When the GST, and now HST, was adopted in Canada in 1991, one of the rationales was to replace a "hidden" tax that unsuspecting consumers were paying anyway. It was all supposed to be more transparent. But I'm beginning to think we were better off not knowing, or at least not being reminded of every additional way we're gouged every time we make a purchase.
On a recent trip to Australia, I liked that the price on the menu was the price I paid. I knew there's no tipping down under, but I found the tax-included price refreshing. A $10 entrée was $10. No need to add 13% for tax or 18% for tip in my head to figure out what I'd have to pay at the end of my meal.
I still get irritated at airline ads that herald $69 or $99 fares when we all know that's one way (who flies one way?) and before another $200 of taxes and other charges (why are we still paying a 9/11 tax?).
Or my recent Budget car rental that cost $60 for 36 hours, plus another $60 for insurance, then taxes, fees and a gas tank refill. When I rent a Zipcar or car2go, taxes may be extra, but at least gas and insurance are included.
Maybe it's hidden, maybe I'll end up paying more, but it feels more transparent to see the bottom line cost, or close to it, rather than an artificially lower amount that actually has little to do with what I'll see on my credit card bill.
Is honesty the best policy? Or is ignorance bliss? In this case, gimme some bliss.