Conditioning Trap of the Recurring Monthly Payment


Change is the only constant. History is entrenched with important events, dates, and names that have very clear beginnings and ends, but what we don’t do is pay attention to the subtle shaping of modern day norms.


Drew D’Aviero(The Pontiac Tribune) – Change is the only constant. History is entrenched with important events, dates, and names that have very clear beginnings and ends, but what we don’t do is pay attention to the subtle shaping of modern day norms. Have we ever thought about what constitutes things such as what is an act of war? Why does almost everything we fill out requires an SSN? What is money, and why am I paying a monthly fee for ?

Bills are nothing new, but what we pay for monthly, we must scrutinize heavily, and, unfortunately, in today’s society this thought process is lacking. It is arguable that generations past would turn in their graves if they knew what the public is willing to give up a portion of their hard-earned money for. One of my favorite things to scrutinize is cell phones.

It is no doubt the technology available in the modern day phone do so much more than talk (and text), but can we truly say that this technology is worth sacrificing anywhere from 5-24% of your monthly salary? Let’s not forget the costs of the phone itself, taxes, overage fees, and any other fees from the apps that you gather. Paying for a cell phone and a monthly bill sure is the norm today. However, we must all ask the question, what human labor service am I really paying for? If we are charged monthly to use the very phone we bought, there must be some service that needs to be performed in order for my calls, text, and a web connection to work…right?

The truth is Phone companies all alike used to operate with switchboards that took skill and a lot of human labor. Today, the skilled laborers have been replaced with technological advancements and a massive infrastructure. The hardware of these connections involves many miles of power lines, phone cords, wi-fi antennas, cable cords, and now fiber optics.

So now, the human labor of this industry has been replaced by objects, and can we really say it’s a service then? Water bills, heat bills, these bills are attached to something that is definitely consumable. It appears as though the whole telecommunications scene has improved, but the burden has fallen on the shoulders of the consumer, and it’s getting heavy.

Cell phones are just an example. We can say the same about internet connections, cable and premium broadcasting and any sort of licensing for software. Any fee attached to time itself will most likely catapult up thanks to economic pressures of companies to grow.

Today’s generations are saddled with debt at every corner. Considering credit cards, cars, student loans, house, and whatever expenses kids bring to the table, debt, is very very close to impossible to avoid. It all starts with a consumer agreeing to pay something monthly and accepting it as this is how it is today.

As time goes on, companies will need to grow to battle economic pressures, please investors, please employees and invest in their own infrastructure to encourage new customers. Back when credit cards begun their program, they’re charging companies 0.25% per transaction. Today, they charge companies approx 3-6%. Let’s think for a second how long credit cards have been around…30 years? Now it’s conditioned for the average person to have more than one of these in their pockets. It makes sense that the 2 most profitable avenues for businesses is to charge people a timely fee indefinitely or take a cut off of every transaction. How long before all companies switch to this method?

Will we ever reach a point in time that no matter how awesome a pseudo-service idea is, a monthly fee for it is stupid and not money well spent? Let’s hope the free market will grow a spine for once and fight to get away from this structure and get further away from debt as well.

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