There is a song out on the airwaves right now called ” Thrift Shop” and I love it. For anyone who knows me, it is totally my kind of song. There is a part of the song where he talks about paying $50.00 for a T-shirt. And after doing some simple addition, he determines he is being tricked by business.
Definition of Price Gouging:
“pricing above the market price, when no alternative retailer is available”
One of the nice things about living in a country like Canada is that we have choices, and as consumers, we have options on what we buy, where we buy it, and what we pay for it.
EXCEPT when you have a child with special needs and you have to get them equipment, or products that are not available at your local Toys R Us, or Wal-Mart.
I will concede that there are certain products and services in our lives that we wish were cheaper, and that we don’t have much control over when it comes to pricing. Gas is an example. We have no control over the pricing, true, but we do have control over the kind of car we buy or how we drive the vehicle, so we can maximize fuel economy.
I’m a fan of designer purses, they are my personal weakness. I know they are overpriced, and that the materials used are not much different than those used in less expensive handbags. I am paying for the name. But I know that, and I understand that, and if I couldn’t afford one, there are other options out there for carrying my wallet and sunglasses.
When I have to buy a stroller, wheelchair, floor seater, bath chair etc etc for Maclain, I have no choices. Sure, I can pick my vendor, and I can pick my colour of item, and I can pick accessories, but that’s it. By the way, the vendors all work together, that’s important to note. There is no shopping around, there are no sales. I can’t use a coupon, and you will never see any of these items on Wag Jag. They don’t have a Motion Specialties outlet in Buffalo. Oh, if only there was a medical supply and equipment section at Costco.
I understand that some items are going to be high end and are going to cost a lot. A wheelchair is not a cheap thing. But $16,000 for a manual wheelchair? It doesn’t even have a friggin engine! You can buy a CAR for less money!
And don’t start with the nonsense about how the government helps with the cost. I still have to pay 25% of the total, and that’s IF it is an item that is eligible for government subsidy. AND because the government assumes a portion of the cost, the vendors actually charge more. Vendors love to say things like ” I’m sure Insurance will cover it, or ADP covers most of it, or you can always try Easter Seals” How about if between you and the manufacturer, you didn’t jack up the costs so much? Then we could maybe pay for things without having to fight insurance companies, or scramble to get on wait lists with charitable organizations.
I want to know why a bike for Chase costs $200.00, but a bike for Maclain costs $6000.00? Why a special needs bike trailer is 3 times the price of the one you can buy at Canadian Tire. Why high end runners for Chase cost about $80.00, but shoes for Maclain cost $240.00. It is because they can charge that much, because they know we have no options. .
We have a floor sitter that has about the same amount of materials in it as a chair from Ikea. But ours costs a thousand dollars, and theirs costs $149.00, AND you can get ice cream and meatballs when you go shopping for the Ikea chair.
I would also LOVE to know why I can buy the same products in the US for half the price? I can’t of course have them shipped here, because the manufacturer has sewn up some deal with a vendor here, who is going to rake us over the coals, but if I have a way of getting it shipped to a friend south of the border, I am home free!
But really? Half the price?
You should be ashamed of yourselves.
There is an amazing place in Niagara called For The Needy Not The Greedy. I love that name. They have a warehouse where they receive donated medical equipment for adults and kids. They use volunteers to fix the stuff up, and then make it available for free to children who need it, and charge adults a nominal fee. It is amazing. And you can tell they love being able to help people. We have donated a few items there, and grabbed up a walker. It is a perfect solution for many families.
I asked them if they get spare parts, or old discontinued stuff from the other equipment vendors. They laughed. Not only do the well known, getting rich off of us vendors not help them out, they bad mouth them. Why? Because they consider them competition. Brutal. These vendors are making cash hand over fist, but they are worried about a mom and pop charitable operation that gives away refurbished equipment to people who really need help.. They must be worried that instead of making $10,000 off me this year, they will only make $9000.00.
I’m all about fairness. We have so much to deal with already with our kids, and everything that comes with being on this journey. It would be so great to be treated with fairness. I know business is business, and its all about the mighty buck, but maybe think about the consumers that you are ripping off. Give us a break once in a while.
I call it getting tricked by business.