no such thing as a fee lunch
Sunday's Washington Post has this interesting article on the proliferation of fees that are tacked onto bills for everything from airline tickets to cell phone service to banking. The article does a good job of summarizing the complexities of nickel-and-dime surcharges, which I personally tend to find quite annoying. The concept of paying money to a company simply for the privilege of doing business with them particularly rankles--I'm looking at you, Ticketmaster, although banks are equally guilty--especially since companies no doubt factor the cost of the transaction into the transaction itself. As the article points out, fees and service charges make it difficult for the consumer to comparison-shop for the best value. (Dilbert cartoonist Douglas Adams dubbed industries like banks and phone companys, which offer essentially the same serivces and create arcane sets of "plans" and "fee schedules" to avoid preseting consumers with a clear value proposition, "confusopolies.") But the bottom line, so to speak, is that consumers, myself included, pay those nickel-and dime--or rather buck-or-two--fees, and many probably do so without particularly notcing.