Tuesday, October 5

Sticker Shock

Don't forget them pesky Tax & Fees!! I think after living on the east coast most of my life -- specifically New Jersey -- I've kind of become accustomed to The Cost of Things.

Like, The Real Cost of Things, after a mark-up, or a mark-down. Maybe because I'm used to things either being real expensive (and/or possibly worth the price) or living near meccas of manufacturing, where you know what raw materials actually cost.

Like, when people warn me about a place because, "it's really expensive out there", I always come home confused because it didn't really seem all that bad.

Seven bucks for a beer, ten bucks for a cocktail? Shocking, yes, but I have paid it before. Four bucks a gallon for gas? Yes, seen it too. And although I am thoroughly opposed on principle, I have, and would again, spend more than $150 on a pair of shoes.

I nerd out with stuff like this.
But all this does not mean I have money to burn. If anything, I'd describe myself as very cost-conscious, like, to a fault. I am the loser that inspects unit prices at the grocery store, and calculates 20% in-store discounts versus cost of buying online minus S/H.

We went camping this weekend, and when I get into the process of planning things, with my trusty five-column analysis pad and calculator, you can expect to see a line-item breakout of every item consumed, purchased, and even cost of waste (i.e. burned marshmallows, unfinished cans of beer, etc.) I then figure out how much everyone owes, to the penny, even deducting extra expenses incurred, down to the seventy-five cents that you borrowed for a candybar.

(I'm weird that way. So what.)

Except halfway through the weekend, the general consensus was to just chuck my elaborate pencil-n-paper mathematical systems, and call all the extra purchases a wash. "Just split the cost for the campsite & cabins equally, Tone." Even though some people had contributed more (much more) than others, as long as everyone was ok with swallowing their extra costs, then dividing the campsite costs evenly between everyone, it would make the accounting a piece of cake. It'll make it easier for you, was what everyone mutually agreed upon.

Well as it turns out, not everyone, actually.

Obviously, for the people who skipped out on sleeping in the heated cabins and slept in the tents outside all weekend, there was much disagreement. Of course. I mean, the notion of sleeping in the cold in a tent (willingly), and still paying the same as the folks who slept on cushy bunks in cabins with heat, flat screen TVs, and running water seems like a total inequality.

But I guess the bigger mistake was saying that we were "splitting the accomodations equally". Because, for example, some folks who brought a lot of beer and weren't getting reimbursed, then slept in the tents too... they were also paying that same amount. I'm sure they would think it was unfair too.

Or how about the fact that I BOUGHT ALL THE FOOD! LOL. I don't mind that I paid for all the food, and then I also didn't mind splitting the campsite cost equally. I did sleep quite well in the warm cabin. So, shouldn't I be the one complaining?!

Hahahah, but I'm not. And I wouldn't. And actually, NO ONE has the right to complain about it, because I think (and here's the point of today's rambling blog) --- everyone's forgotten about the Real Cost of Things.

I made sure there was dish soap, hand soap, toilet paper, paper towels, plates, napkins, foil, ziploc bags, bread, buns, burgers, anti-bacterial gel, extension cords, buckets for water, buckets for dishes, matches, flashlights, bug spray, itch cream, advil, Gas-X, milk, eggs, PAM spray, coffee, sugar, Splenda, Sweet & Low, Equal, creamer, stirrers, dish towels, extra chairs, bacon, empty can for bacon grease, spatula, playing cards, breakfast food, peanut butter, granola bars, two sizes of marshmallows, citronella candles, a tent, and chip clips. And that's just for starters.

Paying into the cost of the campsite equally and then not having to worry about any of the above (and more. Believe me, there was much more.) -- to me, ya made out like a bandit, so shut your trap!!!

Hahahahah. Seriously, I'm not upset about it, but it does baffle me how sometimes people forget what things cost. And then they have a serious case of sticker shock, and it always cracks me up. Sorry folks, but unless you're going stay at home, and not use the power, the gas, or the Internet, life is gonna cost you.

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Ever "go in" on a gift for someone? It's super easy to hand someone your twenty dollar bill, and then be glad to sign a card for a forty-dollar gift. But the card costs. So did the wrapping. So did the gas for the trip to the mall. The time it took to go to the mall, and buy all that crap. And then wrap the gift, and be the one to haul it to the party.

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However, despite all of this bellyaching, you should know that even Toni Ryan herself often experiences sticker shock, and this is actually what inspired today's blog-o-rant:

I was looking up how much it might cost to take a weekend trip to London. Might be fun for a group of friends, and a good situation for not having to "split the cost" on anything.

But every scenario, every season, and every airline kept averaging above $500 to fly round trip between Newark & Heathrow.
Wheeee! Taxes are GREAT!!!
And then ... I saw it:

Total Airfare $210.00

And then ... I saw all of it:

Total Airfare... $210.00
Airfare taxes and fees... $410.20

Total trip cost... $620.20

Yes of course. Taxes & Fees. Duh. How could I be so naive??

So there it is, The Real of Things.

Don't forget about those Four Hundred Dollars-worth of Taxes & Fees.


  1. I think going in on gifts, or splitting the cost of something, is only fair in very few circumstances. I remember going out to a birthday dinner for my brother a few years ago (at Cheesecake Factory, which is not an inexpensive restaurant), and one of his friends decided that she would do the math to figure out how much everyone should put in. There were about 15 of us, and everyone else had been sharing appetizers and getting alcoholic drinks, but since I was vegan, I just ate my dinner and had water to drink. My brother's friend wanted me to put in like $50.00! Even if we were splitting my brother's meal, I still didn't feel like I should be paying that much. It's fine if everyone is sharing equally, but since I obviously wasn't, it definitely wasn't fair to me.

    I also agree with what you said about the gift sharing, because people don't tend to take into consideration the time and effort it takes to buy the gift and also pick out the card.

    I like splitting things like dinner or drinks, and used to do that with one of my friends all the time. She would never have realized it (just because she never paid attention to that kind of stuff), but her dinner was always a few dollars more than mine, and I just let it go because it was easier to do it that way. So it's not like I'm a penny pincher, lol-I just like things to be a little more fair, not totally outrageous :)

  2. Debbie!!! Your dinner-party story just made me nearly burst a coronary! That's the sort of stuff that really ticks me off... and why I'm always the first person to volunteer to figure out how to split everything evenly. In those cases, you figure out exactly what everyone owes (i usually calculate tax & tip too, if gratuity isn't already added in), then exactly what your brother would've owed, then divide your brother's portion by the 14 other people. Then you cross your fingers and hope when all the money is turned in, that the number is correct. 7 out of 10 times this works out just fine. There's always a moron in the group who likes to round DOWN. In which case, you hope for some person who hates getting change back.

    Oh this subject infuriates me. LOL. BTW, thanks for your addtl Pet Peeves... I agree 110%... Are we just angry little people?! hahaha.

  3. LOL!!!!!! We might be! :) But I like to think of it more like we are very conscientious and observant people! :)

    You are completely right about what SHOULD have been done at my brother's birthday dinner. I think I felt like I shouldn't speak up because I was younger than everyone else (only by a couple of years, but still). The kicker is-not even kidding you-the girl who figured everything out had majored in math in college!!!! Maybe she did the math correctly, but certainly not fairly!