Sunday, November 18, 2007

The fluctuating price of gasoline has made me pay more attention to the price of everything. This has become more important to me now that I’m retired. The little gas station down the road from me is part of the adjacent chain grocery store. They must have a guy who does nothing but change prices on the gasoline sign. I have noticed the price listed on the sign to change two and even there times in a day. It’s interesting to me how they must pay X number of dollars for one of those big tanker trunks to fill up their underground tank and then vary the price so much. It seems reasonable that they would set a profit margin for the contents of that tank of gas and not change until they have a refill. That’s not the way it works. The price of gasoline from that supply may vary 20 cents or more. Someone is ripping me off.

It’s not just gasoline. Recently, I have been Christmas shopping with my partner. We have been looking at jewelry for the grandkids. In a major department store the price of a single piece of jewelry will vary several times during the day. We looked at some earrings that were 60% off. They were giving another 30% off until 1:00PM. You could then get a twenty dollar rebate with a coupon. I decided to wait a little longer in hopes they would pay me to take the merchandise.

I have started playing their pricing game. For instance in a fast food restaurant where the drinks have free refills, never pay for a large drink. Just go back with your small cup as much as you like and save over a dollar. You have to be stupid to pay for the large size if you plan to eat in the restaurant. It’s not a bad idea to have the grandkids bring in a clean cup from home and you can give the whole family a drink from your refillable small cup.

To analyze a medical bill takes an accountant. No one ever pays the amount stated on the bill. For example, in the case of Medicare, the bill may state three or fours thousand dollars, but neither Medicare or the insurance company every pays near that much. The medical facility apparently just writes off what is not paid by insurance. Medicare sets a maximum allowable payment for a service. They pay 80% and the supplement insurance pays 20%. You pay nothing regardless of what the statement says. If you pay anything the doctor goes to jail for fraud.

They need to start putting some of the merchants in jail for fraud for the way they vary the price. Even on the porch where I think I’m safe from all the thieves in pursuit of my dollar, I’m being robbed. The air conditioning and heat to keep me comfortable are costing a fortune and to figure the pricing for this utility takes more than an accountant. Even the CIA and FBI together are forbidden to probe the secrets of the utility pricing. My porch as a kid was a lot better. It was open and Mother Nature took care of the air conditioning. Gasoline was also 16 cents a gallon and the service station attendant checked the oil, cleaned the windshield and sweep the floor board of the car.


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