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Category: Financial / Topics: Financial Trends

Rising Prices

by Dan Seagren

Posted: April 7, 2019

It's not as simple as inflation…

Prices rise and fall, mostly rise it seems. Reasons for it are numerous: outdated, competition (may make prices fall also), consolidation (many companies together reduce competition), necessity (parts diminish, regulations, demand, availability) and so on and on. Selfishness, opportunity arises, demand increases and effective advertising play a part. So its difficult to always know why, how, when, and if legitimate or opportunistic.

An article recently caught my eye: The Rise of Baffling Hotel Fees which reinforced my interest. Airlines have also discovered techniques for rising prices. Troublesome is when an advertised price falls short of the real cost. Airlines do more than blame the cost of fuel which rises and falls. There are the costs for baggage involving size, weight and number. Seating often has multiple pricing depending on location, legroom, and comfort.

Hotels may not be too far behind. Both must comply with laws and mandatory factors, understandably. However, hotels also have innumerable options for additional costs other than those advertised. Fees can get out of control and do so. There are mandatory destination fees, facilitation fees, resort fees for non resorting guests, housekeeping gratuity fees (for those who do not tip presumably), rising taxes, food charges (even for those who do not eat at the hotel), check-in fees . . . and on and on. Often assessed when checking out as surprise surcharges.

Not all of this is taken without laments and even threats. Airline and Hotel personnel do not always agree or participate willingly to erratic, hidden or inopportune surcharges or unwelcome fees. Travelers can and do argue when irregularities hit them before payment is due or after. And it is true that customers are often in search of a bargain or even a discount and at times a free ride or a night's rest while the industry strives for profitability.

This is merely a small illustration of the extent of industries and businesses raising prices unexpectedly or routinely for various reasons, not all seemingly justifiable. This includes manufacturers, industries and merchants et al including the medical profession, academia, industry, transportation, restaurants, Hollywood and on and on.

Fortunately, prices can go down, sales occur regularly, oversupplied goods, going out of business, desperation, good will, jurisdiction and pressure all factor in. Complicated? You better believe it. Profitability is a virtue that can be exploited, simply or unrestrained. Been going on for a long time. 

Dan Seagren is an active retiree whose writings reflect his life as a Pastor, author of several books, and service as a Chaplain in a Covenant Retirement Community.

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Posted: April 7, 2019

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