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At a local hardware store, most of the people who walk to the store to buy a particular item pay $\$3$ for it, while most of the people who drive there pay $\$4$ for the same type of thing. But it turns out that there is a perfectly rational reason for this trend.

What product am I referring to, and what explains the disparity in price?

The store does not charge for parking, and does not offer delivery.

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closed as too broad by w l, gabbo1092, rhsquared, Glorfindel, Khale_Kitha Jul 10 at 22:43

Please edit the question to limit it to a specific problem with enough detail to identify an adequate answer. Avoid asking multiple distinct questions at once. See the How to Ask page for help clarifying this question. If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

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    $\begingroup$ With the hint (which is not really a hint, by the way, it's a clarification), there are many plausible answers, and no way for the answerer to tell which is the intended one. Some ways to arrive at an answer: drivers buy heavier items, walkers buy an item for their house rather than their car, there are two entrances, and the parking lot side has a bargain bin next to it, etc. etc. It would be a good idea to narrow down the possibilities. $\endgroup$ – Bass Jul 10 at 9:00
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    $\begingroup$ I feel this "riddle" is too vague. As @Bass said, there's many different answers. It could be any item and the reason drivers buy more is because they can physically transport more (nails, plywood, hammers, etc). It could be window cleaner and drivers buy more because they buy some for their car windows, too. $\endgroup$ – Mat Jul 10 at 12:47
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    $\begingroup$ After seeing the intended answer, I think this is an excellent puzzle. May I suggest removing the hint though? That's where all the ambiguity comes from, and the puzzle stands on its own quite nicely without it. $\endgroup$ – Bass Jul 10 at 13:05
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    $\begingroup$ After seeing the intended answer, in my opinion there are so many assumptions that have to be made to arrive at the answer that it is little more than a game of "guess what I'm thinking." (And, I suspect the number of real hardware stores where this holds true, even as just a trend, is quite small) $\endgroup$ – tmpearce Jul 10 at 15:08
  • $\begingroup$ If the current "house numbers" answer is correct, this question is very country-specific. Thankfully the currency units provide a clue though. $\endgroup$ – Toby Wilson Jul 10 at 15:24
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I guess:

House numbers, like the ones you put on the front of your house to indicate your address.

Suppose the hardware store is at the center of town, where the street addresses start at 000 and get bigger as you get farther away. If people live close enough to walk there (say within 9 blocks), they have addresses in the 000-999 range. So they only need to buy 3 digits, at \$1 apiece, for \$3 total. People who drive to the store live farther away, so they have houses with addresses 1000-9999, and need 4 digits, at \$1 apiece, for \$4 total.

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    $\begingroup$ Congrats! This is the answer that I had in mind. Though I suppose that others are possible. $\endgroup$ – dan04 Jul 10 at 12:47
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I dont think its the right answer but still it makes some sence to me:

Maybe the trick is that company usually charges extra for drive windows, like in McDonalds you can order inside or you can order from your car, and maybe for example people who go inside usually eat inside, so they dont need packaging, and people who eat in the car need all food to be properly packaged and that can cost 1$.

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Maybe the item is

a key?
People who walk to the store might have lost their car keys so they have to walk there, while people who drive to buy a key probably lost their house keys or just need to get a new one, which could result in the price difference (though i'm not so sure that house keys cost more than car keys...)

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    $\begingroup$ What I like about this answer is that it at least attempts to approach the question in a way where the driver doesn't just "buy more of something". However, hardware stores typically only copy keys, unless you're buying new door lock hardware (which would not apply to cars). $\endgroup$ – Dark Thunder Jul 10 at 13:39
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Potting soil. Someone buying for an entire garden drives so as to be able to lug a large pack. Someone buying for a couple of window boxes can walk. But the small pack costs more per quantity than the larger, so it winds up costing $\frac34$ of the large one.

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The people who are walking to the store are not pay for the gas, while those driving to the store are paying for the gas of their vehicle.

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  • $\begingroup$ Four bucks for gas? Man, that's cheap. I wish gas was that cheap :D $\endgroup$ – Hugh Jul 10 at 6:18
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    $\begingroup$ Well, from my answer I meant the gas costs $1, while the commodity they are buying is $3. $\endgroup$ – CMSnoob Jul 10 at 6:29
  • $\begingroup$ That was my first thought $\endgroup$ – Mohirl Jul 10 at 11:45
  • $\begingroup$ @Hugh unless it's four bucks... per litre! *gulp* $\endgroup$ – Mr Pie Jul 11 at 1:06
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Another possibility:

If this is an area where most people drive, then perhaps the pedestrians are generally people who are too young to get a license. In which case, a product that comes in adult and child sizes might cost less for the smaller size.

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The clue is what they need the purchase for when they get home :

They are all buying driveway/path/patio cleaner.
Those that walk buy the standard cleaner at \$3 The drivers need the 'super' version at \$4, but that one will clean the oil spots from where they park the car

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