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How do some places make money?

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I was just reading one of my favorite websites, and somebody posted a new deal from Viking office supplies. Buy $25 worth of stuff and get a free DVD player.

I did need to buy some new padded mailers and Shelly needed a particular model of "highlighter" marker that was her favorite. I added both to my cart, and by undivine providence, the total came to $25.08. I added the magic DVD-player code, but it told me they were out of stock. Instead, they were sending me an AM-FM CD boom-box.

On top of it all, though, is that it must be sent in two boxes. One box will contain the mailers and radio, while the other will contain the marker. Now then, it must certainly cost many times the value of a $1.50 marker to box and ship.

I don't mind getting some deals, but my mind still boggles at the business models of some places. Reminds me of the heyday of 1998 and 1999 when I'd routinely get $25-off coupons for pets.com, which I'd use to buy a 40-lb bag of dog food, paying only the $6 for shipping. Of course, it cost more than $6 to UPS me the dog food, so they were losing money on the deal at every turn.

Of course, pets.com isn't around anymore.
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