hidden Order_.

Quaker merchants (5)

Russ Nelson (33911) | more than 13 years ago | (#214019)

Quaker merchants pioneered the idea of a single price for all buyers. Prior to that, only a competent negotiator could get a good price on something. So you couldn't send a child to buy something at the corner store.

So in time, people sought out Quaker merchants, because they knew they would get a fair deal.

You're already used to this model (2)

cisko (35325) | more than 13 years ago | (#214023)

Airlines have done this extensively for years. The price of a ticket varies tremendously based on how full the flight is. The guy or gal sitting next to you may have paid twice what you did -- or half.

It is a bit of a different situation, since there's only X seats on a given flight. But still, I'm surprised that people don't find this objectionable. (Though I'm more surprised that TicketMaster hasn't started using this approach for concert tickets...)

Re:Coke machines anyone? (1)

prizog (42097) | more than 13 years ago | (#214028)

"Don't like it? Move to Russia and see if you prefer standing in line for 6 hours "

You mean before they switched to capitalism, or after? Answer: Both.

"in subzero temperatures"

While capitalism does encourage global warming, (see "The Tragedy Of The Commons" for details) that's not why Russia is so cold.

That's not smart (3)

brianvan (42539) | more than 13 years ago | (#214030)

I mean, why charge ANYONE a lower price? They should just sell all their computers to everyone at the highest price they're willing to sell at.

No, this is not a troll.

These are businesses that survive on profit margins... and who sell to a lot of middle-class individuals and corporations. If they just keep the prices at the highest level, people are gonna buy from these companies ANYWAY... people are not knowledgeable enough about computers, and it's too much of an inconvenience, for people to be able to tell when they're paying a bit more than they should. While this sounds kind of slimy from a consumer point of view, computers are rather useful machines, and I always thought that the benefits of a factory-made computer justified the higher prices.

This won't affect hobbyists. They never buy from these companies anyway. And it doesn't affect poor people, either... they can't afford such a computer anyway (I know, that's not the way things should be, but let's face it, poor people should be getting a PeoplePC or an eMachine or something like that... and that's only if they're able to eat first. Otherwise, a computer is a convenient luxury... like an in-house washer and dryer set).

Maybe if these companies set higher prices, and they prove people are willing to buy at those higher prices, the computer manufacturers don't have to keep dipping prices below profit levels, and you won't see the carnage that existed in the industry over the past few years. Yea, it's not the best short term solution for the consumer, but it's better long-term for the consumer and the industry. Besides, it's a wise investment for any consumer, and perhaps people will be more inclined to price shop and become knowledgeable about the machines themselves if they have to think about the price more... getting a whole computer for $300 after the MSN rebate doesn't require a whole lot of thinking for most people, after all...

Re:Not the same as Amazon's experiment (2)

aufait (45237) | more than 13 years ago | (#214036)

Actually, Amazon was doing a random 50/50 assignment of prices to sessions. The browser and customer history had no effect.

Not according to the article [] in Computerworld. I don't use Amazon so I do not have any firsthand experience. Do you have a link that shows it was 50/50?

The whole point was to directly measure the demand curve by testing two prices simultaneously, and that requires that the experiment and control groups be as demographically identical as possible.

Even if they did it by assigning prices to customers on a random basis, it still left a bad taste in the consumer's mouth since it was easily verified that different customers got different prices. When stores try these experiments in the brick and mortar world, they usually do it by geographic locations. Customer's are accustomed to the fact that the same product will be priced differently in different parts of the country.

Not the same as Amazon's experiment (3)

aufait (45237) | more than 13 years ago | (#214040)

There is a difference between what these computer manufactorers are doing and what Amazon did.

IBM will adjust its pricing "in real time based on metrics such as customer demand and product life cycle." They are using the same parameters to determine price as brick & mortar stores. The only difference is that it is done in "real time".

Amazon's scheme used a differenct set of parameters: which browser was being used, whether a consumer was a repeat or first-time customer and which Internet service provider address a customer was using. All of this was done without informing the customer. It would the equivelent as going into a store and getting a different price quote depending on the color of your shirt, your height and weight, etc.

The customer's experience will be different. Under Amazon's implementation, a customer would get one price will surfing at work, get a second price when he goes to place the order at home, and gets the first price again when he double checks it later at work again.

Under this implemtation, the changes in pricing would tend to follow a trend. Check at work and get one price. Order at home and get a higher (or lower) price. If the customer double checks the price again at work, he will either get the same price as the price he ordered it at home, or it will follow the trend of going higher (or lower) as the last time.

I don't see the customer's having the same reaction to this scheme as amazons as long as the web sites explain the factors that will effect the price and give the customer of getting a firm, fixed price quote.

Re:That's not smart (5)

aufait (45237) | more than 13 years ago | (#214041)

I mean, why charge ANYONE a lower price?

Maximising profit is not the same as getting the highest profit margins.

A simplistic example: You are a carpenter that can make 5 custom cabinets a week and materials cost $100 per cabinet. Experience has shown you that if you price your cabinets at $500, you have a profit margin of $400 per cabinet and will only sell one a week for a net profit of $400 per week.

