Everyone knows that movie popcorn is one of the biggest ripoffs, right? I mean, really, how much does it cost to pop enough popcorn to fill that $6 tub? It turns out that movie popcorn carries a 600 percent markup.
Ouch. And yet it's not the biggest ripoff out there, according to a report by CNNMoney.com. The biggest ripoff, by far, with a 6,500 percent markup, is... the text message.
Text messages themselves, according to experts, are just tiny blips of data being transferred to and from mobile devices and don''t even cost the carriers a full penny to process. Computer scientist Srinivasan Keshav, who testified on the matter in Washington last summer, is quoted in the post as saying that it's actually closer to about one-third of a cent to deliver.
But don't expect anything to change anytime soon.
A couple of weeks ago, the Justice Department wrapped up an investigation of text-message pricing. Washington had wanted to know why all of the carriers had doubled their rates from 10 cents per message to 20 cents over the span of a few years. Was it collusion? Why would they need to do that? The carriers and other experts, including Keshav, were called to Washington to testify. And then... it was determined that no action by Washington is necessary.
Those of us who pay for flat-rate, all-you-can-text plans don't worry about the 20-cent "ka-chings" with every message sent. And, some months, I like to think that the wireless carriers actually lose money on a customer like me.
If you could see my kids hammer out text messages, you'd know what I mean.