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How to find % off in Gap

August 31, 2011

I was in a Gap outlet store where lots of items were reduced. There were helpful signs up so you could read off the sale price.

30% or 40% off I can understand the useful chart but do people really need one to work out 50% off? Seriously?

Just how bad at maths does Gap think the general public are? Maybe they’ve done research that shows they need the 50% sign.



From → Uncategorized

  1. Max Stone permalink

    It’s possible they’ve done it to show that they’re rounding down the half-pence when giving 50% off a price ending in 99p. Alternatively they’re attempting to make it clear what the sale price is. Sometimes items are marked as 50% off but it’s not clear whether or not the reduction has already been applied to the price on the item. Although it’s more likely that they believe (probably correctly) that there are enough people who aren’t willing or able to make the calculation to justify such a chart.

  2. Unfortunately, I have seen this same sign in way too many stores. I think retailers have realized that basic math is not most people’s strong suit.

  3. Max Stone permalink

    An interesting question (well I think it might be interesting) might be; how many potential purchases are not completed in stores when these charts aren’t used? That is to say, does having a sign only increase the success of store’s discount promotion? I would imagine very few (if indeed any) people would be sufficiently insulted by a chart like this to be put off making a purchase, yet there are almost certainly some people that will go on to a make a purchase because of a chart like this that they wouldn’t have made without it. Seems a small outlay for the store which will almost certainly be recouped in increased sales.

  4. Anonymous permalink

    From Twitter: @ddmeyerWow. Great, depressing find from @reflectivemaths. Someone at GapUK decided their customers are idiots apparently.

  5. Anonymous permalink

    Thanks for the comments.Max as far as the odd half pence is concerned, I don’t think that’s enough of an issue to warrant these signs.The second point is quite valid although in this particular store, the signs were pretty clear – "50% off the lowest ticket price" or words to that effect.I fear your third point may well be true…..MT You’re probably correct but the 50% one in particular has to be one of *the* most basic – surely?

  6. Anonymous permalink

    MaxAgain, you’re probably right here. It slightly annoyed me and didn’t put me off buying anything (as I wasn’t going to anyway as it happens).I wonder if by using these signs rather than individually labelling each item with its reduced price is a significant cost saving. Are there people that are too lazy to even bother looking it up in the table? It’s not the most user-friendly table to read from.Obviously, I’m not saying the table is complex but we are talking about people that can’t find 50% of something here…

  7. Ihor Charischak permalink

    You can’t take anything for granted about math. Just because people should know it, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t post such a sign. The first thing I did after seeing the sign was to check their math. That’s what I would like my students to do as well! It could be an opportunity for adults who haven’t thought about what 50% discount means in a long time to reflect on it and correct any misconceptions they may have about it. For example, I really appreciate when restaurants print out what a 15% tip is which allows me not to have to think about it even though its a very easy one to figure out in my head. I love math, not calculating!-Ihor

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