17 Tricks Businesses Use to Secretly Rip You Off

Posted Mar 19, by Jose Duarte


You might be hard pressed to get your own popcorn into a movie theater, but you’d be surprised just how much cheaper that would be. Since you’ve likely purchased popcorn at the grocery store, consider this: just how much popcorn does that make? Then consider this: Compared to how much popcorn costs at the cinema, how much does the same amount of popcorn cost at home? 
In percentage values, cinema popcorn is 1275% of the price of home popcorn. At the grocery store, microwave popcorn goes for about three dollars a box, and each box gives three 3.5 ounce bags. Most movie theaters sell medium sized popcorn bags for six dollars. 
You probably know the reason they sell it so high is because they don’t make that much money off of ticket sales. Yet for some reason, people like to buy the concessions, no matter how overpriced they are. Most people just do it for convenience, because it’s actually very easy to just buy readily made popcorn slathered in butter product. 


When asked to think of a high quality watch there are few people who wouldn’t instantly say Rolex, but have you ever wondered why Rolex watches are so expensive and what it exactly is that makes them so prestigious? Rolex began in 1905 in London and later moved to Switzerland. They have always produced high quality watches, many times making new innovations that kept them on top, but until the 1980’s they were nowhere near as expensive and notable as today.

It was in this time that the “yuppie” movement began, which was a new class of young, wealthy people who began purchasing new flashy materials to display their wealth and newfound status. When the yuppies began buying watches, all heads turned to Rolex, which in turn caused a massive price increase because of the demand.

A DateJust Rolex model cost $900 in 1981 and by 1991 the price had skyrocketed to $2350 for the same model with minimal improvements. In fact there are several myths associated with Rolex that are not even true. One common misconception is that all Rolex watches are handmade.

Rolex watches are mass-produced by machines patented by Rolex that make around one million watches per year. Another common myth is that Rolex is more accurate, which would be great for them but sadly, it’s just as accurate as any other watch set correctly. In fact, what really makes Rolex so expensive is the name and the jewelry, not the watch itself.


A Twinkie is 68% air.

This means you can compress 100 Twinkies into a space that would only appear to fit 32! Check out the experiment proving this ratio that students at Rice University performed in a bathroom!

Snapple Apple does not contain apple juice among its ingredients!

So what is Snapple Apple’s main fruit then? Drumroll......it’s PEARS! Apparently authentic apple juice does not taste ‘appley’ enough to consumers, so the liquid from its pyriform cousin is used instead. But why can it be marketed as APPLE juice if it’s primarily composed of PEAR juice?? Because it’s not marketed that way. Notice the word “drink” next to juice...calling the beverage a “juice drink” means that it is not required to contain the listed and pictured fruit as its primary component.

In fact, a juice drink only needs to include as little as 5% actual juice to earn that title! Despite containing the depicted fruit, the qualifications for “fruit juice” aren’t much stricter...it only has to contain 10 percent of the real deal.

IKEA stores are designed like a maze in order to prevent customers from leaving.

The theory behind the design is: The longer a customer is inside the store and the more furniture they see, the more items they are inclined to buy.

This layout is so confusing that oftentimes shoppers make purchases simply because they are afraid they may never find their way back to the item!

A study at a store location in Kent, England showed that patrons spent an average of 3 hours inside the store, with a significant number remaining for as long a 8 hours!

IKEA is quick to deny any intention to purposely bewilder it's customers, citing shortcuts within the facility (built primarily due to fire code), but the store's exits still are not very easy to find.

Both drinks have identical ingredients besides the sweetener! However, there are very slight differences between the two sodas. One difference is that Diet Coke, believe it or not, has slightly more calories than Coke Zero. Diet Coke has one calorie per 100 milliliters while Coke Zero has only .5 calories!

The only other difference is that Coke Zero is targeted specifically at men! Similar to Dr. Pepper 10’s model, Coke Zero is advertised as a “manly” diet drink to make diet sodas appear “masculine”.

Another interesting fact about Diet Coke? In many European and South American countries, there refer to Diet Coke as ‘Coca-Cola Light’.

