Two Businesses I Don’t Understand

All sandwiches cancelled?

Airlines. Is there any other business that can charge you drastically different rates depending on when you buy their product, be consistently late, and sometimes even cancel your service altogether, often without any refund? Imagine if, say, the deli down the street operated like an airline. If you buy a sandwich at 10:30 in the morning, it’s $5. But if you wait until the lunch crowd hits, it’s $12. You pay before you even enter the deli, and then you stand in line and wait (you pass through security, naturally) and wait, and finally when you reach the end of the line, you learn that your sandwich has been delayed by “about” 45 minutes. You’re allowed to watch a family-friendly version of CNN while you wait. And when you finally get your sandwich–which has resulted in a further delay of you iced coffee drink, which probably won’t arrive in time for you to drink it–you’re not allowed to use your cell phone until you’ve left the premises.

And yet we fly.

Credit Cards. Apparently I don’t use my credit card like most Americans do. When I get my monthly statement, I pay the full balance. I thought that’s what most people did until the economy crashed and I learned that most people actually pay for a ton of stuff that they can’t afford and then they’re surprised when they have to pay really high interest rates.

That said, my credit card company sends me a new card every 6-12 months. I don’t know why. I don’t want a new card. I want the same card that I got 5 years ago for which I received 5% cash back on gas and grocery purchases. That’s what I signed up for–that’s why I chose that credit card. And yet somehow in this business, my credit card company can decide whenever they want that they want to give me a new card with new rules. This is not only a hassle–I have to go through all the bills that I autopay through the card and change them over–but it’s a bewildering business decision. I played by the rules–I made every payment on time, in full–but you get to change the way my card works? Not to mention that when I call to activate my new card, you start trying to sell me new services that I don’t want, and if I accidentally say “yes” on the phone (as in, “yes, there is absolutely no way I want those services”), you get to log that in your system as a “yes” and charge me for the new service. Is there any business more deceptive than credit card companies?

And yet we buy.

What businesses do you not understand?