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5 Everyday Rip-Offs That Are Surprisingly Easy to Avoid

#2. Movie Snacks

According to a panel of angry fathers, a thing of popcorn costs 10 goddamned cents to make, and charging $5.50 for it is highway goddamned robbery. It turns out that a staggering amount of box office revenue goes directly to the studios, which leaves theater owners few options to actually make money with their business other than setting massive, father-enraging margins on their popcorn, and candy, and nacho cheese -- which is particularly insulting, as many organizations actually pay movie theaters to dispose of excess "nacho cheese" generated by various industrial processes.

How to Avoid Being Ripped Off:

Sneak your own candy into the movies. This is a time-honored pastime that everyone's probably done at one point or another. I think this is why those huge puffy vests got so popular for awhile.

"Please don't hug me. This thing is filled with cheese."

How to REALLY Avoid Being Ripped Off:

Sell your own snacks inside the theater. Wear your puffiest vest, concealing one of those camel packs that hikers and backcountry skiers use. Fill that bastard with Dr. Pepper, and when the movie starts, begin prowling the aisles, muttering, "Get your Pepper. Pepper here. Pepper, Pepper, Pepper, Pepper, Pepper." When you find a buyer, simply give him a toot through the mouthpiece concealed in the enormous carnation that you obviously wear at all times.

#1. University Textbooks

This is a tough one. On the one hand, every bit of statistical evidence we have suggests that if you don't have a university degree, the best career available for you is $10 Handjob Technician. On the other hand, universities are incredibly, outrageously expensive, because the people who run the things know their students will pay anything to ensure a life of having to provide merely recreational handjobs.

Compared to the big costs like tuition, textbooks are kind of a footnote, but a frustrating one. They're rarely usable for more than one course, get regularly updated and "refreshed" to make them harder to resell to next year's suckers and in many cases are barely even referred to by the professor. What are we buying 800-page books for if we only need 70 pages? Have you heard of the Internet, you colossal dinks? Little demons packing up electric O's and I's, and giving them to tiny robots to carry long tubes? (I think that's how it goes; I refused to buy the TCP/IP text during my undergrad.)

How to Avoid Being Ripped Off:

You could study less. That's always been a popular choice.

More practically, many students are now getting together to share texts with friends, or using reference copies available in the library. Many textbook excerpts can also be found online -- whole textbooks can occasionally even be found on those websites that are not in any way going to be linked here, but we're all cool, so you know what I'm talking about.

I'm talking about Amazon.com obviously.

How to REALLY Avoid Being Ripped Off:

Twenty dollar handjobs. Nobody out there gives a good handy any more; the manual genital manipulation sector is ripe for a hot new business venture. Work on your technique, establish a premium product and the world will come to you, or at the very least, near you. Then, with the right business case sent to A&E or TLC, you'll soon find yourself the star of a show called Handymen or Tug Stars or something like that. The only textbooks you'll need then will be to decorate the set of your "Fantasies of Soft-Handed Librarians" exhibit, and even those can be written off as a business expense.

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For more from Bucholz, check out An Apology to Customers of My Hot Dog Stand and Something Called Science Claims the Internet Makes Us Dumb.

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Chris Bucholz

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