Gummy Bears, Candles, and Zinfandel? Oh My!

Zack Rosen

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So last week, for our green issue (hope you enjoyed it! By the way, did you know you can read The Charger Bulletin online EVERY week at Ok, I’m done with the shameless plug. Don’t judge me. But while I have your attention, how about a joke! A man walks into the doctor’s office and says, “I’ve hurt my arm in several places!” The doctor said, “well, don’t go there anymore!” Okay, I’m done.), I wrote about my trip to the movies, and about bad parents. Correction: STUPID parents. Anywho…what I didn’t mention was how stupid I was as well.

Zack Rosen - Editor-In-Chief

That said, it’s time for some edu-ma-cation! That’s right, kiddies, sit down at your escritoires and take out your stylographs. I’m going teach y’all a bit about Zackonomics!

When I went to the movies the other week, I bought popcorn. Delicious, buttery, salty, expensive popcorn. The thing is, however, popcorn isn’t expensive at all. It only costs about 60 cents to make a medium size bag of it, but go to the mall and you’ll end up paying a good $6. Wow, right? While it’s true that only a small portion of the $10+ you pay to go to the movies goes to the theatre itself, they need to make their money somehow. If you’re not good with math, let me inform you about the cost of popcorn at some theatres: it’s a 900% markup.

But alas, that’s not the only rip-off on this planet. My personal favorite is text messaging. Sure, I and many others have unlimited texts…but those who don’t have unlimited will end up paying about 20 cents for outgoing texts and 10 cents for incoming texts. How much do they really cost, though? Get ready: about a third of a cent. That’s around a 6,500% markup. Let me go text all my friends and tell them that! Don’t judge me.

Still not convinced of all the rip-offs in the world? How about Advil! A 50-count bottle costs about $8.50, while generic ibuprofen (same thing!) is only about $5.30. Just thinking about that makes me need one.

Then there’s the bubbly. Did you know that, at the Olive Garden located in Times Square, a bottle of Sutter Home’s White Zinfandel costs $24? Yeah, you’d probably buy it too. The surprise is that you’d really be paying the Olive Garden waiter a $20 tip, as that same bottle can be bought for about $4 retail. Typically, restaurants mark up a bottle of wine by about three times. Even worse is when you buy a glass at a time: in those situations, the costs are often 300% to 400%.

And hell, this is a college newspaper. How about them good old textbooks! A study conducted by the Government Accountability Office discovered that textbook prices nearly tripled from 1986 to 2004, which is disturbingly twice the rate of annual inflation over the past 20 years. On average, college students annually pay $900 on textbooks.

Lastly, there are two items of business for hotel visitors. Mini-bars in high class hotels are the first, with markups up to 1,300%. One hotel review organization has found a $14 bag of Gummy Bears, a $10 pint of water, $150 candles, and a $12 toothpaste kit. Hotels are also known for their highly priced in-room movie rentals, with markups over 200% compared to a Blockbuster or Hollywood Video.

I was watching the news the other day and heard a report about medical bills and how much money you can waste being charged by a hospital. One patient told a story of how they were charged for 41 bags of saline instead of 1 bag; that cost them over $4,000. Another patient spoke of being charged $24 for a single alcohol swab. As if health insurance weren’t already enough of an issue. As if health insurance (an editorial topic by itself!) weren’t expensive enough already, you may now be charged for 40 extra IV bags? The amount of money that costs to cover you is incredible; try selling your left kidney on the black market!

So that’s a bit about economics in the realm of today’s world. Depressed? You should be. Because the three text messages you got while reading this editorial, eating a bag of Gummy Bears, and drinking a glass of zinfandel just cost you your right kidney. Congratulations, you now have no kidneys.

1 Comment

One Response to “Gummy Bears, Candles, and Zinfandel? Oh My!”

  1. Nostalgia Popcorn Machine | on March 3rd, 2010 12:21 pm

    […] The Charger Bulletin » Gummy Bears, Candles, and Zinfandel? Oh My! […]

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Gummy Bears, Candles, and Zinfandel? Oh My!