Saturday, July 17, 2010

Rip Off!

The other day I had my van (a 98 Toyota Sienna) in for service and the mechanic noticed that there was a leak in the power steering hose. OK, no big deal I said, how much would a new hose cost? The answer? $600!

Hmmmmmmm . . .

It turns out that only Toyota makes this hose (no aftermarket ones exist for this model) so then they charge an arm and a leg for it. Luckily, I could get the hose "reconditioned" for a much more reasonable $65 at a local hydraulics shop and so I did.

As I choked back my initial emotions I had to smile - I think a lot of people would have been tempted to react with outrage to the fact that Toyota would charge that much for a hose. Indeed, it seems kind of crazy. I imagined some responses:

"That's outrageous!"
"That's so wrong!"
"What a rip off!"
"What crooks!"

The problem with feeling injustice towards companies "ripping us off" is that we forget that everyone has freewill. Toyota can charge what the market will stand. They have the right to do that - it doesn't matter if it is logical or not. Others have the right to buy - or not. That is there right. To complain bitterly that a place is being unjust and "ripping me off" because they are charging a price I don't like is quite frankly intellectually immature. Is there some law saying they have to charge a price that is reasonable to you? (I didn't think so). As a proponent of choice theory, I recognize that agree that I can't control other people, I can only control myself (and that is difficult enough!).

It's normal to feel feelings of frustration and disappointment when a place charges more then we were expecting or wanting - these would be healthy negative emotions to experience. But when we start feeling outrage, rage, or depression then we can assume that something has twisted in our thinking. And whose responsibility is that? I'll give you a gentle hint: It's not the company or individual trying to sell you something! By challenging our thinking, we can learn to extend freedom to others, just as we want it extended to ourselves . . .

1 comment:

Coach Dueck said...

Great point Mark! I am sure I have been outraged at prices before....

I deal with this a lot at the vet clinic. People always tell us that we are ripping them off, stealing their money, and how they can't believe we charge them so much because don't we just do it cause we love animals?!

We don't really let it bother us that much, because we know those same people are probably at the grocery store, pharmacy, restaurants, etc. complaining about something.

Yes, we work at a vet clinic because we love animals, and no, we are not trying to rip you off. We just want to get paid for doing our job, wouldn't you want to?