However, if you drop your price to $250 you can sell 5 a week. This drops your profit margin to $150 yet increases your total profits to $750. With the first pricing, you maximized your profit margins. In the second, you maximixed your profits.

Re:Coke machines anyone? (2)

Mr. Slippery (47854) | more than 13 years ago | (#214042)

It's called Supply and Demand.... It's also been the basis of our thriving capitalist society for the past 250 years.
No. Supply and demand is the basis of free markets. Private ownership of capital resources is the basis of capitalism. They are not the same thing.

Tom Swiss | the infamous tms |

Re:Fair? This ain't kickball... (1)

Betcour (50623) | more than 13 years ago | (#214044)

Capitalism is a beautiful thing

It's a beautiful concept. But the implementation usually creates horrible things.

Re:Bartering!! (3)

1010011010 (53039) | more than 13 years ago | (#214047)

My brother's the same way. He habitually offers 50% to 75% of the asking price, even at large chain stores. And often gets at least some discount. He is 6'4", muscled, and and be somewhat menacing, tho...

- - - - -

But you still bought the Coke... (4)

MosesJones (55544) | more than 13 years ago | (#214048)

So while you might get annoyed, they still have your cash. You get hot and bothered, annoyed.. so you need another Coke. Well come to capitalism.

Re:The big problem (2)

radja (58949) | more than 13 years ago | (#214050)

pfft.. first, order a couple computers. then order the one you want at a lower price. cancel orders for high price. problem solved, everyone happy.


It's always been like this (2)

Gorimek (61128) | more than 13 years ago | (#214053)

You don't need sensors to jack up the price when demand rises or supply goes down. Merchants have always done that, and always will. Heck, consumers do the same thing, and pay less when there is bigger supply.

And it's a good thing. It's how resources get allocated to where there is the biggest demand for them, and how a market system avoids shortages and surpluses. In the coke machine example that would mean that you got to the machine that hot day, it charged $1.25 as always, and was completely out of coke.

BTW, I thought those "evil coke machines" were an urban myth from a year or two ago?

Re:Coke machines anyone? (1)

operagost (62405) | more than 13 years ago | (#214054)

Even at 75 cents it's a ripoff. The product costs about a penny and the bottle costs 3-5 cents.

Obsfuciated pricing (2)

scoove (71173) | more than 13 years ago | (#214055)

Usually sales are done at the highest possible price achievable - per transaction. I've yet to have a seller knock off 20% after I've already agreed to the price.

The thing that bothers me the most about this pricing approach though is that the intent appears to be to obscure and confuse the prospective buyer, primarily with the goal of preventing comparative shopping.

This predatory practice aims to get an extra buck by denying the consumer the ability to add a powerful, rational analysis tool. I'd expect most /. folks don't just buy that new drive, monitor, etc. by going to one vendor and paying whatever is asked.

Instead, you'll shop around a bit and see which vendor has the best price. This is a natural opportunity when you're purchasing goods that are of comperable value (e.g. more like commodities).

I'd doubt that it'll have much effect though. They'll get a few suckers who are easy marks regardless of where they shop. The fact that they're selling the same Intel processor, 3rd party motherboard, 3rd party drive, etc., the primary differentiator is price. Attempting to block consumers from evaluating that differentiator should only result in additional loss of market.


Re:Bartering!! (1)

TommyW (75753) | more than 13 years ago | (#214058)

Presumably: unless both parties are willin to renegotiate. Which must be what's happning here (unless the vendor goes chasing after her, shouting "Fraud!")
Too stupid to live.

Re:Safeway club card (1)

Webmoth (75878) | more than 13 years ago | (#214060)

It's gonna cost you more than 15 cents to drive 15 minutes.

When you're shopping for the best deal, you have to consider all the costs, not just the absolute cost of that item. I once saw a great deal on a refubished monitor online, only to discover that when you add shipping, the total was only 5 bucks less than a brand new one (including shipping). Both on the same website.

If I'd needed a new monitor, I would've bought the brand new one. For 5 bucks more, I get a full factory warranty and probably a couple more years of service.

BTW, I won't deal with online merchants that make you give all sorts of personal information before telling you what shipping will be.

build your own servers! (3)

JEDi_ERiAN (79402) | more than 13 years ago | (#214061)

this is just another reason why it's better to build you own servers.



Dynamic Pricing (2)

Greyfox (87712) | more than 13 years ago | (#214063)

The most efficient form is this is to sell all your goods at auction. That way your goods bring exactly what the market will bear. Previously, this was too difficult, but with the Internet and online auctions, it should be quite feasible for a company to move a lot of product that way.

Personally I build my own computers, since that's the easiest way to control exactly what is put in the machine and also avoid the Microsoft Tax. Hmm. Maybe I should start auctioning them off...

Re:strategy based on IGNORANCE - how to fight it.. (2)

Fnkmaster (89084) | more than 13 years ago | (#214068)

Which is quite interesting, because @themoment, who is supplying IBM's software for this, got into the business of dynamic e-commerce (auction/RFQ/bid-ask markets) in the interests of increasing information flow to maximize efficiency in markets, not to fuck over people by concealing information. Hehe. We all sell out our technology to the highest bidder in the end though, and if IBM wants to pay to increase their margins, you'll sell to them.

