Why Consumers Feel Abused

Subtitled: Would you prefer to save over $1000?

Maybe I’m becoming a grumpy old lady, maybe everyone I know is grumpy. It seems to me that for the last several years we’ve all been feeling that the consumer experience has deteriorated. Automated computerized customer support. More restrictions on every type of purchase, fewer kindnesses and rewards. Not only is all our personal data being mined for corporate benefit, but the user interfaces often leave us feeling like dirt underfoot (okay – that last might be a little harsh, but I think you understand what I’m saying).

My son and I book flights a few times a year between NJ and AZ. We often will check out dates if we think there’s a chance we might be traveling back and forth. I remember many many years ago my friend Chestnut pointed out very strongly that she had better results using a private browsing window instead of her default setup. Probably there are many folks who have told me this over the years but for some reason I associate the information with Chestnut. 🙂 I want to go visit my son at the end of June. I checked flights for non-stop first class for the dates I thought would work for me. The cost was over $2000. Even considering the fact that I do indulge myself, that was simply way too expensive for me to justify. Out of curiosity I tried opening a private browser window to see if the price changed. Oh. Em. Gee. $1000 cheaper. Same flights. Today I went to book the tickets. I logged in to the airline directly, gave all my identifying info, picked my flights. $2297.80. No sort of frequent customer discount, no sort of reward or special recognition. I opened up the private browser window. Same flights: $1254.80. That’s a difference of $1043. WHY???? I know why. Because they “know” that I’m going to fly to PHX anyway. But hey – that stranger? – maybe we can hook THEM! Except of course at $2298 I am NOT going to fly. Maddening. Absolutely maddening.

7 Responses to “Why Consumers Feel Abused”

  1. 1 Deborah Cohn June 1, 2021 at 11:02 am

    What do you mean by a “private ” browser window?

  2. 2 honourmcmillan June 1, 2021 at 1:31 pm

    I think this is a perfectly good justification for grumpy. Not that you actually need a reason.


    I do think an hour a day of grumpy is essential though, otherwise there are blockages in your system. It’s good for your health.

  3. 3 ahuva18 June 1, 2021 at 1:32 pm

    A private browser window is a new temporary window is separate from your other browser windows/tabs AND from your user data. Nothing gets saved from this session (cookies, other tracking info). A common misperception is that a private window is totally secure – no one can know what you do there. Not really accurate. I did it hoping to “shed” all known information about myself: so i could do a search that was not algorithmically influenced by prior browsing. Obviously it worked. In the private window the search results did not know that I have shown interest in those flights repeatedly. Apparently repeated interest indicates that the vendor should charge more. So good for them. At the charge more price, neither I, nor our mutual friend S who also has a son in AZ, were willing to buy tickets. So they lost the whole sale that way. Yes, I told her about my results. 🙂

  4. 4 ahuva18 June 1, 2021 at 1:48 pm

    ah, that’s very helpful. how often should I schedule a full-out raging fury? 🙂

  5. 5 Debbie June 1, 2021 at 2:53 pm

    So… do you use a totally different browser? Or just open a new window? IOW, if you usually use Firefox, do you search with Chrome? FTR, i have noticed at Amazon that going in using my husband’s business account gets better prices than using my account. Plus Prime delivery without a minimum purchase. I think these people are all just sneaky in general. So good for you for out-sneaking them!

  6. 6 ahuva18 June 1, 2021 at 3:18 pm

    no, the same browser – all of the major browsers do this. it’s typically off the File option of the menu. In Firefox and Safari it’s “New Private Window”, Chrome says “new incognito window”. i’m not surprised that you get better rates with a business account. we should probably switch our account to be my husband’s business acount. what a racket. as i titled this – it’s why consumers feel abused – you never know when you’ve actually gotten a fair price.

  7. 7 honourmcmillan June 2, 2021 at 9:43 am

    Save them for the perfect target. Some ass who needs it. Then gather all that energy and send it out like a targetted firebolt.

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