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99 is the magic number
April 27, 2013 6:35 PM   Subscribe

David Gold, founder of Southern California's (and beyond) ubiquitous 99 Cents Only Stores, has died.

Gold came up with the idea for the brightly colored bottom barrel discount store in 1982 when he noticed an interesting phenomenon with the pricing scheme at his liquor store:
"Whenever I'd put wine or cheese on sale for $1.02 or 98 cents, it never sold out," Gold recalled in a Times interview in 2003. "When I put a 99 cent sign on anything, it was gone in no time. I realized it was a magic number. I thought, wouldn't it be fun to have a store where everything was good quality and everything was 99 cents?"
99 Cents Only Stores was known for not taking itself too seriously, running humorous ads, often referring to the number 99 in some way such as congratulating Joan Rivers "Happy 99th Facelift", or their fleet vehicle displaying "Driver Carries 99 Cents Only" under the logo.

He died Monday at age 80 of apparent heart attack at home, while on a work call.
posted by 2N2222 (18 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite

 
It's sad he didn't make it to age 99.
posted by xingcat at 6:40 PM on April 27, 2013 [12 favorites]


Gold came up with the idea for the brightly colored bottom barrel discount store in 1982...
The concept of the variety store originated with the five and ten, nickel and dime, five and dime, ten-cent store, or dimestore, a store where everything cost either five cents (a nickel) or ten cents (a dime). The originator of the concept is Woolworth Bros, in July 1879. - Wikipedia on "Dime Stores"
posted by DU at 6:42 PM on April 27, 2013 [1 favorite]


.

He might have had 99 problems, but a penny wasn't one.
posted by JoeXIII007 at 7:01 PM on April 27, 2013 [5 favorites]


Gold may have been lower than the dollar...

*dons sunglasses*

...but he's finally hit pay-dirt.
posted by Smart Dalek at 7:36 PM on April 27, 2013 [2 favorites]


The concept of the variety store originated with the five and ten, nickel and dime, five and dime, ten-cent store, or dimestore, a store where everything cost either five cents (a nickel) or ten cents (a dime). The originator of the concept is Woolworth Bros, in July 1879. - Wikipedia on "Dime Stores"

Gold came up with the idea for the 99 Cents Only Store, which happens to be a distictively brightly colored bottom barrel discount store. Sorry if it was confusing.
posted by 2N2222 at 7:54 PM on April 27, 2013 [2 favorites]


I don't know if I've ever seen a 99¢ Only Store up here in Canada, although I've certainly seen The Dollar Store, Great Canadian Dollar Store, Everything For A Dollar Store, Dollarama, Dollar Tree, A Buck or Two...

(Ever get the feeling you've been cheated?)
posted by Sys Rq at 7:56 PM on April 27, 2013


I wish that I could find the episode of WFMU's Seven Second Delay in which Andy Breckman goes through a 99cent store, practically item by item, inquiring about prices.
posted by R. Mutt at 7:59 PM on April 27, 2013


"Whenever I'd put wine or cheese on sale for $1.02 or 98 cents, it never sold out," Gold recalled

Color me skeptical that this guy ever priced anything at $1.02 and thought "Yes, that is the perfect price for that thing to be."
posted by Horace Rumpole at 8:12 PM on April 27, 2013 [3 favorites]


.

(this post should go to 99 .'s and then stop)
posted by FritoKAL at 8:18 PM on April 27, 2013


Woolworth's was already on its way out in Southern California (and no longer selling anything for 5 or 10 cents) when Gold started his 99 Cent Stores. It was very good for its time (then having many 2for99, 3for99 and 4for99 items) and is one of my two favorite SoCal-born chains, the other being Trader Joe's.

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posted by oneswellfoop at 8:41 PM on April 27, 2013


Black Friday Dollar Store
posted by homunculus at 8:44 PM on April 27, 2013 [1 favorite]


I dunno, but every time I go into my local 99 cent store, I feel the cancer oozing off the plasticy gee gaws in the store.

But the store still proves useful and provides amazement to me that anyone would buy produce from the 99 cent store.
posted by drewbage1847 at 9:39 PM on April 27, 2013 [1 favorite]


Produce hell, I saw 12oz packages of hot dogs there. I was too terrified to pick them up and try to find out what sort of animal products could possibly be in them at that price. I'm thinking maybe windshield bugs.
posted by George_Spiggott at 10:34 PM on April 27, 2013 [2 favorites]


We should light 3 vot*checks inflation index* no, 2 votive candles in his honor.
posted by BrotherCaine at 10:52 PM on April 27, 2013 [1 favorite]


.99
posted by ShutterBun at 11:59 PM on April 27, 2013 [2 favorites]


Whether someone calls it "the ninety-nine cent store" or "the dollar store" is a relatively reliable indicator of state of origin.
posted by mynameisluka at 3:26 PM on April 28, 2013


There's an Iron Law of Progressive Crappiness about dollar stores: if you have only one price, the quality of your items is destined to go down. That 99ยข in 1982 is $2.39 in 2013 money.

Why do you think Woolworth gave up being a five and ten? Even 99 Cents Only is actually 99.99 cents, or $1 per item. Some stores even have areas of discounted merchandise that sells for more than a dollar.
posted by Yakuman at 7:38 PM on April 28, 2013


As close as the US ever came to socialism.

.
posted by telstar at 12:10 AM on April 29, 2013


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