July 3, 2023


We’ve been doing some big projects around the house so the other day I went to Lowes to buy a bunch of home repair related stuff.

I was about halfway through the process of collecting the stuff I needed onto my big loud metal rolling cart when I came to the following item:


For those who don’t know, a Shop-Vac is a stout little vacuum cleaner that handles REALLY heavy duty messes. They look kinda like a cross between R2-D2 and Dumbo’s mom.

What’s great about a Shop-Vac is that you can use it to suck up stuff that would choke a normal vacuum, like nails and rocks and broken tile and other nasty construction debris.


After a few minutes of browsing the dozens of options in the vacuum cleaner aisle, I began to gravitate toward the 6-gallon, 3.5-HP model.

It was priced at $69.98.

Wait a sec...


That sounded familiar...

Wasn’t the last thing that I put on my cart $69.98?!

No... it couldn’t be.

I checked.

OMG yeah, the last thing was, in fact, $69.98.

This was a strange coincidence, to be sure, but that wasn’t what shocked me.

What shocked me was that the previous item was a roll of plastic sheeting.


A big sheet of plastic rolled around a cardboard tube.

No wires.

No plugs.

No filters.

No hoses.

No screws.

No casters.

No moving parts, whatever.


Just a roll of plastic sheeting.

The same price as a Shop-Vac

How could two items of such radically dissimilar complexity be priced identically?

Here’s the thing...

Costs don’t dictate price.

Inputs don’t dictate price.

Outputs don’t dictate price.

Deliverables don’t dictate price.

Even labor doesn’t dictate price.

Only one thing really matters when it comes to setting an acceptable price:

The perceived value in the mind of the buyer.