Sticker shock

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Sticker shock is an American idiom. We will examine the meaning of the idiom sticker shock, where it came from, and some examples of its use in sentences.

Sticker shock is the surprise, disgust, or anger one feels when discovering an item is priced much higher than anticipated. Sticker shock is an American idiom that came into use around 1980 and was first used when discussing much higher automobile prices. In the United States, new cars have a large price sticker attached to a window that lists the amenities of the automobile and the charges associated with those features. Around 1980, many safety and energy-saving features became mandatory in American cars, which made the prices for those cars jump. Today, sticker shock can apply to any consumer item that is priced higher than anticipated.


Already buffeted by disruptions of the coronavirus pandemic, some residents venturing out to test the waters of the slowly reopening local economy may face another surprise: sticker shock. (The Bowling Green Daily News)

If you’ve been grocery shopping lately, you may be suffering from sticker shock. (The Santa Rosa Press Democrat)

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said on Thursday that Democrats had decided against putting federal aid on autopilot to avoid heightening sticker shock in their $3 trillion coronavirus spending package. (The Business Insider)