Or you might be getting a few extra cents from them. It's being reported that Chipotle has started doing something strange with their bills: they're rounding bills to the nearest quarter. For example, a bill that should have been $35.24 was turned into $35.25. 

The reason they're doing this is supposedly so that they can get people in and out of the store faster. It makes sense. Giving change in quarters is easier than going down to the individual cent. Chipotle says that the rounding basically takes money from some bills and gives it to others, so it's not Chipotle just taking pennies. 

Still, the practice is illegal in certain areas if you don't tell people that's what you're doing. So in many markets, people have been protesting and Chipotle has added a 'rounding' line on customer's bills. Next time you're at a Chipotle (especially in New Jersey, where this practice was found), check the bill to see if they added or took some money from your bill.


In 1985, The Coca-Cola Company discontinued the original Coke formula and introduced “New Coke.” It was an overwhelming failure. Less than three months later, it was announced that “Coke Classic” would return. This was such a big deal that David Pryor, a US Senator, called it “a meaningful moment in US history.” 

As soon as the “Coke Classic” began circulating again, people were not all convinced it was the same formula, which turned out to be true. This was due to a change from cane sugar to high fructose corn syrup. So the pre 1985 Coke is actually gone! People speculate that the introduction of the new Coke only to make the old Coke return was a marketing ploy to make Coca-Cola Classic sell more.

Changing beloved products can be a very difficult thing to do. Another good example of this is Tropicana and Gap, which changed their iconic branding. After facing similar backlash to the one that Coke got, they also reversed their decisions. Tell us, what brands or sites have you stopped using after they changed?



Normally, when you buy a house in New York, the doctrine of caveat emptor applies. This means that the seller is supposed to tell you anything that could possibly go wrong with the property and then you make a decision whether to buy or not. If there are any major issues, and they were disclosed, they don't provide grounds for any type of legal action on the side of the buyer. 

However, the law can get very murky with regards to hauntings. This is, of course, because proving a house is haunted isn't something that can be proven easily. It's not a defect of the house, per se. However, the New York supreme court allowed a buyer to rescind his contract because he wasn't told his house was haunted when he bought it. 

The facts were these: Jeffrey Stambovsky bought a house from Helen Ackley and Ellis Realty. The house had quite a reputation in Nyack, New York for being haunted. It was part of a haunted tour and Ackley had many stories about the ghosts. Ackley claimed that the ghost left gifts of baby rings, and then, later, they disappeared again. She also claimed that a ghost shook her bed to wake her up in the morning. 

The court decided that in this case, the house's value was greatly affected due of its reputation as being haunted. Because of this, they said, Stambovsky could rescind his contract and not buy the house anymore, despite the fact that he'd signed a contract already. It was important information that was withheld, and a such, grounds to terminate the contract. 



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With odds like that, it’s amazing that anyone actually plays lottery games. It’s a testament to the power of hope that anyone ever believes enough to buy a single ticket! 

Most people don’t know anyone who has won more than a few dollars. In fact, playing the lottery involves more risk of death, than chance of winning. You are 16 times more likely to die in a car accident on the way to buy a ticket, than to win the lottery. What’s more, your odds for winning don’t go up unless you buy thousands. 

A few more facts: 

  • You are more likely to be struck by lightning 5,000 times, than win the lottery; 
  • You are 146 times more likely to die in a fireworks accident; 
  • You are 8000 times more likely to be murdered.

 With this in mind, it’s time to figure out what to spend your money on instead. Imagine, if instead of spending $20 a month on lottery tickets you put it into a mutual fund. 

If you did that from ages 25-65, you would have $93,626.41 in your account. Now that’s a lot of money, and it’s got a lot better chance of actually happening. 


The Coca-Cola Company has always been one for innovation. You might remember the relatively recent bottles that automatically chilled the Coke when turned upside down. Back in 1999, it was revealed that technology to raise prices according to the heat was something Coca-Cola had been working on for a while.

The rationale, according to the company’s chairman, was that the desire for a cold drink increases during the heat, and that with rising demand it is fair to raise prices. The technology accompanying the idea is fairly simple, involving only a basic temperature sensor and computer chip.

