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Sunday, November 14, 2010

Be wary of these major price-gougers.

Everything sold to consumers is subject to mark-ups; it's how businesses make their money. But sometimes the scope of these mark-ups goes far beyond what is reasonable, and verges on the absurd. Most consumers willingly pay these exorbitant asking prices, but many never realize the extent to which their cost has been inflated. So if you want to make the most of your dollars, beware these ten major price-gougers.


Sports stadiums are one of the main culprits here, where the mark-up on food and drink makes you wonder why you paid so much for the ticket. Food at sporting events can cost as much as double where you would find it elsewhere, while a single beer will typically run more than $10.
 But the biggest gouging on concessions comes from movie theatres, where the mark-up on popcorn usually brings in considerably more profit than the movie. How much are they jacking the price? Anywhere from 900 to 1,200 percent.
Bottled water

Noticed that it’s increasingly hard to find water fountains these days? Blame it on the marketing geniuses who convinced us that bottled water is something we should be spending our money on. Companies that sell bottled water are taking a resource that we can normally access for mere pennies, and selling it to us for $2 or more per bottle. And if you think bottled water is cleaner than what comes out of the tap, consider this: many water-bottling companies take their supply directly from municipal water sources before selling it to consumers at a 4,000 percent mark-up.

Restaurants drinks

No one will contest the pleasure of having a glass of wine with dinner, but it’s a luxury we pay for dearly. When compared to typical retail prices, bottles of wine can have a mark-up of anywhere from 300 to 500 percent in restaurants. Non-alcoholic drinks are no better, with soft drinks typically carrying even greater mark-ups. You’re better off asking for water

Gas Stations

Be wary of the items you pass by in the gas station, where convenience can come at a costly premium. The price on snacks and drinks will usually be jacked considerably above what they go for in other stores, as are car care items like motor oil and windshield washer fluid. But the biggest gouging is on premium gasoline, which typically carries a mark-up of at least 15 percent. Unless your owner’s manual advises otherwise, it’s best to stick with your basic regular


Next time you’re jonesing for your caffeine fix, consider this: although a daily cup of coffee may seem like a bargain at $1.50 per cup, the beans that it’s made with probably cost no more than thirty cents. Grind them up, add some hot water and a 500 percent profit has been made. And if that seems like a raw deal, don’t even think about going for the premium, gourmet drinks.

Everyone knows that the items in a hotel mini-bar are overpriced, but you might not realize just how much that bag of peanuts has been marked-up. Mini-bar items can cost as much as 400 percent more than they would in a retail store. But if you absolutely must have those eight dollar jellybeans, you may want to consider forgoing the in-room movie. They are usually marked-up by around 200 percent.

 Brand name medication

Compare the price of any brand name medication with its generic counterpart and you’ll see just how much profit is being made by big drug companies. Brand name medications typically use the same primary ingredients as the generic brands, like ibuprofen or acetaminophen in painkillers. But when the bottle is branded with a recognizable name, you can expect to pay at least 60 percent more.

Grocers are a great place to stock up on fresh produce, but if you prefer not to get gouged it’s best to stay away from pre-cut fruits and vegetables. The convenience they provide will cost you at least an extra 40 percent. Expect an even higher mark-up if you prefer your food to be organic, which will result in an extra 50 percent on top of that.

Some say you can’t put a price on beauty, but the cosmetics industry would probably disagree; they put a price on beauty every day and make billions doing it. Consumers are willing to shell out big bucks for cosmetics, which often consist of little more than dyes and dirt. The mark-up on these beauty products ranges anywhere from 80 to 90 percent.
Text messaging

Many cellular phone plans include unlimited text messaging these days, and for good reason. Transmitting a text costs next to nothing for cellular service providers, but they typically charge 20 cents or more each to the consumer. Exceed your plan’s allotted number of texts and you could be in for a big surprise on your next bill. And if paying those extra dollars doesn’t seem all that bad, consider this: each one of your extra texts just earned your service provider a 6000 percent profit


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