There is no question in anyone’s mind that times are a little tougher now than they were a year ago. Food banks are hurting, charities are in great need, the healthcare system is stressed, and in an effort to curb inflation, interest rates keep climbing.
What I find encouraging, is the way people help each other get through this period of strained uncertainty. People are shopping local, as a way of showing support for small businesses. Donations to charitable organizations have also increased and giving to local charities, especially where the administration costs are low, is also on the rise.
I have heard rumblings about stores possibly passing on an additional cost to cover credit card transactions, which amounts to about three percent. I had not experienced this until a few days ago, when I wanted a soft drink at a fast food outlet in the Oshawa Centre.
I asked for the drink, took out my credit card to tap and was abruptly told there would be a fifty cent surcharge for using my card, as the amount was under five dollars. I looked at the clerk, smiled and left.
First, it is important to note, when these establishments were suffering due to COVID, I, along with many other people supported them by purchasing their goods whenever we could. Second, stores are not the only ones suffering. We as consumers, are as well. We are paying higher prices for everything, still struggling with a lagging pandemic, and simply trying to keep our heads above water.
The third point, which is probably the most irritating, was the fifty-cent surcharge. That works out to 20 percent of the soft drink’s already inflated cost. Three percent would have been ten cents, and I probably would have been OK with that, as the overall amount was quite low.
My fear, which is proven by this particular store’s actions, is that the possibility for some retailers to use this opportunity in their favour, exists.
Jonathan van Bilsen is a television host, award winning photographer, published author, columnist and keynote speaker. Watch his show, ‘Jonathan van Bilsen’s photosNtravel’, on RogersTV, the Standard Website or YouTube.