102 Pics “For Those In Life Who End Up Paying More Because Of Their Own Idiocy”

There are all sorts of taxes that we are required to pay to participate in society: income taxes, property taxes, sales taxes, value-added taxes, etc. They can all be nuisances, but of course, they are necessary to maintain public infrastructure and public services. There is one tax, however, that not everyone needs to pay but some companies try to slip in whenever they can: a stupid tax.

Allow me to introduce you to the Stupid Tax subreddit. This group is famous for sharing the most ridiculous examples of companies and individuals pricing their items without any logic. The group states that it is “for those in life who end up paying more because of their own idiocy”, and it has amassed nearly 40k members (or “idiots” as they call them) who are dedicated to exposing all of the stupid “taxes” they encounter every day. Enjoy this list of pics that will remind you to always look closely at price tags, and keep reading to also find an interview with Becky Goddard-Hill, award-winning parenting and lifestyle blogger and the woman behind the Family Budgeting blog. Then if you’re interested in another Bored Panda piece featuring people who need to brush up on their math skills, check out this story next.

#1 Had A Really Hard Time Deciding Which Shipping Option To Choose

Image credits: the_ocalhoun

The assumption when shopping at the grocery store or buying a “meal deal” at a restaurant is usually that the more you buy, the better deal you receive. It might not make a huge difference, but if there is a small discount on larger purchases, it incentivizes customers to buy more. But sometimes the math just doesn’t add up. This is where the stupid tax comes in. When four pieces of an item costs $2 but 8 pieces costs $5, that’s the stupid tax. Somehow companies do get away with this because many customers are under the assumption that buying more will get them a better deal, but we’ve created this list to warn you that is not always the case. 

Fine print and price tags should always be read closely because apparently it is quite common for stupid taxes to be snuck in on anything and everything. You can find it on “family size” packages of products at the grocery store, in the various shipping options when ordering something online, and on menus advertising various deals. Even at bake sales and garage sales operated out of schools and individuals’ driveways, read the signs carefully. They might have made a typo when pricing their greeting cards, or they might be trying to swindle you.

#2 Lets Kick This Sub Off With A Repost!

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We reached out to budgeting expert Becky Goddard-Hill of the Family Budgeting blog to hear her thoughts on the "stupid tax". First, we wanted to know if she had any examples of encountering this tax out in the wild. "25% off flowers with a big shiny sticker that are already DEAD!" she said. Oh yeah, I've seen that stupid tax before too. We also asked Becky why she thinks people sometimes fall prey to this kind of ridiculous pricing. "People are in a rush, and looking to save a quick buck, so if it says 'bargain' in stand out advertising, they are likely to snap it up without pausing the think it through," she explained.

Next, we asked Becky for her best money-saving tips to avoid stupid taxes. "Consider every purchase before you buy and ask yourself these three questions: do you really need it, can you afford it and is it really a good deal? These three questions put the shopping breaks on and help you think it through," Becky told Bored Panda. "Keep trying it – write the questions in notes in your phone and check prior to every purchase that looks too good. Running through this list will soon become a habit and could save you every time." Lastly, Becky added, "Treat your money with care and respect and consideration just as you would anything precious to you and it will serve you well as a result. Look after it and it will look after you."

If you'd like to gain more wisdom and insight from Becky, be sure to check out her Family Budgeting blog right here and her books right here.

#3 £2 For 20 Minutes

Image credits: le_funky_juicebox

The funny thing about the stupid tax is that it’s not always clear whether a seller is trying to pull a fast one on their consumers or if they genuinely made a mistake by miscalculation. They might have wanted to provide a better deal with their larger product or for those who purchase more, but not everyone is great at doing math in their heads. And everything requires a proofread before being sent to print; sometimes we just don’t catch the small details. 

Unfortunately, inflation might be making the stupid tax even more rampant. Companies are adjusting the size of their products constantly, so even if the price has not changed over time, customers might be getting less product in each package. This idea of “shrinkflation” is being discussed more and more as inflation has reached a 40-year high. Jon Miltimore addressed the topic in his recent article for Fee titled “Yes, the Products You’re Buying Are Getting Smaller—Even Though Prices Are Not”. He explained that it’s easier to notice when prices rise, but sometimes packages can become smaller without consumers noticing at first glance. 

#4 Bargain!

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#5 A New Kind Of Stupid Tax

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#6 Yeah I’ll Take 49 Hot Ones Please

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Miltimore explains that shrinkflation can be in reference to quantity or quality of a product lessening, while the price stays the same, and it is just as bad as prices going up altogether. He went on to note some examples of companies sneakily adjusting their packaging without informing customers like Kleenex boxes now containing only 60 tissues compared to 65 previously and Chobani Flips yogurt cups shrinking to a measly 4.5 ounces when they had been 5.3 ounces before. 

