Sunday, April 08, 2007


Who was that Science Fiction writer who said 95% of everything is crud? Or was it 15%?

What percentage of commercial transactions are simply scams? I may be romanticizing the past, but it seems that a growing amount of the profits made by corporations and people, in their dealings with other people, are unfair or exploitative. The best example is the practices of the credit card companies, which make huge amount of profit by using practices which can't pass the smell test -- such as a bank's raising interest rates on accounts when a borrower makes a late payment on any loan or debt he or she has, whether it's due to that particular bank or not. Or the relentless fishing for new customers, profiling them for the likelihood of not being able to resist credit, of not being able to pay on time, and then of being on the hook for high interest and/or late payments.

Another example are the tried-and-true legal cons to entice the sucker and separate him or her from their money: bait and switch, cornering the market and upping prices, taking advantage of buyer ignorance (such as the famous undercoating sold by auto dealerships), and taking advantage of buyer goodwill (such as the person who is purchasing goods for a party or celebration when he or she is in a magnanimous mood.)

It's a bad way to make money, creating resentment in the buyer and justified guilt in the seller.

Caveat Emptor!