The Future of How We Price Items for Sale
Currently there are no laws against all-in-one pricing. I propose we do, and here's why.
Shopping in North America, and I guess the rest of the world, can be confusing sometimes. When we see shop prices we don't think much of them. Stores already have tactics to make us all believe that prices are lower than they really are. We've all heard the reasons why prices end with the number nine. We know stores play psychological tricks on us. We have all accepted this, and I'm okay with that, but when you get to the counter it's not even that marked price! None of us ever complain about this and I find that extremely unfortunate.
There's this thing called sales tax. I don't know why we all ignore this every time we buy things. A lot of us can't even calculate our own taxes when we've lived in a city for years. Sales taxes generally doesn't change that much from year to year. Why is it so hard to include the sales tax to the advertised price? This is, in a way, false advertising. You are not paying the price advertised. There are laws against false advertisement. The problem is that all of the stores do this, so in a way, stores can get away with it claiming that yes, that is the price we pay, but the government is charging the extra percentage.
Taxes aren't the only additional costs that some advertised sales get away with. There are also service fees for things like disposal fees, environmental fees, ticket service fees, etc. New buyers aren't always aware of these additional fees until they reach the counter. I'm sure this becomes an awkward situation when the sales representative brings up the fees when the customer is just about to buy the product or service.
Service fees and taxes add up and eventually it's not even close to the store's advertised price. Yet they get away with this all the time. Currently, there are no laws against these tactics.
I think the government should really look into this for the greater good of society. If sales companies continue with this tactic, it's only going to look bad for governments. When a store tells the customer that the item actually costs more due to tax they're making the government/tax look like the bad guy in the situation. Taxes already have a bad reputation and this isn't helped when people are constantly reminded of this extra cost whenever they make their daily purchases. This becomes a terrible mentality that makes people angry with taxes and forget the benefits of paying taxes. Schools, programs, roads, hospitals, police, and fire departments are all funded by these taxes, but that's an overall picture that gets forgotten at the moment of purchase.
We don't teach about money or taxes to students in school, so at an early age they're taught to hate taxes not knowing that they benefit from taxes. This could perpetually develop more income tax evaders. A person's income usually increases as they age and if they continue to avoid income taxes this could be a messy situation later in their lives. Or maybe the country is at a loss because of millions of dollars in lost tax revenue.
Stores could easily include the tax and whatever service fees they require to add. They can make the amount whatever they want but they don't because this would make their products look more expensive than their competition. If we legislate that all stores have to include all hidden fees such as taxes and service charges when they advertise it makes the market into an even playing ground.
People also travel to different cities in different countries. It's a courtesy to tourists to have prices that are clear and concise because taxes and service fees change from city to city. How are tourists supposed to keep track of all of the different tax and service rates when they're traveling from country to country?
We've seen perfect examples of all in one advertised prices when we look at gas prices. With advertised gas prices taxes are already included in the cost. We don't question the price advertised for gas even though there are taxes included in their advertised price. You don't see people complaining about taxes when they purchase gas because the total cost is already included. People just generally complain about the cost of gas. Those tax dollars can be used to help repair roads and highways. There are hidden fees in that full cost as well. In some places environmental fees are included in gas prices. In Canada, they do a good job in describing in the receipt all of the hidden costs so that consumers understand where their money goes. I think this would be a good example of how we should be selling everything in stores.
I think consumers would be allowed to shop a little more carefree knowing that the price advertised will be the price that they pay at the counter. No one should need a calculator or contingency plan when making a simple purchase. It makes everything a lot easier and that's really beneficial to everyone. Let's stop this accepted false advertising and make legislation to have all in one prices.
The only hiccup I could see is online purchases. Shipping could be a factor that changes from user to user. You have to figure out what shipping company you want to use and depending on where you live the cost will change. That's something already a bit of a problem when I go online shopping, but I'm sure there are ways to remedy this. It would only be one thing to have to worry about when you don't have to worry about other unknown hidden costs.