Bend over

What’s immediately profitable is the only kind of logic that capitalism understands.
~Susan George

It’s a fact of life that companies will try to screw you over with their products. I remember when I first started working in the pet trade. My boss handed me a container of fish food. He said that you should feed your fish no more than they can eat in five to ten seconds. The back of the fish food container suggested feeding your fish as much as they can eat in two to five minutes. After having kept fish for seven or eight years, I can tell you that even two minutes is a lot of fucking fish food. Fish die from overfeeding.

And it’s not just fish food. Laundry detergent. Cell phones. Banks. Cars.

There are a hundred thousand ways companies can weedle you out of more money. Think of those meal deals you can get at fast and fast casual joints. Did you really need all that food, or are you buying it because it’s such a great deal? Restaurants make a killing off of soda. Soda is ridiculously cheap…so cheap that many places let their employees get free soda. But I paid $2.25 last night for a soda at Carino’s. Considering they just had to wash the glasses, they made easily $2 in profit…multiplied by the eight other people at my table alone. If soda really did cost $1.60 (the cost of a fountain drink at my work), I wouldn’t get away with taking home a free drink every night. Although come to think of it, I get free food half the time anyway, so maybe they really wouldn’t care.

The only way to protect yourself is to read the fine print, ask questions, and, above all, use your brain. Read the back of everything you buy. Yes, that is a single can of Spagetti-o’s. You’re going to eat all of it, aren’t you? Read the back…how many servings are in that can? Two, at least. Bottled sodas are a little better now…they at least offer nutrition facts for both the “serving” and the “bottle.”

Call and bitch. Overdraft fee? Ask to have it removed. Five minutes isn’t much when you could possibly get back thirty-five bucks. If they say “no,” well, at least they had to deal with one more pissed off person. Same thing with outrageous phone fees.

Don’t use so much. Use the bare minimum of laundry detergent. Keep phone conversations brief…use the internet, or, better still, talk face-to-face. You’ll save money. And take a calculator with you next time you buy a car.

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2 Responses to “Bend over”

  1. Dargon Says:

    My first employer ran a concession stand. In terms of the costs of syrup and carbonated water that goes into that cup of soda, we’re talking maybe $0.02 cost to the stand owner. The paper cup cost more than the contents. Truth be told, that’s where lots of these places make their profit. Hot dogs pulled a tiny profit, while drinks were pulling multi thousand percent profits. Fries are a similar story. A common strategy at burger joints is to sell the burgers at a loss, but the fries and drinks at such a high profit that they more than compensate the loss on the burger. That’s economics for you.

    My favorite fuck-over is text messages. Let’s look at the no-plan cost of 20 cents per message. The maximum text message size is 160 charaters. Each charater takes 1 byte. So if you sent nothing but 160 character texts, it would cost 1 cent per 8 characters/bytes. Now for some fun. AT&T has a 200 MB data plan for $35. 200 MB worth of texts costs you $1250 dollars. Yes, thats one THOUSAND, two hundred fifty dollars. My math is good. Their texting plans, their 200 text plan, which is $5, gives you a mere .032 MB, while their 1500 plan, at $15, gives a mere .24 MB. In order to get the same deal the data plan offers in terms of texts, using the unlimited text plan ($20), you must send 714,285 text messages. And every one of those messages must be the full 160 characters. So unless you’re sending 3/4 of a million texts per month, you are getting screwed.

    Needless to say, I don’t text.

    • cwnmamau Says:

      I don’t text either and I hate it when others text me. It is one service I hope goes the way of the dodo, although from its popularity, it won’t. I find texting in many cases ruder than actually being on the damn phone.

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