Every day we deal with something we probably shouldn't, but what is so widely accepted that shouldn't be?
Here were some of the answers.
A Scalper By Any Other Name
Ticketmaster and their resale policies. We arrest/fine/ticket people who scalp outside of venues but it's perfectly legal to resell the tickets on ticketmaster or stubhub because the website gets a kickback and that's just messed up to me.
Also processing/convenience fees when no other option to purchase exists.
Not Just A Board Game
Not sure how "scam" this is considered but, internet package prices. It is super easy and cheap to provide basic internet speeds these days with the foundation we've already laid so when ISP's charge insane amounts for a mediocre package that's very much abusing their regional monopoly powers.
Not My Info
Having to give your email address out to basically any company you buy something from so they can spam your inbox. Yes, I'm aware you can unsubscribe, but it's a pain in the *ss. I've got a life to live and it doesn't involve meticulously curating my email inbox on a regular basis.
Fees Fees Fees
When I bought my car in August, I hammered out all the details before closing on Tuesday, leaving with a written price and a promise to come back the next day with the check from my credit union. Wednesday morning I come in with everything ready, only to have the person looking at the final paperwork with me quickly gloss over the $150 documentation fee. I stopped them there and said I'd brought a check for $x, not $x+$150. They insisted it was necessary and non-negotiable, I insisted I'd take my business elsewhere, have a good morning. They hemmed and hawed about it, but eventually got permission to lower the price of the car $150 so my check would be enough. I tend to let people walk all over me, so I was really proud of myself for standing up this time.
Payday loans. I haven't ever done one but they are obviously all over and they prey on poor decisions made by poor people.
Hundreds if not thousands of percent interest just because people can't get out of the trap that they put you into. Predatory lending is just awful.
People get into this routine and can't get out because they are drowning in fees.
A few weeks ago I was in London, enjoying many of the completely free museums they have to offer. I wondered why such world famous museums would be free when they could easily charge money. I saw a sign that said, "this Museum is made free due to lottery funds." And I thought it was really really cool how lottery taxation and profits in London go towards making something so amazing free. I don't know how much lottery money in the states really does go to helpful causes, but I hope it's a lot and isn't just a scam.
Textbooks, at least at US universities.
Depending on the subject they can cost anywhere from $100-$400 USD per book. New editions are released annually to ensure that the content remains up to date. (and the price remains high)
For an egregious example: I had a graduate level economics course that required a $300 textbook ($150 when rented for the semester) which actually had an "international version" available online that was the exact same book but instead cost $60 retail. The only thing is that the book was listed as being"not for distribution in the US".
Snake Olive Oil
When I was pregnant with my youngest my fiancee and I went to some pan demonstration. They wanted to sell us these "miracle pans" that you can stack and cook everything on one burner and it was just complete bullshit. The absolute gem was when they said if you use nonstick pans you are giving yourself cancer. Also if you use anything except super expensive pans then they are just made of Chinese metals and full of stuff that will give you cancer. So basically if you use anything but their pans you are cooking with cancer! Dude was absolutely incredulous when I told him I wasn't interested in buying them because I was a cook and not impressed.
It's Gonna Die
Consumers spend good money to buy products that are designed to fail or become obsolete in order to stimulate further sales.
Not only that, but replacement parts become unavailable or are so expensive to buy and install that consumers end up replacing the item completely, even though it should have much more useful life.
Money Is My Nourishment
Food labels! "Good Source of Whole Grains" on sweetened cereal....."All-Natural" on orange and apple juice...."No High-Fructose Corn Syrup" on bread that has bleached white flour and some other form of sugar.
The best is "Low-Fat"....when we're finding out that "fat" was never the issue!!! It was the sugar and carbs that cause diseases. The food industry is biggest scam in the world!!!
Tone For Fools
LPT for toner. The way your printer detects the level of toner is to continuously shine a laser (or infrared) beam from a source to a receiver; this beam goes through plastic windows on your toner cartridge.
When the cartridge is full, the beam can't make it to the receiver, but as the toner is used, the beam can be detected.
To avoid this, place duct tape over the plastic windows, and the beam can never make it. I seriously got over 500 more pages by doing this trick.
Monopoly Ain't Just A Board Game
Local utilities monopoly. Comcast sucks but nothing compares to my city that charges me 50$/mo for water and 70$/mo for sewer. They raised the sewer price to pay for some renovations but never lowered it. And here I am thinking maintaining the system should be part of their regular operating budget and not something we all have to pay extra for.
Plans, Scams, And Automobiles
Extended warranties on second hand vehicles. Especially when the warranty is void before you've even driven it off the lot. Sales people like to push them because they get commission on it, but most of them have clauses.
E.g. the car has to have a full service history (yet they sell them on cars without a full service history) or the car has to have a full service history and must always have been serviced at the dealer (yet the car they're selling has a full service history, but has been serviced at a third party workshop once and not always at the dealer).
Then there is the fact that even if the car DOES have a full service history and has always been serviced at a dealer, the insurance company will ALWAYS find a reason why they don't have to pay claims. The most common one being that the damage is wear and tear and because of that it's not covered.
Listing prices as $xx.99 to make them seem cheaper.
It's a psychology trick. It works. We see 199.99 and think "That is less than 200." But it's exploiting human security vulnerabilities.
And worst of all, we could have all these beautiful, round numbers. But instead we end up with a bunch of nines everywhere. Zeroes are more orderly than nines and deserve more respect.
Seems Like We Should Do Something About This
Health insurance in the United States.
I personally shell out 200 per check for insurance. So around 4800 per year. Then I still have to pay 2500 out of pocket before insurance will cover. Not included are prescriptions and doctor visit copays, which are hit and miss depending on the insurance.
An Existential Crisis
Kinda late, so likely gonna be buried, but I can't believe no one mentioned the Rat Race.
You get, at best, a century on this planet. One fifth or more is just figuring out who you are, how to walk and talk, learning how the world works and so on - and then you slave your life way selling your labor to make the owners of your company more money while you waste away at the seams.
You constantly have to struggle with financial burdens that are not only taxing on the very limited time you have, but also on the very core of your soul.
You are burdened with rising rents, financial disasters that you have little control over, and being at the whim of powerful people able to wage war using you and your brethren as cannon fodder for their own gain.
We have the technology to give every single person the highest standard of living, and it is achievable. But we cannot come together on these issues because the very basic unit of measurement we have, which is our time, is constantly sapped away by the powerful.
It's the greatest scam of all, because we feel we have no choice but to buy into it.