Ideally, such technology would have been beneficial for more than just spiking prices during times of high demand. It was suggested that lowering prices during times of less traffic would boost sales- something that the technology would enable. Evidently, this technology didn’t see the light of day.


If a price tag ends in 4 at Target, the price won't go any lower. Like all stores, Target has a set of rules for what items are marked down, why, and how frequently. For most stores, it’s common for markdowns to end in a “97” if the item has already had price lowered once. 

Target has a whole set of rules that might be worth paying attention to if you frequent the store. The only percentage markdowns at Target are 15%, 30%, 50%, 75% and 90%. Most items, after markdown, will sit at that price for around two weeks before further markdowns- if the item is not selling.

Typically, these markdowns are done in levels directly from 15 to 30 percent and so on every two weeks. Exceptions are food, furniture, and electronics. Rarely do those go higher than 15% off. 

As for the difference between 99 cents and 98, it’s really just an indicator of how many times the item has been marked down. The lower the cent value, the more times the item has been marked down. 

And of course the lowest it goes is 94 cents, so if you ever see that, you can know it won’t go any lower. As for the holidays, clearance is 50% for 3 days, 75% for the next 3, and 90% after that. 


There are people who have purchased tickets earning them first class travel for life on American Airlines. As you might imagine, a lifelong first class pass is a pretty sweet thing. You can fly anywhere any time for any reason- all in first class. These passes, when they were available, had cost more than $350,000 and allowed the owner to have a free +1. 

Some of the men who still own them have surpassed 30 million miles in flight. But unfortunately American Airlines isn’t too happy with the 66 people doing things like this. These people have been costing AA millions of dollars, and as you may know, the airlines haven’t been doing so well lately. 

To try and cut down on the owners of these passes, AA started investigating them to try and catch them doing something wrong. As a result, many of the owners were taken to court or had their passes revoked for some fairly bogus claims of “fraudulent behavior.” 

The behavior in question included things like reserving seats but not taking the flight, or using a +1 on a stranger. Many of these cases are still ongoing, as this only broke in May 2012, but it’s truly sad to see AA covering its mistakes in such an ugly way. 


Oreos are one of the most famous cookies in the world. However, the idea for a sandwich cookie was not theirs. There was a type of cookie called Hydrox that was introduced in 1908. It was the flagship product for Sunshine Biscuits. In 1912, National Biscuit launched the Oreo brand.

National Biscuit (or Nabisco), had a much superior distribution channel, advertising budget, and organization in general. Sunshine Biscuits and Hydrox had no chance to win over the market.

Hydrox lived on, although at a much smaller scale. Keebler later bought the brand and renamed it Keebler Droxies. Have you had Hydrox or Droxies? Do you like them better than Oreos? Let us know in the comments!



When you want to maintain a reputation of being extremely high end and expensive, you take some pretty drastic measures. For example, Louis Vuitton is famous for never putting their pieces on sale. To avoid this, they take all the leftover bags at the end of the year and burn them!

The 158-year-old company originally opened on the Champs-Elysees in Paris. It was the largest travel-goods store in the world. The company took their early success and used it to build the high-end accessories empire it has today. Interestingly, if you see a Louis Vuitton bag around, it's very likely it's a fake. Some people estimate that as many as 99% of the LV bags in the wild are forgeries.


For decades, the cereal Cheerios has been known for lowering cholesterol 4% in 6 weeks. However, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) sent a letter in 2009 to General Mills saying that Cheerios was being advertised as an unapproved new drug!

The FDA gave General Mills two options: One, market Cheerios differently or two, apply to the government to sell Cheerios as a drug! The cereal company responded by stating that the FDA had already approved their claims of fiber used in advertising for years. What do you think? Is the FDA in the wrong or General Mills?`


The \"57\" on the Heinz bottles doesn\'t stand for anything.

Henry John Heinz wanted to impress people with the number of products his company sold. At the time, Heinz foods sold more than 60 varieties of products, Heinz liked the number 57 and had \"57 Varieties\" put on the labels. His lucky number was 5, and his wife\'s was 7. The \"57 Varieties\" slogan worked, and his company really took off. Soon the logo, a pickle with the number 57 on it, was everywhere. I guess the number really was lucky.
(Sources: 1, 2)

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