A week or so ago I called a company (Presstek) and asked them to send me some prices for some of the equipment they sold. Today I got a letter brochure and note to call if I needed more information. Still no prices. For some odd reason many companies do not like to give out their prices until they have a buyer.

I had another company (Heidelberg) call on me a few years ago trying to sell some equipment. I asked for some prices and he left his card. Weeks later he stopped by again and gave me another card. I collected 4 of his business cards before we ever got a bid.

When a company is afraid to display their prices part of the reason may be that the prices are just too high. Another reason may be that they have different prices depending on how much they can get from the buyer. A lot of auto dealers operate just that way.

The escalating health care costs are partly due to the fact that health care consumers often don't see the costs. In the same boat are companies that charge for their services on a subscription plan. We have a local EMS company that has an annual fee for the use of their services services that they aren't likely to use for years.

Much of the insurance industry is built around the hidden costs of services. We buy auto home life health dental vision and others. Okay you may think that your company pays for that but if they didn't they would be paying you more. We've been conditioned to believe that insurance is so vital while agents in suits and ties shuffle some numbers and rack in the bucks. Much of our economy is built on a promise to pay or do. We pay they promise. The banking industry is designed that way as well but that's another rant.

Even government is based on mostly hidden costs. Our taxes social security medicare and other taxes come out of our pay every month. Until April 15 our pay check is all we look at. The longer we are in the dark the better.

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