I hate our economic system because people often try to screw you even when they’re not doing anything illegal.
I’ve noticed that when I (or my family when I was growing up) have bought a large item from a department store (here in America) that there is often an extended warranty and a rebate associated with the product. Both offers look on the surface to be designed to save us (the consumers) money in the long run, but the way they are processed is a bit underhanded.
The extended warranty is usually offered right at the counter by the cashier. Since the consumer is already spending all that money on a large item, it’s easy to be tempted to spend a little more. Of course, there’s also a high probability that the item being bought may never break if treated with care, in which case the store will effectively keep the money the consumer spent on the worthless warranty.
The rebate, on the other hand, must usually be mailed in, and by the time the consumer gets home, it’s easy to either forget or to be too lazy to follow through on that action. That means there’s once again a high probability that the store will keep the money that the consumer would have received back.
The store makes it easy for the consumer to spend more money and difficult for the consumer to save money, so they basically weight the game in their own favor (but under the guise of helping the consumer), and there ends up being a good chance that they will make extra profit on each purchase. It’s also interesting when this happens, after the consumer has already decided to buy the item. In terms of marketing, the store has nothing to lose. They advertise a low price, but the consumer is likely to pay a higher price and barely realize it. It’s a subtle bait-and-switch scam, and it’s legal because the consumer technically has a choice.
I bought an office chair in a store last week. I refused the extended warranty at the counter (because I remembered how many years my previous chairs had lasted, and if I recalled correctly it was longer than the extended warranty period). The rebate was one of those odd ones that are “instant”, with no need to mail anything in (which I’m guessing was because the model I bought was being phased out for a newer model). I win.