Perceived value – When it pays to not charge customers

Is there a product or service you have been put in a position to pay for that you think is just simply ridiculous? Whether knowingly or unknowingly. From something seemingly complimentary as a waiters query, “Would you like some more bread?” Only to be made aware of the associated charge once the already excessively high bill hits the table, to something a little more sinister, such as paying for utensils or condiments. Lets think about the first example I mentioned for a moment. When you’re forking out a few hundred for a meal are you really going to dispute a few baskets of bread? Of course not. At the same time, this raise an interesting perspective, if you are already paying for a fine dining experience, should some complimentary bread be included as part of the billed meal?  I would suspect this would receive a better reception from many customers. It’s the small things that can sometimes add to or take-away from an optimal customer experience with a brand.

Hotels are another bad offender. It seems, the more you pay for a hotel, the higher the excessive wireless internet charges are (for often, an interrupted “wireless” service that you cannot actually access from your leading 5 star hotel room).

I’ll admit, I could probably be more careful with my money, but I’m not and I don’t imagine ever will be. At the same time, I still feel that you shouldn’t take advantage of customers, just because you can. Understand the impact of these seemingly small decisions on your business and perhaps think twice before charging for condiments. If it is really costing your business and does need to be a cost passed onto customers, fair enough. However, there are other ways of charging for things to ensure you as a business still have healthy margins, while maintaining a healthy brand image.

Below is a list of some of the more unexpected, disappointing or outlandish things myself or friends of mine have been charged for so far in 2012.


– Library $2.20 to reserve a book and select a location for it to be picked up

– $6 per plate to cut and serve birthday cake (after pre-asking the restaurant and not being informed of the ‘service’ charges)

– $80 “complimentary” special surprise from chef

– $35 “complimentary cocktail”

– $50 for a seat by the window (restaurant)

– $5 per printed B+W A4 page (at 5 star hotel)

– $40 Wireless internet/day (at “business” hotel)


– $1.20 tomato sauce

– $1.50 lemon (when purchasing fish and chips)

– 50c for small soy sauce

– 40c for chopsticks

– 50c vinegar


About Emily Medizaday

Hey, I'm better known as Em (or many other nicknames - a list that is too long to include here). I belong to the marketing/advertising industry and currently reside in my home city Melbourne. A proud Melbournian (who of course is a footy fan - Go Pies), sharing a love for sports of all kinds. After travelling across many timezones it's always great to come across something new, that's creative, artistic, well designed and inspiring in my own backyard. View all posts by Emily Medizaday

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