Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Things I'll Miss about New Zealand, Part 11

The marked price is what you pay. For basically everything. Tax is included in the marked price, and tipping is unheard of.

Think about it. Envision seeing a sticker marked $15 on an item you want to buy. You remove one ten dollar bill (blue), and one five dollar bill (orange) from your wallet. You give these bills to a clerk at a till, he says "Cheers... bye!" and then you walk away with the item.

How anything could operate any differently defies sense, and seems quite dishonest. And yet, it is what I return to.

The Canadian method works as follows: Take the sticker price, add 14% for taxes, and then add another 10 to 20% for a tip if you're in a restaurant. (I don't actually mind the tipping -- all the best restaurant service I've ever had is in Canada, and the tipping-incentive probably has a lot to do with that. )

The end result: all of a sudden, that cheap fisch-and-chips-meal, or pair of pants, or mobile phone, they all become a lot less cheap.

It's not that I mind paying more. I mind being deliberately kept under an illusion of the cost being one thing, when it is actually another amount entirely. I had taken this monetary mind game so much for granted, it had only faintly dawned on me that things could work any differently. (Kind of like doomsayers who oppose discontinuing the penny... after now having lived without pennies OR nickels, I can confidently testify that the world does NOT descend into chaos without them. Rather, your wallet is slimmer, lighter, and more attractive.)

After having lived in this tipless, tax-included utopia devoid of unnecessary and largely worthless pocket weight, I now know it can work. Why on earth isn't Canada this sensible? There is a better way, and I am saddened seeing my beloved country be so archaic in this (or any) aspect.

I'm also not looking forward to the inevitable NZ-reflex at a Canadian retail counter. I can just see it now... upon presenting my lone twoonie for a $2 item, the clerk will tell me, "No, two dollars = $2.28". Gah. :-P


Ernie said...

Of all people I would think a statistician could handle calculating 14%... doesn't it give you a little thrill? :)

LRF said...

And it will just get more fun each time they reduce the GST!

By the way, thanks so much for the coins & letter. Your description was just confusing enough that I had to look at the queen's picture on each of them to determine which made up which set. It was fun!

Also, Maria says she will have the beef. (Secret code? Innuendo? You tell me...)

Off-Black said...

Nice to meet you guys on Sunday.

Your costing system just sounds plain wierd to my antipodean ears!

Tomas said...