Ways We Are Costing Each Other Money

A show on television caught my eye the other day about shoplifting. The show profiled some career shoplifters and followed the cops before they busted some pretty big shoplifting rings. One had thieved millions of dollars worth of merchandize from stores such as WalMart, Walgreens, etc. They then sold the merchandise on places like eBay or in flea markets for a lower price.

It mentioned that shoplifting (both by employees and “customers”) costs the companies so much that increases the costs to consumers. The cost of that shrinkage is added to the price of merchandise so that we, as individuals, have to pay more because of the shoplifting.

As I was watching this, it occurred to me that the actions of others tend to cost us all a lot of money, and in more ways than just shoplifting.


Of course, shoplifting costs us a lot of money because the cost to the company gets added to the cost to the consumer, but it’s also expensive due to prosecution charges for the criminal or thief. The amount of money that the government spends on prosecuting these people costs us all in tax payer dollars as well.

Poor Driving Habits

When you drive like a maniac, you drive insurance premiums up. Then you probably complain about the price of insurance.

We are costing each other (and ourselves) money by doing this. Because of a handful of people’s crappy driving habits, the rest of the population has to suffer with higher insurance premiums.

Many studies show that men drive more dangerously than women, and as such, men have to pay a higher premium in some countries. This is not so in Canada, so the cost of bad driving habits is spread evenly over the population.

Scamming the System

The other day, I heard somebody on the bus who was talking about how he was trying to scam the system. He was trying to get the company he worked for to tell the government that they laid him off, so that he could collect employment insurance (EI) while he took the summer off.

The organization, of course, wouldn’t do it. This is unethical and angering.

He didn’t get away with it, but consider all of those people who have; there are tons of people scamming the system every day, from collecting employment insurance or welfare when they don’t need it, to cheating on their taxes.

This costs tax payers money, and because of the people cheating the system, we all have to pay the price in higher taxes. The money to support all of these people (who don’t need it) has to come from somewhere; if we only paid for those people who really do need it, that tax money could either be diverted to a more important cause or tax rates could be lowered.

Poor Hygiene

Having inadequate hand hygiene can also cost others a lot of money. If I spread a virus or bacteria that I could have easily washed off of my hands, and somebody else picks it up, they may forced to stay home from work for a few days, resulting in a financial loss.

It also costs money in medications and healthcare. Especially in a place like Canada, with universal healthcare, spreading illness costs tax payers a lot of money.


I’m sure there are a lot of ways that we end up costing other people money. We all do things like I’ve listed above (maybe not shoplifting or scamming the system, but certainly driving like maniacs sometimes). What do you do that costs other people money?


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45 thoughts on “Ways We Are Costing Each Other Money

  1. Hi Daisy!

    This was a very interesting article, especially when you mention universal healthcare in Canada.

    Do you think you could share more about what it is like to have universal healthcare? Not in a political, controversial way, but on a day to day "I feel sick, this is how I see a doctor" kind of way. Very curious!

    1. Hailey


      I'm from Canada and while we have higher taxes, i think our health care platform is great. For example... a few weeks ago I was feeling pretty sick at work so on my way home I stopped off at my doctor's office, was seen within 20 minutes and home with meds within 35 minutes.
      Also, about 5 months ago, I had searing pain in back, so my boyfriend took me to the emergency room, we had no hesitation to get help and I was home within 2 hours (had kidney stones and got some pain meds (free from hospital) and have been fine ever since).
      Also, just yesterday, I got my blood tested for iron levels and it took about 4 minutes total. All I had to do was ask my doctor to request a blood test and the next day I was in the clinic.

      It's a HUGE bonus not to ever have to worry about seeking help when you're not feeling your best.

      And of course, there are problems with our system (people scamming, as mentioned above), and we do have some pretty severe wait times in some parts of the country. It's a huge political issue here in Canada. There are also some concerns with getting the best health care, I know of some people who pay extra to have specialized care in the USA (such as MRI scans and the like, so they don't have to wait for an opening in Canada).

    2. I would also like to hear more about universal healthcare in Canada. It gets such a bad name here in the U.S.... I would like to hear specifics about how it works for you!!!

  2. I have a colleague that comes to work at 12.00 and leaves at 16.00 and in my opinion he is the most well paid employee in our company. In this hours he sends us e-mail with personal development tehniques and he actually work for the company about 2 hours a day. He does this for about 2 years and still works.
    If a person could cheat the system he will do it, the important thing is to be prepared to catch it.

    I forget to tell you that he has medical note for all these hours and sometimes when he is not in the mood for work, he gets 2-3 days off with the medical note. That's a good scam.

  3. I guess it depends on if you can live with yourself. I don't think I'm doing anything to cost other people money, but who knows. I think people who is scamming the system will never really get ahead. It takes hard work and perseverance to be successful in life. If you're busy scamming the system, you won't have the time and energy to be successful.

  4. Daisy,
    Interesting take on poor hygiene. It's probably just as damaging in the U.S.

    Property insurance fraud is another example, although I'm not sure how common that is. I've only seen stories of criminals who scammed their insurance company for millions of dollars.

    -Christian L. @ Smart Military Money

    1. Christian - in Florida sinkhole insurance is one of the most fraud ridden areas. I've heard that policies were bought in central Florida strawberry areas wih known sinkholes and the insurance payouts were quick and big! Tens of thousands of dollars or more. Now sinkhole coverage is more expensive and has way more loopholes. Actually - a lot like the exterior structures coverage that I wrote about hitting our pool and pool cage in our blog today.

