Sorry to any royals, landlords, Realtors, and MLM enthusiasts who may be reading this.
by Stephen LaConte
Recently, a viral Reddit thread asked, "What thing is secretly just one giant scam?"
The thread quickly went viral as thousands of people started calling out the products, industries, and institutions that they believe are a big, fat fraud. Here are some of the top-voted responses:
1."The whole baby product industry is based on making parents feel worthless and irresponsible if they don’t shell out for things that will be outgrown or unnecessary in six months."
2."Ink cartridges for your printer are super cheap to manufacture, but the retail price is really high."
3."Casinos. All of the casinos in my state are video poker and video slot machines. There are barely any table games left. No one is happy, no one is having fun. It's just a room full of zombies feeding the machines and losing money. Every person I talk to is convinced that they know the secret formula to win. You cannot win. The entire thing is a psychology hack to give people the impression they're winning, when they're not."
4."Any claim that a 'magic' drink will help you burn fat. No, no drink or food can burn fat — that is a pure fabrication."
5."Anything that says it will detox your body. That's what your kidneys are for."
6."Pretty much anything that says it will enlarge your penis."
7."Corporate-owned apartment complexes tacking on hundreds of extra dollars in monthly fees on top of rent. Mandatory cable TV packages, parking fees (on a flat surface lot, with no assigned parking), valet trash. All a scam, and just a way for them to pocket incremental sales on top of rent."
8."All multilevel marketing companies (MLMs). They tell you that all you have to do is get five people to sign up, and each of them gets five people to sign up, etc. Except these are not mathematical geniuses running these companies. By the time you get about 12 levels deep, you’ve surpassed the entire population of the Earth. It’s a good lesson in exponents."
9."Essential oils being marketed as having these major health benefits, or as treatment for illnesses. The only exception is clearing your sinuses. Some essential oils actually do pretty good work in that regard (at least for me personally...mileage will vary, I'm sure)."
10."Convincing every high school kid they NEED to go to university. In reality, a skilled trade or another specialized school would be the best route for a lot of people, and the pay can be very good."
11."College tuition. I graduated with a BS in information technology and computer science. Working at a job and earning just as much as my coworkers who didn’t go to college and earned certifications. They have zero debt, while I’m $40,000 in the hole."
12."Recycling. Some countries just dump it at the same place as trash. Some do better, but it's still a 'feel good' thing people do. I still do it."
13."The US healthcare system. I went to the ER a few weeks ago for an unknown pain in my chest and overall shitty feeling. Got slapped with a $1,500 bill for what turned out to be viral food poisoning. My brother, who is a doctor, said that was normal. Why the fuck is that normal?!"
14."That humans are here to just work and die. No way humans evolved so we can work five out of seven days of the week, trying to jam fun in on weekends."
15."The fucking wedding industry in the US: $20,000–$30,000 for a single-day, stressful-as-hell event. When I learned a photographer alone runs $5,000 minimum, I almost puked."
16."Two-party political systems. They seem to be in opposition to each other, but in reality, they take 'donations' from the same entities to further their agendas, so the sense of choice is mostly false."
17."Any online course promising to teach you how to make money."
18."Realtors. Probably the most overpaid, underqualified profession. The commission-based comp is crippling for some sellers, and if you try to sell on your own ('For Sale by Owner'), they will steer all their buyers away from you."
19."The 'all natural' market/label. Means nothing."
20."Non-GMO food. GMOs are safe, and we have been unknowingly doing this for thousands of years. Now we just have a more reliable, safe, and fast way to do it."
21."Having a royal family. It’s bonkers in this day and age that a country as grown-up as Britain has a monarch that costs us all money, just for the privilege of having her. A literal queen, wearing a crown, who believes that she was sent by God to sit on a gold throne. And we have to sing a song asking for her longevity at football games."
22."In the US, doing my own taxes. The government literally has all my info and can do it for me, but their excuse is that 'Americans like doing their own taxes'! No. I especially don't like being forced to pay for a service like TurboTax, either."
What things do YOU wish more people recognized were scams? Sound off in the comments.
Note: Some responses have been edited for length and/or clarity.