Most Places Do This - Retail (5)

Animgif (96529) | more than 13 years ago | (#214071)

I run a computer parts store. When the price that I have to pay for things such as RAM and Processors goes up, I up my price...when they go down, I lower it. My price sheet changes every day, as does my website. I really don't see the problem with this from an economic standpoint. They are making all the money they can. As a consumer, if you are willing to pay that price for the server, then you will.

OTOH, if there isn't a great demand for the product you want, they this will help you get it cheaper. When less people want to buy it the price will automatically go down! It's just all in how you look at it!

This is different (5)

BradleyUffner (103496) | more than 13 years ago | (#214078)

When Amazon did it they gave different prices to different people based on thier individual actions within the site based on cookies. This new system for changing the price of computer equipment is based on inventory and many other factors that arn't really related to the user's actions. To me this seems much more fair that what Amazon did.
=\=\=\=\=\=\=\=\=\=\=\=\=\=\=\=\=\=\=\=\=\=\ =\=\=\

Looks like IBM are currently implementing this. (1)

gdr (107158) | more than 13 years ago | (#214080)

I got this message when trying to get a price for a server:
We apologize that certain parts of are not available at this time. We are in the process of implementing improvements to make buying online from IBM even easier.
Can somebody explain to me how dynamic pricing makes buying "easier".

Re:Coke machines anyone? (2)

rjamestaylor (117847) | more than 13 years ago | (#214083)

I was trying to justify this demand-pricing scheme based on a function of supply and demand...but then realized I can't. It's just gouging. Sure, when demand rises and/or supply falls price rises. But when supply is flexible enough to match demand (as it the case with the efficient production and distribution systems Coke employs), price need not fluctuate. So, Coke machines raising prices due to temperature have nothing to do with supply. Sure, microeconomics dictate prices are set to maximize profit (therefore higher prices reduce volume sold and eventually will lead to lower profits - ala Apple Computer) but this is simply taking advantage of people in their weakness. If Coke supply wasn't fluid (sorry) and if Coke distribution had trouble keeping up with summertime demand, then I could see reason for spot price increases.

Of course, the answer is - drink water that you bring with you.

Re:Coke machines anyone? (5)

rjamestaylor (117847) | more than 13 years ago | (#214084)

It's called Supply and Demand.
Wrong [] . It's called gouging. Soda supply is elastic and is not affected by the weather. So price is based on demand alone - that's gouging.

Re:Coke machines anyone? (3)

Ronin X (121414) | more than 13 years ago | (#214087)

Gouging can only happen when there's a monopoly.

Wrong. It starts snowing, so 5 different stores all raise the price of snow shovels. Or there's a hurricaine coming so plywood prices mysteriously shoot up...

Even if not all the stores raise the price, they know you're desperate and aren't going to be comparison shopping. I believe economists refer to this as 'got you by the short and curlies.'

Coke machines anyone? (4)

jallen02 (124384) | more than 13 years ago | (#214090)

This is so bad IMO.

Anyone ever been to public parks.

Its the heat of the summer and your drenched in sweat desperately seeking a bottled water or coke machine because you forgot your drink.

You spot a coke machine and a bottle of coke (20oz of liquid) costs 3.75?!!?!?

Yes they call it "contextual pricing" just like from the article right? *cough*

Yet in the winter that coke costs oh say a mere 75 cents.

What gives?

The coke machines have thermometers in them and they jack the price up as the temperature increases / decreases.

How lovely.

When you are talking thousands of dollars this just is NOT going to work out. The backlash would be even more severe! Were no talking 5-10 bucks were talking 100-500 bucks here! Owch.

Id be annoyed enough about something like that.


Re:The big problem (1)

jcsmith (124970) | more than 13 years ago | (#214091)

How is this different than ordering memeory from They have a disclaimer on their site that basically says RAM is a volatile market so prices will change frequently. You won't get a refund if you order today and the price drops $10 tomorrow.

Re:You're already used to this model (1)

jcsmith (124970) | more than 13 years ago | (#214092)

At the collegiate level dynamic pricing is a regular practice in football and basketball. I've seen the price go up 50% ($30 to $45) for big games.

Re:Bartering!! (1)

aozilla (133143) | more than 13 years ago | (#214094)

No, it is fraud already to offer a deal and then switch that deal to a worse one after the offer has been accepted. It is called "bait and switch", and is generally done by sellers, who advertise a product and then when you come to the store they are all out of that product but have a "newer, better" one available at a slightly higher price. Even if you agree to the new price, it is still fraud if they did not advertise the product as "limited supply".

Re:Coke machines anyone? (2)

aozilla (133143) | more than 13 years ago | (#214104)

Higher temperatures cause a higher cost to run the machines which keep the soda cold, so actually, supply is based in part on weather. Also, faster soda purchases require more storage space and more frequent monitoring of levels of supply within the machines. This also increases the cost. As long as there is no restriction from you buying your soda somewhere else, and taking it with you, this is perfectly legitimate. You are paying extra for the convenience of having soda available at your whim, which other people have loaded into the machine in the hot sun.

