Columnist questions why everything is getting so expensive

Remember the days when most things seemed affordable? Now even the cheapest, easiest made items are costing a fortune –
The cost of living is certainly increasing. But are we being ripped off?

Remember the days when most things seemed affordable?

Now even the cheapest, easiest made items are costing a fortune – and the cost of things relative to income is increasingly widening.

If you feel like you’re being ripped off every time you reach into your purse or wallet to pay for something, then chances are you’re not the only one.

Columnist Angela Mollard has penned a piece for the Courier Mail saying she’s sick of being “ripped off” every time she goes to pay for something – and the examples she uses will surprise you.

“Everything seems to cost stupid amounts of money for what it actually is,” she writes.

“School photographs — $50 per child. Hemming and taking in a school dress- $85. Flathead fillets — $49 a kilo. Eyelash tint — $32. Removal of tiny pre-cancerous spot under local anaesthetic — $650.

“All my mates are saying the same. One barely received change from $20,000 for the funeral costs for her mother. Another paid $300 for a scientific calculator for a child in Year 9 and a friend in a pricey suburb was quoted $450 to have her car washed inside and out — no detailing. Worse, if you want to park for more than 15 minutes at an airport you may have to sell a kidney. Add a sandwich and you’ll have to sell both.”

It’s a situation many of us can relate to.

And while our costs probably aren’t for children or schools, think about the costs of groceries, fuel, utilities such as electricity and some aspects of health care – not to mention medications or vehicle costs.

It can be especially challenging for many older Australians who live on the limited income of their pension, superannuation or life savings.

Mollard argues that “greedy monopolies” have told us “to suck up their exorbitant prices because that’s what it costs”.

“Except it doesn’t, does it? Uber has proven you don’t have to stump up $50 to travel 6km and Airbnb has offered an alternative to the $500-a-night beach house that promises a view but only delivers if you stand on the roof and crane your neck in a 270 degree angle to the left,” she writes.

And she points to digital disruptors such as Uber and Airbnb as a way that we can stop ourselves from being ripped off.

Mollard even thinks digital disruption could extend to bringing down the costs of funerals.

“Few of us want to pay our life savings to a bloke with dandruff and a dodgy suit. Recycled coffins, home funerals, personalised playlists, friendliness, humour — those should be the characteristics of the modern funeral,” she writes.

“In America one bloke has started Go As You Please Funerals which offers the option of being buried standing up. Meanwhile Caitlin Doughty’s “alternative funeral service” sells a recycled paper casket embedded with flowers for $120 and has a FAQ page on the website which includes the vexing question: “What is the best way to write into my will that my children will receive no inheritance unless they have my dead body taxidermied and propped up in the corner of the living room?””

What do you think? Do you agree with Angela Mollard’s views? Do you feel we’re paying too much for things these days?


  1. Guy Flavell  

    What pisses me off the most is the ridiculous cost of these so-called alternative medicines
    constantly advertised on TV. They are medically untested and probably just placebos if
    the truth be known. I just can’t understand why famous sportsmen like Ricky Ponting would demean their own honesty to promote them to all the gullible fools that exist in our community.
    If this garbage was truly beneficial to our health then all our GPs would be recommending
    we use them … but they don’t, and we shouldn’t !!! Please don’t support these criminal shysters making $billions out of our complete stupidity.

  2. People often complain about the high cost of dental treatment. As a self employed dental practitioner of retirement age, my business expenses amount to $30,000 per month. I work a 40 hour week, so I need to charge $187.50 an hour just to break even. That’s assuming I have a full appointment book which I do not. If I want to make a taxable income of $80,000 per year (the same as a new graduate dentist working for the government) my hourly rate has to be $230 an hour. But when my productive time is only 20 hours a week I need to charge $458 and hour to make the same income.

    • Just to add that I do not charge $458 per hour. If I did all my patients would go elsewhere!
      Therefore I charge the current average dental fees for WA. That leaves me with a taxable income which is less than that of my single employee. The days of the single family dentist are numbered. The health insurance companies are taking over, just as the family run corner store has given way to multinationals like Woolworths and Coles.

  3. Maxine  

    Totally agree. Unfortunately we are paying for the obscene wages paid in this country. Australia is stuffed, we will never recover from this greed – time to retire somewhere where the cost of living is reasonable.

    • Frank Rivers  

      Yeah. Like Vietnam. I have a friend who lives there. They have a full time live in housekeeper who does all the cooking and cleaning, and is also a nanny to their child. They pay her $AUD 80 per MONTH, which is considered a good salary for a woman there. And no, it’s not a typo, it really is eighty dollars per calendar month… 🙁

  4. Glenda  

    Yesterday in Woolworths, the price of red capsicum was $8.50 kilo. $8.50 a kilo! That is just exhorbitant! At my local IGA, the price of red capsicum was $5.50 kilo. I expect IGA to charge more than the major supermarkets. A small comparison I know, but this is why I do not shop at Woolworths.

  5. Frank Rivers  

    Of course the real problem is the contraction of buying power. In the ’50s an average suburban house cost about one year’s average salary, while a new family sedan cost about three month’s salary. Today an average suburban house costs about ten year’s salary, and a new family sedan costs about a year’s salary. Today it takes a year just to save a deposit for a house, but then house prices have increased so your deposit it not enough, so you save for another year. Repeat ad nauseum…

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