Monday, May 16, 2005

The value of being a smart consumer

Why That Doggie in the Window Costs a Lot More Than You Think - New York Times
A room at the Marriott may cost only $150, but the final bill looks a lot different once you have handed your car keys to the valet, used the high-speed Internet connection and eaten the $11 oatmeal. Late fees on credit cards have jumped. So have many mutual-fund fees.

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Mr. Laibson, a professor at Harvard, has his own favorite example of shrouding: Hewlett-Packard's inkjet printers. The advertised price is as low as $35, but it includes no ink cartridges or paper, two necessary items for printing. "Here's my challenge to you," he said. "Go to the H-P Web site and pretend to be an individual purchaser of a computer, not a business. Go to the deskjet printers. See if you can find the cost of printing on a per-page basis. That is the most important information."

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