Saturday, May 23, 2015

Are You Paying Too Much Stupidity Tax?

It never ceases to amaze me how many people think that how much money they have -- and spend -- is an index of their worth as people and sophistication as consumers.

Wine has one function -- to get you drunk, same as beer. Oh, you drink it for the taste?  Right. When was the last time you drank a six-pack of diet coke at one sitting, or split a 2-litter bottle of root beer you paid $40 for? Never and never.

The idea that something is better because it is expensive is the oldest con in the world -- made real by constant repetition of the con man's favorite line: "you get what you pay for." That's less often true than not.

Price-gouging the fancy folks with their sniffing pretensions of respectability and "special" knowledge is the oldest game in town. People want the best to show THEY are the best.

We see it in veterinary offices, don't we? Spend $130 for a spay or neuter at a local humane society clinic, and you will be told "you get what you pay for." Really? Actually, you will get a better job done at a low-cost spay-neuter clinic simply because they do so many of them and are practiced. And what about a dog with a simple pulled muscle? The vet will charge you a fortune and you will think he is better because of it! Vets know this and load on the charges as a consequence.

The same phenomenon occurs in human health care, where the same medicines, made in the same factories in Puerto Rico, are sold to Americans at three times the price that folks in Mexico, Canada, or Europe pay. We are supposed to think we get better health care because we pay more, but in fact statistics show we get worse health care at twice the price. Some bargain!

How about dog food? Folks who spend too little time with their dogs, till have sniffing pretensions about being "better" owners than other people, and they prove it to themselves by paying too much for dog food, and never mind if no dog food has ever been shown to be better than another.

And how about dogs? The health and working abilities of Kennel Club dogs are demonstrably worse than cross-bred dogs, and almost no one serious about hunting, pulling, or herding, is looking to the show ring for their animals. And yet, here too, folks pay big dollars not for health or performance but because of sniffing pretension and misguided values and the suggestion that if you pay more you will get a better dog.  That's rarely true!

So, to come back to it:  If you're broke, one question to ask yourself is how big a stupidity tax you are paying. For many folks this is one of their single biggest line-item expenses.


seeker said...

Our local Animal Defense League charged me $65. for my Katie's spay and $60. for Snicker's neuter and the price included microchipping. We also have a vet service that comes to a local feed store. They charge $10 for the 1 yr rabies. and $6. for the HW test if you buy a years worth of Heartguard, price depending on weight of dog. Unfortunately, they don't either one do dentals. I'm hesitant to have my old dogs teeth done as he's approx 14 years old. I've been told there is a risk to go along with the $400. vet bill. (He has seizures.) So, you can certainly save a lot of money if you look around. Just do your homework and you can save a lot of money.

Mary Pang said...

Not your area of expertise but this is rampant in women's fashion and cosmetics.