At the same time, Domino’s Pizza has begun selling an eight-piece pack of chicken wings for the same price as the ten-piece pack they used to sell. Crest tubes of toothpaste now contain only 3.8 ounces when they used to have 4.1, and 32-ounce bottles of Gatorade have been replaced with 28-ounce bottles. In fact, the Gatorade bottles cost even more now than they previously did. Okay, I’m sure you get the point: there are countless brands trying to rip off their customers due to inflation. So don’t forget to check those price tags and product weights closely, "stupid taxes" may be included.

#7 What A Sale


#8 Genius

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#9 Clown At A Restaurant

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Some companies really stand by their additions of the stupid tax though. In a recent article for Quartz, Clarisa Diaz spoke to several company representatives about their contributions to shrinkflation. “Inflation is hitting everyone…we took just a little bit out of the bag so we can give you the same price and you can keep enjoying your chips,” said a representative for Frito-Lay in reference to Doritos bags shrinking during the pandemic. And when it comes to the Gatorade bottles having a new look and conveniently including four less ounces to drink, a company representative said, “Basically we redesigned the bottle, it’s more aerodynamic and it’s easier to grab. The redesign generates a new cost and the bottles are a little bit more expensive…this is only a matter of design.”

#10 My School’s Cookie Sale

Image credits: JudgeandJuri

#11 My Brother Saw This At A Yard Sale Today

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#12 I Almost Got Taxed Today

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If you’re looking to avoid the stupid tax and keep an eye out for shrinkflation, Edgar Dworsky, founder and editor of Consumer World, provided some tips in an article for Today. He explained that this practice is nothing new and many companies feel pressure to participate in shrinkflation, but if you want to get the most bang for your buck, don’t be scared to look to other brands. Store brands are typically the last ones to shrink, and if they provide a comparable product, why not purchase them instead? He also notes that you can always check the price per measure or per unit that should be on store labels. “It helps you compare the price per ounce or per 100 sheets, for example, of differing brands and sizes of the same item," Dworsky notes. Lastly, he recommends becoming net-weight conscious. “Learn the net weight of the products you regularly buy. Memorize them. And when you shop, check the net weight to make sure it has not changed.”

#13 A Year Or Lifetime? Hmmm

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#14 Profit

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#15 I Always Tip 20%, But That Seems A Little High

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Sometimes a stupid tax is more obvious than others. If two products are right next to each other, it can be easy to compare them. But when it has been months since you last purchased an item, you might not know off the top of your head how much it should cost. Unfortunately, we are also very susceptible to flashy advertising and any messaging that disguises itself as a deal or discount, so it’s important to be vigilant to avoid stupid taxes. For example, some of the photos on this list feature something along the lines of “Previous price: $149, now available for only $160 for a limited time!” Don’t let the red lettering and the slash through the original price fool you, this is a stupid tax in action. 

#16 The Chicken Nuggets At My Local Burger King

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#17 Uh Oh

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#18 Smart Tax

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Some people might think that imposing a stupid tax is completely up to the business owner and that it is a matter of “survival of the fittest”. If someone does not realize that a price has increased or they are getting ripped off, they deserve to be swindled! But it is just not ethical for companies to try to trick consumers. If someone has a disability or is elderly and does not have the vision that they once did, they might have a hard time spotting a price discrepancy. And grocery shopping should not require jumping through hoops. Everyone deserves to pay the lowest price possible, not just the people savvy enough to read the fine print. 

#19 A $122 Water Bottle Because It Has A Crystal Inside It

Image credits: IWantAFuckingUsename

#20 What A Bargain. I’ll Take Two

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#21 Spend Two Dollars For 100 Pennies. What A Bargain!

Image credits: Karen_Nfld

There are also ways for companies to go about increasing their prices without trying to mislead consumers. It might still result in angry emails and boycotts sparked on Twitter, but customers deserve transparency. When changes are made, companies should inform their customer base through a letter or email addressing exactly why, when and how a price increase will be implemented. According to Swetha Amaresan at HubSpot, being up front and honest about price changes is the best thing a business can do. She recommends that business owners contact their clients directly and well in advance to minimize pushback. 

#22 Pay Extra For Some Fancy “Hydrogen Water”

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#23 Or, You Know....wait A Couple Of Days

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#24 Little Bargain I Spotted In Asda

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Swetha also notes the importance of ensuring that the quality of a product or service will be maintained. In fact, higher prices should mean better quality. She also says that the reasoning behind the increased prices should be made clear. “For instance, as some raw materials become increasingly scarce and expensive, companies that utilize these materials are forced to increase the prices for products that use them,” she says. “Laying that out to customers will prove your willingness to be transparent.” Inflation has affected everyone and everything, but honestly is always the best policy. Customers should be able to make an informed decision whether or not they want to continue supporting a company, rather than being tricked into paying more.

