Did you know, you are a cash cow?

I went to India a couple of times in the 1990s and I always viewed myself as such to the locals and I made sure to be amply loaded with bits to give children and a daily budget for people begging. I don’t know if that was the right course of action but compared to many people I came across I did have a lot more resources and spreading a little of it around seemed only fair.

The policy worked ok as far as I know, except once in the desert in Rajasthan where I received a very hard pinch on the arm in a crowd of dusty kids – maybe the booty did not meet the required standard…

Anyway it occurred to me today on the High Street that so many businesses are built on the back of business models that involve treating the average consumer as a cash cow, and we let them. We comply, we collude, hell we might even appease. Why? I don’t know really, but I suspect as ignorant consumerism has run riot we are proving the cliche that we know the cost of everything and the value of nothing.

Take insurance companies. Make a claim or don’t make a claim as you will, they will hike up the premium (that they want you to pay by direct debit) and hope you don’t notice or don’t care enough to switch. My dog insurance doubled nearly this year to just under £30 a month. I’d never claimed. I cancelled the policy.

Media companies take the right royal living piss for phones, tv, broadband knowing that we are so barren without 24/7 wall-to-wall entertainment that we will cough up without a murmur. I refuse to have pay tv on this basis alone, it will add little and take much away.

Utility companies have started acting like Coutts bank without any of the benefits. They take people’s hard-earned on monthly basis and then hang on to the substantial excess earning the interest. The direct debit phenomenon is as much as curse as a blessing you know. You don’t have to worry? Yes you do. Taking away the responsibility of paying a bill in a timely fashion in the correct amount is just removing us yet further from actually managing our finances. It doesn’t take long before we are all just out of touch with our own hard cash and we can all see where that collective approach ended up. Surely a service or utility is provided and then the customer pays for it. Not any more. Wake up everybody.

Posted on July 17, 2009, in Consumerism and tagged . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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