Saturday, August 21, 2010

While reading the July issue of THE WEEK, I came across this little factoid courtesy of USA Today that speaks to a large part of the state of our economy. The factoid stated the following: “American passenger airlines collected 1.86 billion in extra fees in the first quarter of 2010.” Notice the words “extra fees.” This little tidbit leaped out at me because at the time of reading it, I happened to be on vacation of which I had just taken an airplane to my destination (Thank God Air Jamaica did not charge a per bag fee). Now of course the thought that came to this critical thinker’s mind was a consumer has to pay for the airfare (which is already exorbitant) and then you have to pay for your bags (which are going on the SAME plane/flight), you may be charged for your movie (which is on the same flight); you may have to pay for your meal/drink (which is on the same flight); and recently I heard the proposal to actually charge passengers to use the toilet (which is on the same flight). When one critically thinks about this, one has to come to the conclusion that this is ridiculous. It’s just as ridiculous as having to pay an automated teller fee (ATM) to withdraw your own money. Wasn’t the point of the ATM to reduce costs by not having to have a live body (human teller that would have to be paid)? The consumer is being hit with extra fees for everything while at the same time extra compensation is not being added to his/her paycheck(if anything, it is being reduced). I just don’t understand where all of these companies are imagining that all of these extra fees are coming from and then they seem confused when consumers decide not to purchase anything and sales drop off causing a vicious cycle. Costs are out of line with salaries as it is and when you begin adding “extra fees”…………………. Something else to critically think about. By the way that 1.86 billion in “extra fees” was only for one quarter. Multiply 1.86 billion times four. I welcome your response. Did I mention the parachute packages and salaries of the CEO's of these companies?   

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