Anecdotes: The Mango Lady

The Mango Lady is a peddler who does business under the elevated train tracks at a major intersection. I have seen her many times but never bought anything from her. However, I know someone who knows people who say that they have.

The story is, if you ask the Mango Lady her price she will reply that mangoes are $1 each or $3 for two. Yes. My friend’s friends wanted to buy several mangoes but made clear that they would pay no more than $1 each. They weren’t about to get taken by the 2-for-$3 gimmick. The Mango Lady laughed and said: You wouldn’t believe how many people fall for that.

14 thoughts on “Anecdotes: The Mango Lady”

  1. Last Sunday I got some popcorn at the theater. It was $6.14. I gave the attendant $10.25 and it completely flummoxed him. Equally amazing I go to this discount wine and booze store – they have a 750 ML bottle of scotch for $20 and a 1.5 ml for $23. I guess there are plenty of people buying the smaller one.

    So I believe the mango lady.

  2. @Mike

    Of course you are correct. Amazing to me that twice the size for three or four dollars more and they still stocked the smaller one. I guess you could call that a tax on stupidity?

  3. For what it’s worth my brother and I met in New York with our spouses a few years ago (2011 I think). We all went to Central Park one morning and stopped at one of the watery bits with a small food/drink stall nearby. The vendor had small and large cans of Heineken. My brother and I asked the price.

    “$3” was the reply.

    “For small or large?” we asked.

    “Either” was the reply.

    Needless to say we each had a large. :)

  4. @Russtovich McDonalds does that with their drinks. Small, Medium or large – same price – $1. Makes no sense to me. But apparently it makes sense for others.

  5. “they have a 750 ML bottle of scotch for $20 and a 1.5 ml for $23”
    Good grief, 1.5L of “scotch” for $23, it must taste like turpentine. If all you’re looking to do is get drunk, you should just buy super discount vodka and mix it with something that you like.

    “Small, Medium or large – same price – $1. Makes no sense to me.”
    They’re just selling access to the soda machine (which is pure profit for them, since the soda costs essentially nothing, is my understanding), and you can pick your cup. But I’m sure they’ve found that just saying something like that confuses people, so they have to let them pick a size.

    There are times when I don’t take advantage of BOGO deals, because I want one package of english muffins, not another one to either shove in the freezer or stick on a shelf. “Free” isn’t everything.

  6. Gallon jugs of milk are loss leaders at the local supermarkets, so half gallons and gallons are about the same price. We still use up milk fast enough that nothing goes sour, but I know some folks for whom a gallon would last well over a week–except that it wouldn’t and they’d have to throw out the spoiled excess.

  7. We do not buy gallon jugs of milk as my wife cannot pick them up. She has arthritis but my sister, who is four years older than she, tore her rotator cuff picking up a gallon of milk. I drink a lot of milk so nothing spoils.

  8. While back, I was shopping in my local supermarket in Durham City, UK, and spotted a sales sign for washing bleach powder.

    It read, and I swear that this is true, ” One for £7.00. Two for £14.00 (Sterling)”

  9. OK, Bill Brandt, I’ll bite… you’ve flummoxed me too. Why did you give him the extra quarter?

    “It was $6.14. I gave the attendant $10.25 and it completely flummoxed him. ”

    Is it just that you’d rather not have the quarters? Who cares? I could see it with, say $5.25, give him $10.25, get a 5 back, no change, no arithmetic…

  10. John

    Bill may answer for himself, but I used to do stuff like that all the time before switching to mostly cashless transactions. The simple purpose is to avoid getting back $0.86 in change. Ideally, one would give $10.14, but often one does not have 4 pennies on hand, so you give $10.25 and get back $6.09 instead of $5.86. I’m not surprised cashiers and attendants today would be confused by this given the number of cashless transactions. I used to carefully keep a varied assortment of change in my pockets to facilitate cash transactions and any decent cashier would know how to handle such exchanges. These days I usually leave the house with no coins at all.

  11. I’ve seen the same arithmetic on Amazon from time to time. One of something costs X or a two pack for 4X. It makes me suspicious enough to go elsewhere. As well as wonder who falls for it.

  12. Didn’t you see the recent Bernie Ad?

    Buy 1 beer, for the price of two.


    Get a 2nd beer — absolutely free!

    There are lots of cases where the bigger size is about twice as expensive, but only ~50% bigger.
    I get the smaller sizes, then. Or two.

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