Service of the More You Pay, the Less You Get—in Sneaky Ways

May 30th, 2024

Categories: Cost Cuts, Marketing, Post Office, Prices, Sneaky Marketing, Value

A sheet of Ansel Adams Forever stamps.

Who doesn’t notice subtle price changes that creep into a budget and/or manufacturer savings that impact quality? I’ve recently written about the July 14 Forever stamp price increase from 68 cents to 73 cents. It’s worth repeating.

I love paper—stationery on fine paper, wonderful wrapping paper, giftbags and napkins. While Trader Joe’s has some beauties at 99 cents a card, some are printed on a rich, textured linen like stock, I will occasionally spring for a $6.00 card if it is perfect for someone. But what I’ve found is that when I go to close the envelope on these extravagances the glue or adhesive doesn’t hold. I mentioned my frustration and annoyance to a friend who had the same experience. Trader Joe’s notecards close good and tight.

And what about socks? A friend works in a shop that sells cotton socks with charming motifs for $15 a pair. They feel wonderful, but they don’t last a year. She bought me a pair that I loved [photo below]. I hand washed them and never put them in a dryer, but it didn’t matter. Holes happened anyway. I thought it may have been a one-off, but she reported the same issue with the ones she bought for herself. [I never told her about my gift.]

This example doesn’t quite fit the theme, but I wanted to share it anyway. I called customer service when the hefty shipping charge wouldn’t go away on the invoice of an online purchase. I had reached the minimum required. The operator asked if I was buying a sale item. Answer, “Yes.” She replied, “then you must pay shipping.” I couldn’t find an email address to report my irritation but nevertheless mailed a letter to the marketing director suggesting that they state this policy clearly on the website. This had never happened to me before!

Do you have similar examples of sneaky marketing where you pay more but don’t get what you expect?

Hole in a $15.00 sock shortens its life to less than one year.

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4 Responses to “Service of the More You Pay, the Less You Get—in Sneaky Ways”

  1. Martha T Takayama Said:

    I think I have paid shipping on sale items that seemed unexpected. Perhaps I didn’t realize that the charges were due to the purchase being sales items. I often encounter snags with online purchases and have difficulty completing them. They are often confusing or even misleading. The ongoing price increases of a “Forever” stamp are hard to accept. I think there are many items offered at inflated prices suggesting that they are of a higher quality than less expensive items without any relationship to quality or durability.

  2. Lucrezia Said:

    There’s a lot of that trickery taking place. My pet peeve is finding less than full yogurt containers. I wonder how low the unnamed company will go before people stop buying, and/or authorities step in. I get back at the seller by never paying full price. In a way it’s a game, but realistically it’s one of many examples of corporate sleaze.

  3. Jeanne Byington Said:


    There are certain websites that keep your information such as your address and what you’ve ordered before. It saves time when ordering again and is smart marketing on their part.

    The concept of autopay has always concerned and annoyed me. A company decides to increase its price and sends you that information and sucks from your bank account or credit card whatever it wants. Grumble.

  4. Jeanne Byington Said:


    I take vitamins daily. The bottle sizes are many times larger than needed as the pills fill such a small amount of the space and when the manufacturer DECREASES the number of pills you’ll be getting, it keeps the bottle size the same. I keep thinking of Jackie Gleason who so often said to Norton on The Honeymooners, “Heads I win; tails you lose.”

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