Gouging can only happen when there's a monopoly. While I can understand calling it gouging when a baseball stadium charges rediculous prices and doesn't allow you to bring your own food/drinks, most parks I know do not have such strict rules.

Re:this is evil, but... (1)

PurpleFloyd (149812) | more than 13 years ago | (#214109)

Hell, at least it's better than reloading 500 times/min trying to get that magical "f1rst p0st!!!" (and always with a CID of >1). Dear God, the boredom those people must feel to resign to doing that all day long

Watcha red price, watcha red price... Whoops, you (1)

vaalrus (160494) | more than 13 years ago | (#214111)

Ah, the return of one of the basic tennants of "Whatever the traffic will bear"... That is, what the other guy don' know will profit you. After This much economic flux among the vendors, is anyone surprised that these companies yearn for the days of localized markets and price fluidity? Capitalism despises a level playing field like nature abhors a vacuum. When a fickle consumer can shave half a buck off a purchase with only the click of a mouse, and a switch of a vendor it's going to drive these guys nuts trying to figure out a new variant of "the prisoners dilemma" so they don't get left holding the zero sum.

Re:Karl Marx likes dynamic pricing... (1)

magarity (164372) | more than 13 years ago | (#214116)

Whoa there! What's this about 'pay' according to ability?! You tryin' to oppress the proletariat with your bourgeois monetarist system?

Wouldn't Marx argue that each computer user gets a computer according to his need for a computer and that computer makers should create computers according to their ability to design and manufacture them?

Re:Gasoline Prices (1)

magarity (164372) | more than 13 years ago | (#214117)

Ouch, sounds like you have a more obnoxious gas station than mine. While I was pumping the price jumped 10 cents per gallon last week. The clerk charged me the pre-change price (on her own initiative) on the theory that I had agreed to the previous price by picking up the nozzle and not to the new price.

Not that unusual (2)

sjbe (173966) | more than 13 years ago | (#214118)

Airlines have been doing this for years. They have a product with a limited lifespan. A seat on a plane isn't valuable after the trip is done. So they adjust the price based on a number of factors (popularity of destination, time until trip, accomodations desired, etc) so that they maximize profit. Selling computer equipment which becomes obsolete in a matter of months is not really so different.

We tend to have a knee jerk reaction that this is a bad thing but it can work out pretty ok in the end for thoughtful consumers. Sometimes you can't get something for a good price, sometimes you'll get a fabulous deal. Just depends on what you want and when you want it. Try to get the same thing everyone else wants at the same time, expect to pay a premium.

In the end, the question is whether their terms will be favorable to consumers or simply a price gouge. Probably will be some of both. Don't like the approach, you always have the option to vote with your money about the approach you like.

Computer Futures? (2)

Araneas (175181) | more than 13 years ago | (#214119)


I can see witing a little script to check the price pages untill the price drops below a certain point. Of course everyone will start doing it just like automated stock trading.

Any one want to give me a spot price for a June G6?


Dynamic Payment (2)

Sinjun (176671) | more than 13 years ago | (#214120)

I think I'll implement dynamic payment. That 1,200 check is in the mail! uh...uhh...wait a minute...I changed my mind. Here's 1,000. Did I say 1,000? I meant $800. Hey, if they can do it, why can't I?

But is this REALLY valuable to anyone? (3)

RobertAG (176761) | more than 13 years ago | (#214121)

"The IBM project, developed using software from @themoment in San Mateo, Calif., will allow Big Blue to automatically adjust pricing on its server line in real time based on metrics such as customer demand and product life cycle. As a result, customers will find that pricing will dynamically change when they visit IBM's Web site on any given day."

OK. So their going to try to apply real-time pricing based on perceived supply/demand. This seems to work best when there is only one clearinghouse where things are bought and sold, such as a stock market. In a stock market situation, everyone comes to ONE place to buy and sell. Prices are then set as trading occurs.

But in this situation, there are MANY, MANY places to buy computers. You can buy them from established sellers, from mom and pop places or assemble them yourself from parts. Futhermore, a large buyer is going to want a locked-in contract price - and is going to be able to better negociate a lower price. A smaller buyer will collect quotes from a number of sources and make an informed decision based on price/performance. Again, that smaller buyer will have a written quote. Most quotes have established time frames (ie 15 or 30 days). If IBM thinks that they'll win customers by suddenly raising their prices after 3 days, they're living in a dream world. Competition is such that MANY clearinghouses exist for computers and the buyer will just go elseswhere. Compounding this will be their OWN sales force. These people make money off commissions of products that they SELL. If there is a fine line between a sale or a customer walking away, the sales force will undermine the pricing system to make the sale.

Home users will shop for bargains just as they always do.

Given the razor-thin margins on hardware these days, I can't see great shifts in price for computer systems occurring on a daily basis. Sure a few dollars for a system can mean millions in the larger scheme of things, but screwing around neednessly with customers in a competitive sales environment is asking for trouble.