  5. Note on the Driving Habits: In BC, insurance premiums are fairly leveled, however in other provinces males do pay substantially more. For example, in Ontario, especially when they are young.

  6. Very interesting thoughts! Our society is a little bit doomed to always be handicapped by the lowest common denominator. Just like in grade-school, it would only take that one kid to ruin it for the rest of the class!

  7. In Florida, drivers without insurance are so prevalent (even though it's against the law) that we are required to buy a special kind of aditional coverage that covers ourselves even if someone uninsured hits us. And it's not a trivial cost. =\

  8. Most people don;t realize that scamming the system will end up coming back to bite everyone in the butt. Companies have to get back lost income somehow and they tend to always pass it along to the customers

  9. I guess I better stop shoplifting then. 🙁 lol! I kid. I do hate it when people cheat the system, or unnecessarily sue. I think in the end that does cost us a lot of money. Can't we all just get along?

  10. It really grinds my gears when people try to cheat the system at work. There are a LOT of those in the government, that's for sure.It's not fair for the rest of us who are honest, hardworking people.

  11. I hope this isn't too far off topic: personally, I have awesome neighbors all around us, but if you don't maintain your own house and lawn, all the weeds and bugs that you have can migrate over. My mom used to have neighbors that would pile up trash in their back yard! How gross is that? My parents struggled with ants, cockroaches, and even mice! They had to pay for professional pest control because these people were just so filthy. Thankfully, those nasty neighbors moved out. We've never had anyone that remotely close to that bad!

  12. Common courtesy and a little grace can save everyone around you some money. It is a bummer that a handful of morons can cause your insurance to go up, or people coming to work sick can infect others and put them out of work for a few days.

    People don't tend to think this way during their day-to-day.

    Here's mine: Second hand smoke. Health issues, medical bills, heck, even death can be caused because an unresponsible smoker is not courtoues enough to NOT smoke near others.

  13. Edward Antrobus

    I don't know about the Canadian system, but in the US, the first teir of unemployment benefits are paid for by a payroll tax. In NJ, it's even labeled as "unemployment insurance." I figure I paid the money into that fund, so I have no problems claiming that money back.

    1. Evelyn

      Canada has an Umemployment insurance system as well and many people pay into it. You have to work a certain number of weeks to be eligible to receive the benefit. I have known people work to get their weeks in and then collect for as long as they are allowed to, treating the benefit as some kind of personal fund. Add up how much is paid in by an individual who is scamming this system and how much is paid out. Likely you will find that there is a deficit position. For those who need it? I'm all for it. I do however, get really irate about those who are abusing it.

    2. Yes - it's an insurance product, not a savings account. You get to draw at a rate based on your earnings, blah blah blah. The issue is with systemic users and abusers. For example, you can work as a forest fire fighter each summer and then collect EI each winter and do that for your whole life. What you receive through the winter is much, much more than what you paid in. One-offs, sure.... using it as your income every single year is something I disagree with.

  14. I try to drive safe and never steal so hopefully I'm not costing you too much money! I'm also going to try to stay home from work more if I get really sick... don't want to hurt the company's productivity.

  15. Well, I don't drive, so can't blame me there! 😉

    I do cost my company in productivity - everything that I need to get done gets done. I don't think anyone could complain that I don't get my work done. But I'm definitely the kind of person who will use their sick days, use their vacation days and use their medical days.

  16. Eddie

    As many people that are scamming the government, there are equally as many ways that the government is trying to stick their hands in our pockets.

    A great example is paying taxes on private car sales, government trying to figure out ways for waiters to claim more income (from tips) so they can charge more taxes, and them presently working on a platform to have people who host garage sales to pay taxes on income earned. Sounds fair? I think not. Taxes on top of taxes.

    Remember, the government will always be on the top, and virtually could never go bankrupt. Rather than focusing on civilians trying to gain more cash from the government, we should focus on govt. officials spending freely on lavish hotels, trips around the world, home upgrades, and excessive office spending - all from your, my, and everyone's wallet.

    1. Skirting your other points: Tips - why would some people's income not be subject to income tax like the rest of us? You're supposed to declare tips... if everyone did, revenues would be up and we wouldn't have to charge as much tax.
      Expensive OJ is a whole other problem, though.

      1. Eddie

        The answer is simple, very few people are willing to be on their feet for 8hrs, carry food, listen to others bitch, and whatever else in between.

        The problem is not the waiters, there are those with millions in earnings who avoid paying taxes - Donald and Mit Romney are two great examples.

        Why don't we go after them? Because we can't, so instead we try to hit the students, single moms side hustling, and singletons who wait tables instead.

        Let's get real here.

        1. Sorry, I'm Canadian, top earners pay a rather substantial amount of income tax here. I've worked as wait staff, as have many of my friends.
          I assumed that you were responding to the recent audit by the CRA that found $1.7M in unreported tips in one small city! That is a lot of income that some feel they do not have to pay tax on, like the rest of us, costing us all money in the long run.

  17. A few I would add to the list:
    - Not tipping well because you're "on a budget" (In my opinion, that's almost like stealing in the U.S.!)
    - Being out of shape / unhealthy because of lifestyle choices. Y'all know the obvious healthcare implications of that 😉

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