#25 Walmart Math Is Hard. Also That Was The Last Of The Single Boxes Too

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#26 Which One Will I Choose?

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#27 I Like That The Sale Discount Is A Negative Amount

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We hope this list is reminding you to stay vigilant when making any purchases because apparently, companies can be expected to tack on "stupid taxes" at every opportunity they get. Keep upvoting the pics that you find most ridiculous, and let us know in the comments what the worst example of a "stupid tax" you've ever seen is. Then if you want to find even more of these absurd pricing examples, you can check out the Stupid Tax subreddit right here.

#28 Had To Blink Twice At This One

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#29 Bad Sale Is Bad

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#30 The Savings Are Through The Floor With This One!

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#31 The Ultimate Stupid Tax

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#32 "I Trusted You All"

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#33 More For The Same

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#34 Had I Not Paid Attention I’d Have Been The Fool, Not Whoever Tagged These

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#35 Sugartax

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#36 When Buying The Book Is Cheaper

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#37 Samosas For People Who Don’t Pay Attention

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#38 Pay An Extra Dollar For Buying In Bulk

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#39 Used The $2 Milkshake Coupon At Mcdonald’s. Fried Onions And Tomato Slices Were Listed As Available Options

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#40 There Are Literally 2 Bags In The Box

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#41 Et Tu, Pokémon Go?

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#42 Otherwise Known As Sugar

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#43 Hmmm

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#44 The Vending Machine In My Office. Pay Attention When You Buy Stuff, Y’all

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#45 My Friends Daughter Had To Start Her Own Business For A Class Business. She Made A Profit!

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#46 I Don't Know If This Counts? 1p More For 40% More Sauce

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#47 Just Discovered This Subreddit. At Christmas I Saw A Little Box Of Hay For Sale For €10 (About $11.50) In All The Shops

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#48 $3.50 For 1 Gallon, Or $1.50 For A Half Gallon

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#49 12 For $4 Or 24 For $10

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#50 Target With The Old Switcheroo

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#51 Thats One Big Sale On Chupa Chups

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#52 You Sob .... I'm In

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#53 10 For $4 Or 12 For $4 ?

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#54 Clearly Math Isn't Their Best Subject

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#55 Lemon Squeezer vs. Same-Size Lime Squeezer

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#56 $3 More For 1/4 Of The Value!!

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#57 So I Found This Today, And It’s 4x The Regular Price Of Water! Scam :-/

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#58 Found In A Facebook Sales Group

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#59 I Had To Do A Double Take

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#60 There Was An Attempt To Clearance Plants

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#61 I'll Charge You Extra If You Want Them Both

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#62 Shouldn’t It Be Cheaper The More You Get?

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#63 I Bought 8

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#64 Same Items Inside... Hers Costs 30% More

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#65 Wow Great Cyber Monday Deals

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#66 Doomed To Pay More

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#67 4.99 For 10 Or 4.49 For 12 But A “Women’s” Version

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#68 Reduced!

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#69 How Many Donuts Are In A Dozen Again?

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#70 Rollback

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#71 Target Trying To Get Me Good

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#72 Found At Ross

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#73 72 Ounces Of Beer For $8.29 Or 64 Ounces For $8.49

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#74 Subscribe & "Save"

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#75 German Children's Book [x-Post From R/Finanzen]

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#76 Dang It, If I Only Knew How To Chop Nuts

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#77 Which One To Get From The Vending Machine?? Hmmm

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#78 Spend More, Save Less?

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#79 What A Deal!

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#80 I Only Need 300. So It Doesn’t Matter

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#81 Would You Like It On The 26th Or The 26th?

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#82 $160? Nah, On Sale For 100 Dollars More

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#83 Great Buy!

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#84 Seriously?! $2 For A $1?!

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#85 Why Buy 12 Mcnuggets For $4 When You Can Get 10 For $5!?!?

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#86 Got To Get Me Some A I R P O D S C A M S

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#87 39.00 For Two Pack Or Buy Two Single Ones For 37.76

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#88 Wait A Minute

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#89 Decisions, Decisions

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#90 What Great Value!

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#91 The 6 Pack Of Yogurt Is More Expensive Than The 12 Pack

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#92 Seems Fair

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#93 First Year Is $5, Or Get Two Years For The Price Of Five!

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#94 I Guess I’ll Have Two Half-Dozen?

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#95 Maths Are Hard

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#96 Why Pay $12 When You Can Pay $15?

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#97 Twenty Wings For $12 Or Twenty For $15 Or Twenty Five For $16

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#98 Get A Negative Savings Of 1.50, What A Deal!

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#99 Buy In Bulk To Save, Right?

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#100 Shopping For Backpacks To Take With Us On Our Trip And We Come Across This. They Are The Exact Same Backpack, Inside And Out

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#101 New Math? 10+10 > $25

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#102 Valu3 Pack

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