Isn't this par for the course? (1)

tsangc (177574) | more than 13 years ago | (#214122)

I found whenever I talk to our purchasing rep, they give is different prices based on how many you buy anyways, or special deals based on what they have available or the university default configuration. Isn't this extending normal sales practices to an automated system? Calum

Re:Bartering!! (1)

sunset (182117) | more than 13 years ago | (#214123)

Dunno how the law works where you are, but in the US an offer accepted is a deal. Your wife would have been obliged to pay the 15 pounds.

Imagine... (1)

sunset (182117) | more than 13 years ago | (#214124)

No, not a Beowulf cluster.

Imagine what happens if these vendors all vary their own prices based on each other's prices. That could get amusing.

Workaround (2)

CaptainZapp (182233) | more than 13 years ago | (#214125)

Well, you could use one of those ice spray thingies to get the thermometer from 110 to 37 degrees within seconds.

Which begs the question if this is to be considered defrauding a Coke machine.

Well (1)

Tebriel (192168) | more than 13 years ago | (#214128)

I think it's a bad idea myself, but the key here is informing the customers. If they realize that this is going on, and is a condition of doing business with them, then it's not a big deal. Amazon's problem was that they didn't tell anyone this was happening. When people find out post facto, that's when it goes from bad to "screw you."

Karl Marx likes dynamic pricing... (1)

Junior J. Junior III (192702) | more than 13 years ago | (#214129)

Capitalism + Communism = ...Dynamic Pricing?

Each customer pays according to his ability in order to get the hardware that each customer needs.

Hmm, I think I just killed Dynamic Pricing in the Western Hemisphere.

Re:Coke machines anyone? (2)

ichimunki (194887) | more than 13 years ago | (#214131)

While I agree "our" economy is capitalist in that it relies on capital and private ownership, I completely disagree that "supply and demand" are the basis for anything that has happened.

The money supply is tinkered with frequently-- in fact, just last week the Federal Reserve lowered a key interest rate. This has a direct effect on demand. Supply is frequently altered through subsidies and tax breaks-- especially in agriculture. Prices are often highly regulated for many of the most serious needs, telecom, energy utilities, etc. Finally, the government assists and prohibits businesses rather often. Think of zoning codes, antidrug laws, environmental laws, rent ceilings, and scads of other restrictions on supply and demand-- these restrictions prevent free market capitalism.

But by all means, please don't let reality get in the way of your ideology. You "love it or leave it" types make me sick. You don't care about freedom and you certainly don't care about the U.S. But I guess as long as the trains run on time, you don't care what government or big business do. Oh excuse me, not the trains-- I mean, as long as you can hop in your SUV and commute at speeds of 55mph or higher... :)

Re:Workaround (1)

GungaDan (195739) | more than 13 years ago | (#214133)

IIRC, someone tried something similar not long ago with battery acid, although they were aiming to get the cash, not the coke, from the machines. Seems simple enough - dump some acid in the coinslot, and wait for the meltdown. I think it was found to be a criminal act, though.

On a similar topic, why not, instead of cooling the machine down, locate the thermometer and heat it until it reaches its limits and bursts? A cordless iron might suffice for this. Question then would be, how does the machine respond to a broken thermometer? Does it assume temperature=zero, and give away nickel cokes, or does it remember the highest temp reached before fuckover, and hold it's coke machine pinkie to the dispenser slot, demanding "one million dollars..."

this is evil, but... (3)

bouis (198138) | more than 13 years ago | (#214134)

I can just picture people clicking reload a hundred times on Dell's website [] trying to get a lower price for their new laptop.

Re:A Note: (2)

guinsu (198732) | more than 13 years ago | (#214135)

And notice how everyone hates that.

For those who didn't read the article... (5)

CraigoFL (201165) | more than 13 years ago | (#214139)

...dynamic pricing in this case refers to IBM, Compaq or Dell being able to change their prices to reflect the cost of the parts of a system. CPU and memory prices are notoriously volatile, and often change on a daily basis. This is just an attempt to give the customer the price closest to the actual cost of the machine on the day he ordered it.

IMHO, this isn't a bad thing. Prices on computer components generally (but not always) tend to fall. This just means that your system supplier isn't overcharging for parts because they haven't updated the price to reflect the new wholesale cost yet.

IIRC, the furor over Amazon's dynamic pricing scheme was mostly because Amazon wanted to offer different customers different prices for the same item.

Not a Problem (1)

wardomon (213812) | more than 13 years ago | (#214143)

I used to sell computers. Lots and lots of 'em. 386-20Mhz with 4Mb of RAM, 1Mb video, 40Mb HD and a 15" monitor. Only $2599 plus shipping.

We all wanted computers to be commodity items. Here's the result. More than one hundred times the power and capacity at half the price, not even adjusting for inflation. I don't know why anybody would complain about it.

"The price is a little high today. I'll have to wait until tomorrow to get that 1.7Ghz, 1Gb RAM, 100Gb HD, 64Mb video, 5 channel surround-sound, 21" flat panel plasma display."

Oh, cry me a river!

Re:The big problem (1)

fghg (215098) | more than 13 years ago | (#214144)

The solution is simple. You get your quote and dell will honour that price for x days. Then you get more quotes over that time period. Order from the lowest quote.

hey thats how my local computer shops work!

