When I was in nuclear field "A" school in Orlando, FL, our friendly Navy Exchange installed another soda vending machines alongside the regular ones that dispensed cans. The 12 fluid oz. cans from the normal machines cost $0.50, but the new machine dispensed 20 fluid oz. plastic bottles of the same soda for the low low price of $1.00. This pricing scheme really didn't make a whole lot of sense to me. I'm sure 1 plastic bottle was cheaper than 2 aluminum cans, but why were we being offerred a chance to pay the same price for less soda? What made the case more confusing was that the machine had a sign on it that read "Better Value!" Huh? By whose accounting? Seriously, why wouldn't I just buy two 12 oz. cans of soda for the same money and get more soda?
I eventually explained it away by building the mental rule that "Better Value" in Navyspeak translated into "Bigger Profit." When I explained this to some of my more visual arts inclined friends, we thought aloud on what a "Better Value" mascot might looks like. Eventually, since we were all listening to a lot of Screeching Weasel at the time, we envisioned a weasel munching on a wallet as the mascot of choice.
Fast forward ten years. I go to make my car payment today (#16 of 60; just over 1/4 done), and as I was pulling out a payment coupon and envelope with which to mail it, I noticed a letter from my loan company stating that I could easily make all of my payments online and save the trouble and expense of mailing. This sound reasonable, so I give it a try.
Even though I use computers every day, I hate signing up and doing stuff online. Inevitably, every site has slightly different rules, so you wind up with different usernames, un-rememberable passwords, etc. Kind of a pain in the ass, but at least you can pay stuff quick.
So I get through all of the signup stuff, look at my balance, and start to pay for this months payment. Then I get to the page that has the total and the Ok / cancel buttons. To my surprise, it's $10.00 higher than my normal payment. Closer examination reveals that they charge a $10.00 processing fee for online payments.
WTF? Me paying my bill online has *got* to be cheaper to them than me paying with a check in the mail. Why on earth would they charge for online payment? They should be providing incentives to use the online system. I simply don't get corporate America. Oh well...guess I'll be mailing my next 45 payments in, losers....I'm not going to pay a total of $450 for the "privilege" of paying online.