Years ago, I remember my Mom watching infomercials and ordering all kinds of crap with promises to regrow hair, remove wrinkles, etc. She had been widowed in her mid-thirties (my dad died at age 46 of an MI), and she worked two sweatshop jobs to make ends meet, so it really bothered me to see her falling victim to these crafty TV scam artists. When I would say anything, she would retort, “It’s only $12.99, so if it doesn’t work, I’ll still live, but imagine if it DOES work”.

I realize that today, I fall victim to this same nickel-and-dime “trivial” loss every day, not with infomercials, but with a host of commercial interactions from iPhone apps to grocery store mistakes, and everything in between. A couple of typical experiences:

1. I downloaded a couple of rental movies to my iPad from the iTunes store a couple of weeks prior to our flight to Turks and Caicos. I couldn’t test them because the moment you start the movie you trigger the 48 hour “watch” period. Besides, I’ve never had a problem in the past. Well, needles to say they wouldn’t play, giving the “Movie cannot load” warning when I tried. Dilemma: Do I spend hours on the phone with Apple Support trying to get a refund for a collective $9.00? I don’t think so!

2. Yesterday, I bought two bags of whole grain rice  at our local chain grocery (Metro Plus). They were each marked with a label that said: “Save $1 off the price right away”. At the cash, I intended to make sure that the cashier took the additional $2 off, but I was momentarily distracted by the bag-boy asking me if I wanted to pay for two plastic bags. Mistake. Arriving home, I found that the cashier hadn’t noticed the two enormous, red discount labels on the rice and charged full price. Do I spend three bucks of gas to go back to the store for my $2 discount? I don’t think so!

If these were isolated incidents, I wouldn’t care. But in fact, they are daily occurrences among the dozens of monetary transactions I engage in: A few small errors that are too trivial to chase down, but that over time and numbers of people, add up to vast millions for companies. I truly hate being made a fool of every day, and I hate even more that I have to pay such close attention to the work of others who are paid to do their jobs properly!!!

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