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Readers Respond

A roundup of email received by Home Channel News

Employee morale
The following is a response to the article, “Unhappy employees are staying put.”

“[Unhappy employees are] soon to be going, or at least when the economy improves — that’s when they will leave in droves because of extreme low pay and lack of respect from employers. Why wouldn’t they? No one likes being used or abused. Do you?”
— Rick Heath

Swipe fees at the point of sale
The following letters refer to the proposal that would allow retailers to charge customers a fee for using credit or debit cards to cover the swipe fee:

“This will become a competitive-advantage issue with leading retailers using the absence of any fees against any that charge the fees, or providing no fee to frequent-shopper card holders. A useful statistic would be a compilation by IRI or Nielsen of cash-to-card ratios by basket size to better understand the impact of any charges.

“One sees many online sellers dropping or discounting shipping fees as an analog to this potential set of charges.

“Net: Any additional fees will disappear within six months.”

— David D Harvison 

“I think the retailer should add the fees as a surcharge. I know that would encourage me to pay cash and likely most other consumers who have the cash. It would serve three purposes.

“Cause pause to people about building credit card debt;

“Hopefully reduce sell price on goods where the bank fees are already built into the cost of the goods; and

“Potentially cause banks to reduce fees if they want people to use their cards.”

— Gregory Phillips

“It is my opinion that almost every business that accepts credit and debit cards for payment has built in the fees as a part of their expenses in their budgets, and that expense appears as a line item on their income statements. Businesses shouldn’t consider a surcharge for credit/debit transactions, since those expenses have already been considered in their retail pricing structure as a part of their planning process, and adding a fee would be charging the consumers twice for the same expense line item. If businesses create a change in retail pricing (discount) for paying cash, then most businesses will experience better ratios and profitability in the first year or two. After a year or two of that activity, they will be able to more accurately adjust their budgets to reflect a new percentage for credit/debit card sales and the associated fees, and be back on track.

“Most consumers understand and know that businesses consider all costs of doing business when setting retail pricing, so any surcharge could be looked at as ‘gouging,’ and those who offer discounts for cash could take advantage of those who try to take advantage of their customers by adding a surcharge.”
— Wayne G. Reimer

“How many other fees will the banks think of? Let the banks take better care of their house. Regulate them or they continue to dream up additional charges.

“They make plenty on interest.”
— Don McDonald 

“The first time it happens to me, I will just leave my grocery cart and walk out. These fees do not need to be itemized on a customers receipt. What’s next, $2.99 for milk, plus 3% for CC fee, plus 1% for wearing out the floors, 1% for electricity, 2% because I choose to go to a person cashier instead of a self-serve checkout? Don’t itemize your cost of doing business onto the customer; just build it into the price of the items. The first ones to try it will lose a lot of customers. I for one do not want to take that chance, or put a ‘bad taste’ in anyone’s mouth. Once that is done, it can not be cleaned back to the way it was — never happens.”

— Rick Baker

Crime and punishment
The following letter is a response to: “Illinois contractor gets 10-year sentence for asbestos violation.”

“All contractors should be licensed.  Part of the licensing process should be environmental awareness and the process associated with it. I get more and more angry every day seeing dishonest, unscrupulous contractors putting customers at risks, while driving down prices so that capable honorable contractors can not compete.

“As you can tell, I have little sympathy for people who willingly violate any laws, environmental or otherwise. I may not agree with all the laws, but if it is the law then we should be accountable to it. Too often nowadays people are not held responsible for their actions. This case did not appear to be about someone caught up in a situation of which they were unaware, but more of an intent to subvert the law. His unethical action put unknowing workers and the public at risk.

“However, I do feel that our courts have lost sight of fairness in penalties of certain crimes. If crimes concerning murder, rape and assaults were dealt with this harshly, I think we would be living in a safer environment. It seems if you kill someone, the penalty for killing them would not be as severe as dumping their body in a river and being convicted for polluting the river.”
— Joe Patton

Fighting foreclosure in California
The following letters refer to an article about several California cities considering seizing foreclosed houses to combat the housing slump.

“Let the market take care of itself, or we will have another government agency with high wages.”
— Ellis Goebel

“My opinion only: Home foreclosures are an unfortunate consequence of the recession, but we would have been better off taking our medicine quicker — not letting this drag on. 

“If I were to design legislation for this current situation, I’d require the banks to take care of the foreclosed property in a reasonable fashion. Too many homeowners who live near these unoccupied foreclosed homes pay the price in lower values of their own homes. To enforce this legislation, the penalty to the lender would be equal to the book value of the foreclosed home at the time of foreclosure.

“The lenders got us into this mess. The federal government bailed them out. Now it’s time for them to have skin in the foreclosure part of the game.”
— John McGraw