IBM will price on customer demand! (1)

Hairy_Potter (219096) | more than 13 years ago | (#214147)

Dang it, how dare they try to follow a basic tenet of Economics, how dare they try to run their business as Capitalists. Has their exposure to the GPL taught them nothing?

This isn't news... (1)

bigmouth_strikes (224629) | more than 13 years ago | (#214148)

Changing the price of goods you sell to reflect your actual cost for it is not exactly unique.

In the Consumer Packaged Goods (soda, beer, candy, cereal, ice cream etc) the price is low and a great deal of the cost for it is advertising and distribution. Here, prices reflect the customers will to pay; at the supermarket people choose the cheapest, at the airport they don't have much choice but to pay up.

For more expensive and high-tech comsumer products, the price reflect the current market price of components and stock levels. This is how the automobile business work, for instance. Ever seen a factory incentive ? Ever seen a silly rebate att ? They already do this, but this new initiative will be more real-time (as if real-time is a relative concept...) instead of using some weekly average as the base for the price.

tracking. (1)

saintlupus (227599) | more than 13 years ago | (#214149)

if i understand properly, amazon did this based on some sort of cookie-mojo in the client's machine.

how much is my new dell going to cost if i wipe all the cookies from my box except theirs?

(not that i'd buy one anyway, but for example...)

hey, maybe apple will start doing this. then they'll realize what poor motherfuckers most of their customers are and finally drop their prices.


Dynamic pricing is not altogether bad (5)

hillct (230132) | more than 13 years ago | (#214155)

The issue here is not that dynamic pricing is good or bad, but, how to implement it in markets where it has not previously been used.

The idea here is for companies to be able to sell to customers they would not otherwise have rached, by selling their product at a price the customer is willing to pay. For example, Dell sells a particular model of computer at $1500. At that price they may have 20,000 customers. Now, how about the next customer? There has cot to be a customer willing to buy the computer if only it was sold for $1,499. How many customers who would not otherwise have bought this model of computer, are now buying at the new price? This might bring in another 150 customers. Now, would it have been cost effective for dell to sell all 20,150 computers at $1,499? No They would have been losing almost a quarter of a million dollars in potential revenue ($244,850 to be exact). You can not reasonably expect a company to willfully choose to forego that revenue, and in order to generate that revenue when selling at the lower price, they would have to sell to another 163 customers - where in our example there are only 150 customers who will buy at the $14,99 price. In fact, that quarter of a million dollars in projected revenue might be the deciding factor in weather or not to produce this model of computer. This is an example of marginal revenue - which would have been simplified with graphs, but ayway...)

Now, lets look as the consumer/social value in this proposition. 150 users who would not have bought a Dell computer (of a certain quality) now have done so, thus enhancing their lives (to whatever degree having a Dell computer enhances your life).

I realize the numbers in the above example are way off, but it serves to demonstrate my point about marginal revenue. If the company could not make a predetermined percentage of proffit from the sale of this model of computer, they simply would not bother to sell it. This would negatively impact 20,150 consumers who would not have the opportunity to buy this Dell computer.

Marginal pricing and marginal revenue have been counted on for years in numerous industries, for example, when pricing gasoline. Oil companies charge different prices to gas stations in different parts of the country, and even different parts of a city. YOu can go to a bad neiborhood and get gas more cheeply than if you go to the good neiborhood. Interestingly, the net proffit made on the sale, by the independant gas station owners in this case might actually be exactly the same. Oil companies use a complex dynamic pricing model to determine the price at which gas is sold to various different gas stations. This has been the case for 50 years.It's only when dynamic pricing becomes visible to consumers on a one to one basis, are there any objections.

Not to put too fine a point on it, but we have been conditioned to believe that we have the right to be charged the same price as the next guy, for goods and services that we buy. This is simply not the case.



Re:Coke machines anyone? (1)

Fatal0E (230910) | more than 13 years ago | (#214156)

Ever go clubbing lately? Most places in NYC charge you $6 for a 12 ounce bottle of water on a Friday night. Nevermind why water sells so well (use your Emagination). I don't complain... I also dont dehydrate.

Re:Not the same as Amazon's experiment (1)

PTBarnum (233319) | more than 13 years ago | (#214162)

Actually, Amazon was doing a random 50/50 assignment of prices to sessions. The browser and customer history had no effect. The whole point was to directly measure the demand curve by testing two prices simultaneously, and that requires that the experiment and control groups be as demographically identical as possible.

This could be tricky (1)

ishrat (235467) | more than 13 years ago | (#214164)

From practical experience I find this tricky. Because I am most times not sure whether I could have got a thing at a lower price, I avoid Bargain shopping, because I am afraid when I show it to freinds they might have bought it for less.

I feel this same feeling of uncertainity would keep me off these Dynamic prices where I could miss a $100 bargain by a second. It can only attract the kind of bargain player that we have for traditional shopping but I wonder whether people like to be on the edge while shopping, that too a thing like a computer where you are buying it perhaps only once or at least not so often like clothes or such.

