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"five & dime"

Posted by Bob on January 03, 2007

In Reply to: "Five & dime" posted by Brian from Shawnee on January 03, 2007

: : Hi,

: : I couldn't find the phrase "five & dime" store in your list.
: : My understanding is the term refers to stores adopting a strategy of giving back a nickel and or dime in change to make the customer feel like he is getting extra money in return.

: : Also couldn't find "nickel and dime"ing someone.

: No, the term "five & dime" refers to the selling price of typical merchandise in that type of store. Even back in the old days, five or ten cents wasn't a lot of money, but there were a lot of useful things you could buy for that amount.

: My mother and grandmother always called it the "five and ten", so "five and dime" has always sounded odd to me.

: I often refer to my cars with the term "nickel and dime". I'll get rid of my '95 Saturn when it starts "nickel and diming" me, or in other words, when it starts needing a repair every month or two.

F.W. Woolworth opened his first "5 and 10" in Utica, New York in 1878. A nickel and a dime had some buying power then. There
s a good article in Wikipedia about the phenomenon.

And there's the song:

It was a lucky April shower
It was a most convenient door
I found a million dollar baby in a five and ten cent store
The rain continued for an hour
I hung around for three our four
Around a million dollar baby in a five an ten cent store
She was selling china
And when she made those eyes
I kept buying china until the crowd got wise
If you should run into a shower
Just step inside my cottage door
And meet the million dollar baby from the five and ten cent store