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No, this is not some weird fetish post about a past date that took an interesting turn (you guys seriously need to get your minds out of the gutter).
Instead I thought it would be interesting to reveal a couple of the tricks (one quite shady) I have experienced that businesses employ to separate consumers from their hard earn money.
Honey I Shrunk The Kids.
Most consumers are quite cost conscious when it comes to grocery shopping.
We typically remember prices of frequently purchased items and are thus quite sensitive to when a price increase occurs.
To avoid public outcry from simply raising the price of a particular item, manufacturers are getting quite savvy on how they pass increasing costs onto unsuspecting consumers.
Although we may remember a price for a particular item we often do not recall exactly the amount we are getting for that price.
Manufacturers exploit this consumer weakness by keeping the same price and packaging size but then subtly reducing the product contents.
This concept gives rise to the term “Shrinkflation.”
We are essentially paying the same price as before but now receiving less of the product.
The changes can be quite subtle and unless we memorize exactly how many ounces of cereal, etc for every product we buy we are none the wiser.
It is only when we happen to have a previous package and are able to do a direct side by side comparison (as what was done in the above link) can we really see the consumer manipulation going on.
This makes me think that the Consumer Price Index, which I feel is already a skewed representation of inflation, is even less accurate.
Unfortunately there is not much we can do about it even when we realize what is happening.
What is important to learn from this is that inflation is occurring all around us, whether we realize it or not, and we therefore must plan accordingly for our future selves to be able to retire comfortably.
Uncovering A Lie.
This next business practice I felt was extremely shady with the sole purpose of getting more money from me.
Several years ago I decided I wanted to upgrade my garage door opener as well as get a new garage door.
My old garage door opener was quite noisy with a chain driven system and I felt like it was on its last legs.
I also wanted to improve the actual garage door itself with a better insulated one that did not require maintenance.
I chose a local business that dealt solely with garage doors and openers.
I ended up going with an expensive door and a quieter belt-driven system.
The install went great and I was happy with my choice.
A year or so later I was having difficulty with the door closing as there would be an error reading on the control panel saying there was misalignment of the garage door sensors.
There are essentially 2 sensors facing each other at the bottom of the left and right guide rails.
If something breaks the beam between these sensors the garage door will not close as part of the safety mechanism.
With prolonged use these sensors invariable start to get misaligned and the garage door opener is fooled into thinking that there is an object in their path.
I called the installers and they sent a technician out to re-align the sensors.
I did not directly observe what was done but upon completion I asked the technician if there was a way that I could align the sensors myself when this happens in the future to avoid a service call.
He kind of skirted around the question saying it was challenging to get the sensors aligned and that it was best to just give the company another call when it happens again.
The cost of the service call was around $90.
I did not think too much of this and more than a year passed without incident.
I could tell the same issue was starting to crop up again with the garage door periodically not being able to close (I would sometimes bypass the safety mechanism by holding the close button continuously until the garage door did fully close).
I knew I would have to do another service call sooner or later but because it was not happening all the time I kept pushing it out.
One day I was on the garage floor working on another project with my head just inches from one of the garage door sensors.
I had noticed that the sensor was heavily wrapped with black electrical tape but some of it had come off just enough to see a portion of a small light source that was covered (the light was yellow).
Curious, I peeled off all the black tape and unveiled a small color changing LED bulb.
Suddenly it dawned on me that this bulb was an indicator to aid in aligning the sensors.
Sure enough the other sensor had a similar bulb after I removed all the tape that was purposely put there (this tape had absolutely no use functionally/structurally and happened to be the same color (I think by design) as the sensor so it blended in).
I was now able to manually adjust the sensor positions appropriately which was confirmed when each of the sensor bulbs turned green.
All the issues I had with the garage door closing were gone.
I was a bit furious that a company would employ such tactics in order to force its consumers to call them to service what would essentially be an easy DIY fix.
There are many practices businesses employ to manipulate consumers so that they can make more money.
As consumers we have to be hypervigilant so that we do not get taken advantage of.
Even the friendly local business may not be as friendly as they seem with ulterior motives in mind.
If you are in search of financial help, please consider enlisting the service of any of the sponsors of this blog who I feel are part of the “good guys and gals of finance.”
Even a steadfast DIY’er can sometimes gain benefit from the occasional professional input.
NOTE: The website XRAYVSN contains affiliate links and thus receives compensation whenever a purchase through these links is made (at no further cost to you). As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. Although these proceeds help keep this site going they do not have any bearing on the reviews of any products I endorse which are from my own honest experiences. Thank you- XRAYVSN