Risk of association with Amazon (1)

sacremon (244448) | more than 13 years ago | (#214167)

The practice, as others have noted, is different than what Amazon did. The problem is that what Amazon did was well publisized, making the consumer more suspicious of these practices. This is best summed up at the end of the article:

Emily Andren, a senior analyst at Boston-based Aberdeen Group, warns that IBM must communicate with its customers to avoid confusion and a potential backlash, similar to what happened with's failed dynamic pricing experiment. "It's hard to see the benefit to the customer," Andren said.

Hmmm.... (1)

samrolken (246301) | more than 13 years ago | (#214168)

better catch them prices quick!

Not too suprised (2)

daniel_isaacs (249732) | more than 13 years ago | (#214171)

In the corporate IT world, we've always dealt with dynamic pricing. Based on how often you buy, when you buy, and how much you buy. I'm not too sure how they will make this work with consumers, as they tend to buy in very small quantities (like 1) and not very often (maybe twice a year they buy hardware).

Screw em all! (1)

RogueAngel7 (250551) | more than 13 years ago | (#214172)

$1200-$1500 for a computer?!?

Build your own for half of that and show them where they can stick thier 'Dynamic Pricing'.

Even if you can't build it yourself almost everyone knows someone who can and probablyly would for next to nothing.


Look at it from both sides before you attack... (2)

Gruneun (261463) | more than 13 years ago | (#214175)

If it wasn't for "dynamic pricing" a 386 would still be worth $3,000. Sometimes, rather than looking for a conspiracy, maybe we should consider how a process like this can still help us.

What do you people think a sale is? It's dynamic pricing... and it's to our advantage.

Bartering!! (3)

tonywestonuk (261622) | more than 13 years ago | (#214177)

My other half has a great way of buying things at Junk Sales... When she sees somthing she wants, the conversation goes somthing like:

Wife: How Much?
Seller: £20
Wife: I'll give U £15
Seller: Ok, no probs
Wife: £12 it is then.
Seller: Ermm, Hang on,

She then gives them a tenner and takes away the goods, She usually gets away with it for the cheek!

I Wonder if this can be applied to Dynamic pricing.... They Say a PC's $1000, and you get it for somewhat less if you offer.

Re:A Note: just a bit more info (3)

onepoint (301486) | more than 13 years ago | (#214180)

What it is called is yield management. It works quite well. Based on the idea that if you have a finite inventory (this case a voyage or trip with xyz amount of space), you should be able to pre-sell most of it early, what is required to sell the space is small adjustments in the price.

The problems/joy comes when inventory approaches the extremes (very few seats, very open seating, or few days left before take off). The pricing model will adjust the prices so rapidly that 2 consumers can have 2 different prices and the difference could be huge percentages, 10 ? 40% in some cases and the tickets were purchased minutes apart.

For that reason, people should never book flights with less than 2 weeks or greater than 8 weeks from takeoff, unless they know that the flights will be booked out. Example is spring break, you can book that flight in December and pay less than if you booked in January. Same thing for USA to Europe, in June and July book 6 weeks in advance. For Hong Kong out of NYC, Cheapest flights are in September, October, & November and you can wait until the last 3 weeks to arrange it.


Re:Coke machines anyone? (1)

cavemanf16 (303184) | more than 13 years ago | (#214181)

I guess the guy never played 'Lemonade Stand' in grade school on the school's Apple IIE. :)

Econ 101 (1)

cavemanf16 (303184) | more than 13 years ago | (#214182)

It seems to me like this is simple economics. They're just trying to get more bang for their customer's bucks. If you don't like it, go somewhere else to buy your stuff. After all, a computer is a necessity for my job, but a luxury in my personal life. The airline ticket analogy other previous posters have mentioned is a perfect example of how normal this really is.

Can we mod down this whole story submission as -1 Troll (or maybe Flamebait)?

The big problem (3)

MxTxL (307166) | more than 13 years ago | (#214184)

From the article: The challenge for companies deploying a dynamic pricing application will be to make sure customers feel they have received a fair price. Customers may feel cheated if they discover that prices were lowered after they placed their orders.

You can rest assurred that if i buy a computer from Dell that the price goes down later THAT SAME DAY that i'm going to be pist and that i'm going to want the difference back. And that's bound to happen to a lot of people since the price is determined by what the in-stock and demand is like. Variables that are both being changed by my having made my purchase. Yes, i realize that both those variables will tend to push the price upwards, but then that's bound to piss someone off who saw a cheaper price earlier and then when he went to buy it was more expensive.

I think this is a pretty retarded idea, and i can't see how anyone like the marketing people at dell, and IBM that have marketing degrees or MBAs, and are supposedly smart people would think this is a good idea.

Let them do just that! (2)

MSBob (307239) | more than 13 years ago | (#214185)

Then spread the FUD about the upcoming recession. Prices will plummet and we'll get all the cheap gear we could possibly handle.

I'm not sure if adjusting your pricing to demand levels makes any sense when the economy is perceived as slowing down or stagnant... Or am I oversimplifying?

