Sunday, 18 July 2010

That's quite enough money grabbing, thank you very much.


There’s nothing like a recession to bring out one’s finest qualities, my own being the complete lack of desire to give away my money unnecessarily. Not to be confused with stinginess, you understand; I’m (somewhat) happy to pay for goods and services, just not over the odds.

On realising that my passport had expired, I decided to investigate what would be required in order to update it. Let’s say nothing about the fact that renewing the passport itself costs the better part of £100, not because it isn’t excessive, but because I’ve cussed about it enough already – I can’t look at the form without turning the air blue. A little administration is not worth £100 – for that fee I expect to get the passport hand-delivered on a silver tray.

No, I was mainly aggrieved to be told that submission of the form would cost an additional £8 if done through the Post Office. That is £8 for them to undertake the initial work required, as would normally be done at the passport office. Bearing in mind this doesn’t get the passport to you any quicker, what exactly is the extra money for? The fee isn’t required when the passport office does the exact same work so I can only conclude that it’s money for nothing. The old distraction con: wave the excessive fee in my face while they slip their hand in my pocket.

Then there’s Royal Mail, of course. Ah, Royal Mail, making millions through incompetence for years. Although the service doesn’t improve, the cost of posting correspondence increases every year, but enough of that (air = blue).

My problem is with a handling charge of £1 in addition to the difference in the cost of stamps when a letter had insufficient postage. Why am I being charged? I didn’t send it. What is the point of a return address if you don’t bother using it? As far as I can tell, it is another money making scam: the process of collecting (and paying for) the letter was exactly the same as it is for a letter that went back to the depot because it needed to be signed for and I wasn’t home. That doesn’t attract a charge.

And the supermarket’s trick of gradually putting up the price of products or reducing the size/amount being provided without reducing the price really does my nut in. The massive profits they already make off the back of customers and farmers are simply not enough. They want more, they need more and will stick vacuum hoses in our pockets to get it while distracting us with BOGOFs and bonus points, trying to make us believe we’re getting a good deal.

If avoiding paying for unnecessary nonsense makes me stingy then so be it. I pay enough already, dammit! Read more by Shermaine.

Image: Chris Sharp /