in fees recently, especially as corporations try to maintain or increase
profits,” says Randy Allen, a former
retail-industry executive and a
current associate dean at the Samuel
Curtis Johnson Graduate School of
Management at Cornell University.
These fees aren’t just a fad, adds
finance columnist Evelyn Kanter,
who recently learned of a $14.95 fee
to pay her Macy’s bill by phone with
a credit card. “It’s follow the leader,”
she explains. “If one company gets
away with a fee, others figure they
can, too.” The evidence: Some high-end hotels now charge up to $25 to
receive packages for guests, and others are charging more than $10 for
housekeeping service. Plus, paper
statements now cost up to $3 from
some utility companies, phone companies, and banks.
These charges might be laughable
if they weren’t so obnoxious. Richard Laermer, who tracks consumer
trends in 2011: Trendspotting for the
Next Decade, once paid $2 for a piece
of tape at a shipping center. “And
when I asked to test cologne at an
upscale men’s store, I was told, ‘That
will be $2 a spritz,’ ” he recalls.
So how can you avoid what Laermer calls “corporate pillage and plunder”? Take your business elsewhere,
when practical. And take time to
complain to a manager or company
president when you can. For instance,
after consumers railed against Bank
of America’s plans to charge a $5
monthly fee for debit card use, the
bank abandoned its plans in November.
That said, some add-ons may be
unavoidable now that charging for
basic service is becoming the norm.
Speaking of service, remember that
$25 United Airlines fee? The president and CEO of United Continental
Holdings Inc., Jeff Smisek, earned
about $4.4 million annually at last
count. We’ll let you ponder that. ;
Trends Putting the You in YouTube Maangchi Kim, 54, began her You Tube career with a cooking video. Then she created her own online “channel”; now she partners with You Tube for a paycheck, earning revenue from ads. Thousands of partners today earn thousands of dollars monthly, posting videos on everything from makeup lessons to product reviews, says You Tube’s Tom Sly. Success is hard to predict, but passion is important, he adds. To get started, see our tips below. —Christina Ianzito
Earn money when
viewers see or click ads.
Record and upload
original videos; at least one
weekly, Sly recommends.
Grow an audience by
being consistent and
interacting with viewers.
Allow You Tube to place ads
on approved channels.
Apply to be a partner at
Texting Tops Smelling
Given a choice, about half of the world’s
young people ages 16 through 22 say they
would give up their sense of smell if they
could keep a tech item (often a laptop or cell phone), per a
new poll. Um, seriously? We’d take the smell of fresh bread
over a ringing cell phone any day. —Leslie Quander Wooldridge
Ah, Youth! Sometimes