The early Quakers were the first to implement a fixed pricing policy, and this decision largely reflected their frustration over the Puritans’ failure to implement popular religious, economic, and political reforms. The Quakers were particularly frustrated with the merchant practices of the day, which included price setting, haggling, and “cozening and cheating, and defrauding.” They believed that the fixed pricing system would promote honesty and eliminate the greed that was so pervasive in their communities. Importantly, the fixed pricing policy also reflected the Quaker’s religious belief that all people were equal before God; they reasoned that if everyone was equal, everyone should pay the same price. At first, this policy had a negative impact on Quaker merchants, whose customers were suspicious about their refusal to bargain. However, customers eventually developed trust in the Quakers’ honest business practices, and their fixed pricing policy began to spread outside the community
The Quakers adopted fixed prices in order to support their values for honesty and equality, not because it would give them an advantage in the market; indeed, it was an unintended and fortunate side effect that their businesses eventually thrived. In this way, the fixed pricing policy was born out of a Moral System of Exchange but came to be associated with the Price System as it gained wide acceptance in other markets.
I’m not a Quaker, but I adapted fixed fee pricing to my law practice and offer my weekly satisfaction or your money back, no questions asked, guarantee to make fees more transparent, to give the client more control over what he/she pays, to reduce the risk a client takes when hiring a lawyer.
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