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November 01, 2021

The products you're paying a huge markup for

As consumers, we are often relegated to an unfair fate, which is to say many things are out of our hands.

1393939_young_male_face_1And from a pricing perspective, we’re okay with a lot of it. We’re fine with, for example, paying a princely sum for diamonds because we can’t exactly fly across the world, whip out our boom drills and roadheaders and mine for the things ourselves.

But what about products we can make, find or consume on our own?

Which ones are we getting hosed on the most?

Mark-up, of course, is built into the nature of shopping. It’s how stores turn profit, and consumers understand that. Not everything can be bought as if it’s from Costco.

*Bing: How to shop smarter

To some smart consumers, that sentiment extends only so far. They won’t pay X dollars for Product Y, because they can get Product Y at home for a fraction of X dollars.

The rest of us, though, we pay. And pay lots. Finance site Money Talks News  recently put out a list of the everyday products with the highest mark-ups, and you’ll be astounded what you pay for regular things.

Among the highlights:

1) Movie popcorn – an average mark-up of 1,275 per cent.
2) Bottled water – according to some, a mark-up of as high as 4,000 per cent.
3) Salad bars – on average, items like chickpeas and radishes sold in salad bars are marked up 350 per cent.
4) Eyeglass frames – those designer duds are marked-up big (1,000 per cent) from what they cost to make.
5) Text messages – each text you send costs plenty, but gets marked-up about 6,000 per cent from what providers pay.
6) Hotel minibars – no shocker here; items can be marked up by as much as 400 per cent.
7) Greeting cards – holiday wishes cost lots, as much as a 200 per cent mark-up.

Many of these things, including water and the stuff you find in hotel minibars, can be skimped on, or the costs can be wiped out almost completely with a little planning.

But as in life, sometimes consumers are screwed. We can’t well send our own text messages now, can we?

What items are you resigned to spending well over their true value for?



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Gordon PowersGordon Powers

A long-time fund company executive, Gordon Powers now heads up the Affinity Group, a financial services consulting firm. Gordon was a personal finance columnist for the Globe & Mail for many years, has taught retirement planning...

Jason BucklandJason Buckland

The modern-day MC Hammer of money, Jason can often be seen spending cash that isn’t his with the efficiency of a Wilt Chamberlain first date. After cutting his teeth as a reporter for the Toronto Sun, he joined the MSN Money team with...