We had dinner this week at two small restaurants that had 3% and 3.25% add-on surcharge fees for using a credit card. It may not seem like a lot to most diners, but it does make the statement, loud and clear, that “you are paying more for everything that you do and buy when you use a credit card,” and that we all are paying more in most cases.
It may not be that the merchant fees that retailers pay are plainly stated or collected in in the form of these surcharges like with these restaurants, which is something new after the pandemic, but those fees are priced into the costs of the goods and services that we are all buying. In fact, in cases like these restaurants, it really is a “double whammy,” because it didn’t look to me like the menu prices were less than in the past. You don’t have to look further to see that these merchant fees are built into the cost of goods than at those gas stations that advertise a regular and a cash discount price.
While we are on the subject of restaurants, we have talked a lot about the labor shortage and the challenges that many businesses are experiencing in finding workers. One place that I have really noticed this is in several restaurants where it is taking a longer than usual time for meals to be served. It seems to me that they are not having as much trouble finding wait staff as they are finding reliable and qualified kitchen staff, like line cooks. Be understanding. It’s not intentional. The restaurant owners that I have spoken with are more frustrated than you are, believe me.
On a different subject, I paid my school taxes this last week, and I was relieved that they only increased this year by about the 2% New York state cap. On the other hand, I expected and planned for that because, unlike in some past years, there had been no procedures taken in our district to override the cap. I know that increases in other districts may be more this year, and it is something that you definitely have to pay attention to, and project into your budget. If you have a mortgage and the real estate taxes are escrowed, your mortgage payment will increase. If you are like I am, and your mortgage is paid off, and you have established your own monthly escrow for real estate taxes and insurance, you …….