Reginald was mighty proud of his magazine. It was a masterpiece he thought but never vocalized or his friends and acquaintances might think he was vain. It was so good, that for the purposes of this write up, we shall not sully the magazine by offering any of our homely outlines of it or its stories.
Reginald figured it would make a profit by selling it at four dollars a copy. But then Reginald had a master stroke of an idea. His readership might easily forgive a five dollar a copy price with the following beautifying the cover:
So Reginald distributed the magazine himself. The retailers seemed excited when they saw the content and were happy with their half of the price.
Reginald could not resist testing the waters after only a couple days of his magazine being for sale. He went to the first retailer he had signed on to his magazine and asked how they had sold.
Belle said there was much interest in the magazine. But there had been a lot of confusion about the price of the magazine. With anxious potential buyers, Belle agreed that the price must be one dollar, because there was nothing else to go on. This seemed to be popular with the customers so in only those two days she had sold out.
Belle was so happy with this low cost magazine with its high volume sales, she wanted many more copies to sell for next month. Reginald explained that the cover price was meant to be read as $5.
The next retailer Reginald saw was a more rational seeming Greg. Greg, too, had some confusion with the price. He had taken the magazines off the shelf when he noticed and put them on his counter, wrapped in a string to go back.
But many people had seen the magazine and very much wanted it. It all came to a head that first evening as a group of customers demanded that he logic it out. “But all we can agree on is that there is a dollar sign with nothing behind it!” Greg had tried.
“Exactly”, said one of the group, “that must mean no dollars. So we can take our copy for free.”
“Not so fast,” Greg had said. “It says no dollars but how many cents does it mean?”
“Well it must be less than a dollar. But how much less?” asked one in the crowd.
“Look at the prices of my other magazines,” said Greg. “This would be a bargain at 99 cents.”
The crowd agreed and Greg sold his magazines at that rate. They all sold. Finding this, Reginald just harumphed and left.
The third retailer had Reginald’s unsold magazines tied up with string at the front counter. “Whew,” said Reginald, “at least you didn’t sell them at a loss like some others have.”
“That’s right. But it was hard not to. There’s so much interest in them at $1. But I disagreed with my customers. All we could agree to was that the price is not $5.”
“But that is the price,” said a shocked Reginald.
“But the cover has a five that has been stroked out. How be I ink in a 4 and that’s what we sell them as?”
As Reginald’s trip wore on he was to find out this was a good deal. He never made another magazine again.