A little while ago, Reddit user u/ihatenuts69 posed the question, "What scam is so normalized that people don't even notice?"
The thread quickly went viral with over 23,000 comments! Here are some of the top-voted responses:
1."'Service fees' are just an artificial way to pretend prices are lower than they really are. 'That's only $15!' (plus $10 in service fees). Just say it's $25!"
2."The fact that someone cut a chicken wing in half and managed to convince everyone it was two wings."
3."Cups with so much ice that you only get 4 ounces of a drink in a 20-ounce cup."
4."The fact that existing customers aren’t automatically moved to better deals once their contract ends. They hope you won’t switch and will pay the premium."
"This is why I left my first apartment complex after a year. They wanted to raise my rent $120 per month. When I told them I would not be renewing, they listed my apartment for the same monthly rate I had been paying all along."
"I just quit my gym membership because of this. They had big posters advertising the new low rate, but they wouldn’t switch me to that without paying an exorbitant fee. Fuck them. I’ll never go to one of their gyms ever again."
5."MLMs (multilevel marketing)."
"Moms Losing Money."
"It pisses me off how true this is. It's kicking families at their most stressed out and desperate."
6."So many scams in dentistry. I’ve been in the industry for 12 years, and it’s amazing how common it is. So easy to tell someone they need a bunch of treatment they don’t really need."
"Years back, my dentist told me I might have a cavity in between the cusps of one of my molars, but he couldn’t tell for sure. He asked me to come back in a few days and he would drill into it to check. If it was a cavity, he’d fill it. If it wasn’t, well, he’d fill the tooth anyway because he’d just drilled a hole into it. Decided to go to another practice. New dentist carefully examined it, gave me a (free) dental X-ray just to confirm, and said, 'Yeah, that’s a stain.'"
7."Anything that charges an extra fee for DIGITAL processing. Pay my HOA fee online via bank transfer? Three-dollar fee. Mail in a check? Free. Bonkers."
8."Insurance. You spend most of your life giving them money; then, when you need it, they turn over every stone to figure out how to deny you."
9."Fast fashion. The reason your clothes don't look good after you start wearing them is because they were meant to break/fade after the first wash so you can keep buying more and more."
10."College bookstores. They are the worst."
"Why distribute a PDF and cut your overhead to a fraction when you can charge hundreds for a textbook?"
11."Free trials that auto-enroll you at the end."
"Some companies make it harder for you to even find the cancellation page."
"AND for some, you have to call them to cancel."
12."The funeral industry."
"When my mother died, my father bought the cheapest casket available on principle (my mother would have agreed). We got some strange looks at the funeral when everyone saw the obviously inexpensive casket. Unfortunately, a lot of people still equate the cost/quality of the casket with how much the person was loved or valued."
"Some companies are the worst about this. Whenever they advertise what discount you're getting for an item, it's ALWAYS from the MSRP. For example, a product could be $100 that they sell for $80 throughout the year, but on Black Friday, they'll list it at $70 and claim a 30% discount."
14."For-profit healthcare that's rigidly tied to employment."
15."Mascara ads that use false eyelashes on celebrities who endorse products they don’t use. We know you ain’t using boxed L’Oréal from CVS, Beyoncé."
16."Rent-to-own — coming from someone who worked for a rent-to-own company for three and a half years."
"I worked for a rent-to-own company for about a year in California. Our only customers were people who had no chance at buying a TV, stereo, or appliance outright or even on credit. 'We provide a service for underprivileged clients!' No, you prey on unfortunate victims who have no other recourse but to come to you and pay 300% of the actual value. Couldn't stomach it and got out."
17."Employers not giving raises that at least match inflation. Essentially paying you less money compared with the last year."
"It used to be normal to get yearly raises to match/exceed inflation as a sign of employee appreciation. Then they realized they didn't have to do that because fuck you, that's why. 'What are you going to do, quit and make me hire a new person at a low hourly rate? Boohoo! Don't do that!' What happened to organized worker rights, again?"
18."Car dealerships. Why the FUCK is there an entire industry dedicated to forcing you to overpay for a product and finance it with a high-interest loan? It should be direct from manufacturers to customers."
19."Needing experience for an entry-level position."
"Companies: 'Nobody wants to work anymore! We can't even find anyone with a bachelor's degree and years of experience to run our cash registers.'"
20."Getting students/interns to work for free while treating them poorly."
21."Women’s razors and other unnecessarily gendered products."
"It’s pink, it works worse, AND it’s more expensive? Sign me up."
22."Having to calculate your taxes (unless you have things you can actually claim and write off). They already know what you should pay or get back."
23.And finally, "How banks charge you for not making/having enough money. Monthly fees are waived by having direct deposits over a certain amount or a balance over a certain number. Overdraft fees charge you money for accidentally spending more than you had in the account, often even if you had it elsewhere at that same bank."
"Checks are ridiculously expensive. But if you’ve got thousands of dollars in your account, suddenly there’s no fee for anything. No fees for keeping your money there; no fees for checks.
I work at a bank. They can generate plenty of profit off of lending interest as well as the myriad partner products they sell like brokerage accounts, annuities, and varying forms of insurance. They don’t need to scam their poorest customers with fees they don’t charge to the rich."
Can you think of any other scams that are totally normalized? LMK in the comments below!
Note: Some responses have been edited for length and/or clarity.