American Scam

Ever since I came back to the USA in 2006 I’ve always felt like I’m under constant assault from businesses trying to separate me from my money. Do you want this service, that service, can I upsize that for you, have you heard about our whatever. To top it all I decided to quit the Democrats when some smarmy fundraiser called me and after I expressed my disinterest said “Well, if I could just getcha to get out your credit card…” That was it.

In fact, that is a perfect motto for the way America is today. “If I could just getcha to get out your credit card.” It is used by everyone, even trusted organizations like churches, doctor’s offices, you name it. They all want you to “just getcha to get out your credit card.” America is much more of a business than it is an actual country in my opinion.

Well, I’m pretty astute: I have a spreadsheet which maximizes cash back on the various credit cards, I know my stuff when it comes to computers and the internet and I’m just not easily separated from my money…. until tonight.

My wife wants to take the kids to the circus and to do that we needed to buy tickets. Well, the adult 12.95 price for the first 100 was, of course, sold out. Being in America I imagine “the first 100” promotion never was. So, I bought the $20 ticket for both of us which should have come out to 40 dollars. Unfortunately the link took us to the nefarious Ticketmaster and so, of course, it ended up being $65 with all the fees and taxes included. I get it, it was displayed and I agreed. But it was the next part that got me.

It asked if I wanted to “protect my purchase” and there was no cost associated displayed. So I went ahead and did it. Lo and behold there is a $7 charge x 2 tickets which didn’t appear on the final bill but came separately from Allianz. I was amazed and usually being pretty astute was sure someone else had fallen for it and sure enough, Reddit told me so. Link:

Most of the comments say to read the fine print but that is not a good justification. There is fine print on everything, often 10 pages long and with all the purchases I have to make for a family I don’t have time to read the fine print with every small purchase like this. Instead I just trusted that it would have been displayed which is how it is normally done. Hiding the charge in fine print and appearing after the purchase is made is how things are not done. It is sneaky and designed to get people to pay for something they thought was free.

But this being America, no, many companies will use every trick in the book to try to get you to spend just a little more. From micro-transactions in games, to the “membership discount” at Safeway there is always something you need be aware of in order to not pay more than you should. Hell, even the discounts are a trick. I get many discount offers from the car dealerships for service only to find out that those things are pretty much worthless. I even told the rep when I was in for service last and said “Yea, at those coupons are worthless at Melody Toyota too!”

So again, usually I’m pretty sharp but I was taken tonight. Oh well, live and learn and there is a LOT to learn about keeping your money in America.

That makes me wonder about the masses. I’m college educated and pretty sharp when it comes to saving money. But go visit the DMV, or a water park and see all those people with vulgar tattoos on their bodies. Surely they are not very astute with their money. I wonder how they survive? I mean the banks make a ton off overdraft fees and so profit from those that can afford it the least.

America, one big money trap, it is the American way! It is sad this has become so normalized in our society that it is now a matter of fact. God forbid the same day check cashing services that have sprouted up like weeds. If people were smart about their money those places would go out of business fast!

I don’t even have to use the shady check cashing places as my example but could use the mainstream banks to illustrate my point. Bank of America used to robocall me imploring me to “not let the thieves take away everything I had worked so hard to earn,” in trying to get me to sign up for theft protection service. You know, I thought that is why I put my money in the bank in the first place. Isn’t that one of their main reasons for existing?

It goes even further ladies and gentlemen. At least I would have had to press a button to sign up for the service, Wells Fargo will sign you up for things and charge you a fee even without your knowledge! The company with an All-American pioneering wagon as their logo charges you fees for things they sign you up for without your knowledge.

I can imagine things will only get worse from here as MBA students figure out new and “out of the box” ways to separate more people from their money. We cannot even answer the phone anymore because it is sure to be some scam or another with a recording saying the IRS is about to have the cops come arrest me or from the Chinese Embassy telling me there is a problem with my citizenship.

Anyway, I’m just a bit perturbed with myself for actually falling for a scam. Thank God I didn’t click any of the five, yes five, other offers that popped up after I had bought the tickets!

Categorized as Culture

By Mateo de Colón

Global Citizen! こんにちは!僕の名前はマットです. Es decir soy Mateo. Aussi, je m'appelle Mathieu. Likes: Languages, Cultures, Computers, History, being Alive! \(^.^)/