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Taxes-in pricing should apply to all goods

Thom argues pre-tax pricing is annoying and unnecessary

Does anybody else find it really annoying that sales taxes are, generally speaking, not included in price tags on goods in stores?

Apparently, visiting Europeans do.

This is another one of those psychological marketing ploys that drive me crazy. We all know that when something is listed as $9.99 (never $10), that it is actually going to cost us more than $10 when it is rung up. So, why not just tell it like it is?

Part of it is that they don’t have to. And if they don’t have to, some won’t. And if some don’t, the others don’t want to because then it looks like their prices are higher.

There’s also the old blame game. They want us to know that if it wasn’t for the government demanding its share, we would pay less.

That’s just really annoying. We know. We don’t have to be reminded and ultimately, I, and I am willing to bet the vast majority of other people, only care about one thing.

The bottom line.

How much am I actually paying for this thing?

Other explanations include the fact that different goods and services are taxed differently. Some are subject to provincial and federal taxes, while some are exempt.

And provinces, of course, have different tax rates and exemptions so (at least the argument goes) it’s simpler and fairer to advertise the pre-tax price.

Again, I call nonsense. All consumers want to know when they are buying something is the bottom line.

The simplest and fairest system is that everything for sale is priced with precisely what we are going to pay.

There are, of course, exceptions, already. Gas, for example, is advertised as an all-in price.

And every now and again we will see a store run a taxes-included sale as a marketing gimmick, but day in and day out, we’re forced to do the calculation ourselves.

There is no reason why the rules for gas pricing can’t apply to everything else as well.