Re:Coke machines anyone? (2)

Anne_Nonymous (313852) | more than 13 years ago | (#214187)

Uh, actually I think supply is an issue. If there are soda machines from 100 vendors at the park prices will be much lower than if there are machines from only one vendor, regardless of whether the prices fluctuate in response to the temperature.

Re:Coke machines anyone? (2)

UltraBot2K1 (320256) | more than 13 years ago | (#214189)

It's called Supply and Demand.

It's not new to Coke machines and your summertime experience in the park. It's been practiced for thousands of years, all the way back to the days of the spice trade, and caravans to the Orient.

It's also been the basis of our thriving capitalist society for the past 250 years. Don't like it? Move to Russia and see if you prefer standing in line for 6 hours in subzero temperatures for a single head of cabbage. Otherwise, shut the fuck up.

The retail industry and common sense. (5)

PorcelainLabrador (321065) | more than 13 years ago | (#214190)

Really, this is nothing new. The retail term for what we're talking about is "Zone-Based Pricing." It's the same thing as when I go to McDonald's in Boston and pay $4.35 for the double cheeseburger combo, and in Nebraska I pay $3.25. It's just that there is a cost-of-living difference that retail chains will definately take advantage of.

Case in point, Nobody mentions it much, but Staples has zone-based pricing, not only in the stores, but now it has been implemented on their website. Didn't you ever wonder why they ask you for your zip code before you can browse their selections? It's because they will charge you different prices based upon your living area.

capitalism, capitalism.

Re:It's always been like this (1)

ComaVN (325750) | more than 13 years ago | (#214191)

"Heck, consumers do the same thing, and pay less when there is bigger supply"

When was the last time you haggled over the price of a coke with a vending machine? "Ok, if you don't sell it to me for $1, I'll go to the one next to you!"

It's competitors looking for a bigger marketshare that lower prices, and in the case of themeparks and places like that, there are no competitors (inside the park at least), so you don't have the option to pay less.

Anyway, a themepark is not going to let the drinks run out on a hot day. It's one of their main sources of income, and they are likely to anticipate a hot day by stocking up.


Re:Hmmm.... (1)

bark76 (410275) | more than 13 years ago | (#214193)

Don't you mean cache?

Re:That's not smart (2)

Hostile17 (415334) | more than 13 years ago | (#214196)

In the PC world this is not the way things are. Dell smacked Compaq down from the number 1 spot, not because it has a better product, both companies provide virtually identical systems. Dell won by starting a price war, they kept lowering the price until Compaq, Gatway and all the other couldn't afford to lower thier prices anymore. This worked exceptionally well and Dell increased it market share because thier systems were a couple hundred dollars cheaper than everyone elses. Of course now Dell is paying for this, because they are working with a razor thin profit margin and is now having to cut costs in order to maintain earnings. This is why Dell has been laying off workers every couple of weeks and will probably continue to do so through the end of the summer when sales start picking up again.

Buy low! (1)

superflippy (442879) | more than 13 years ago | (#214197)

All we'd need is for someone to build a widget like the ones that track prices on auction sites or stock prices. You tell it to notify you via email when the price of the system you want drops below $2000, for example, and then just wait to buy your computer until you get the price you want.

strategy based on IGNORANCE - how to fight it... (2)

President of The US (443103) | more than 13 years ago | (#214198)

Is to create some kind of forum where people can share the "deal" they each got from IBM. If you go to your account rep and say, "I know so-and-so got the same hardware for $2000 less, give me that deal or else", most good account reps will find a way to get you that same deal.

Dynamic pricing is based on ignorance -- that you didn't know you could get a better deal. It is easily combatted with information. And becauase we're talking about large $ items here, not books and CD's, you can factor in the human element (i.e., the relationship between the customer and the company/account rep).

Re:Look at it from both sides before you attack... (1)

haruharaharu (443975) | more than 13 years ago | (#214199)

no it wouldn't. Short term fixed prices vary in the long term.

Re:Coke machines anyone? (1)

chemical55 (446280) | more than 13 years ago | (#214201)

Yea, and I thought that 8$ for a watered down rum and coke was bad. One time at Twilo, I ordered a Long Island Ice-T and the bar tender filled it up half way, when I noted this to him, he merely filled it the rest of the way with soda water...bastard. I wanted to dump it on his smug face, but I didn't feel like having the door opened with my head.

Dynamic Pricing Diffrences (1)

cyberlync (450786) | more than 13 years ago | (#214202)

If I remember correctly, Amazon used their concept of dynamic pricing to gouge returning customers. This model seems to be set up to give the best price to customers based on inventory, availability, etc.

Who knows it may be a good thing.

3rd world countries now available for e-commerce? (1)

christoofar (451967) | more than 13 years ago | (#214203)

Only in poor countries would you see this type of price shennanegans taking place.

What is this, e-bartering? What's next? E-Hunterer-and-Gatherer?

Most Americans... (1)

Em Emalb (452530) | more than 13 years ago | (#214204)

Most american's won't understand this, since they are for the most part sheep that will just hop on dell's site and price the computer, never thinking that compaq and ibm are doing the same price it looks like a good deal...if they WERE aware, this would go over like a turd in a punch bowl....
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