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Stan reads the fine print for you • Brooklyn Paper

Stan reads the fine print for you

Two weeks ago we spoke about the new rules regarding the price of air travel and “transparency.” Now we know that the advertised price of an airline ticket includes tax. If those guys in government really want us to know full prices of an industry, they might want to take a look at auto rentals.

This morning I received an e-mail from Enterprise Rent-A-Car advertising a $9.99 daily weekend special. But I checked the fine print, and learned that this deal is available “At most neighborhood locations.” English translation: this low price is not available at the airport. OK. No problem. If one doesn’t mind a 20-minute wait, the “neighborhood” location will pick him up at the terminal. A three day weekend rental for $29.97 is a steal. I may be flying into Islip to visit the grandchildren for a weekend in early April, so let’s look at this mega-magnificent $30 weekend special again — and all I want is the least-expensive car with automatic transmission and air conditioning.

Enterprise will send a van to take me to the rental office at no extra charge. There is, however, a sales tax, licensing tax, recovery tax, title tax, and facility tax. The total cost for this $30 automobile rental is now $65.74, more than double the advertised price.

If any branch of our government is searching for transparency and truth in advertising, start here.

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The New York Times tells us that the income of the wealthiest one percent of the nation, the so-called “one-percenters” — ranges from a low of $380,000 a year to Warren Buffet’s billions. This One Percent Club picks up the tab for 35 percent of the tax collected by the federal government — and keep in mind that 49.5 percent of the population pays no income tax at all.

This club has more in common with each other than just their money. They are twice as likely as the 99 percent to be married, they are more likely to own their own businesses, and — here’s the one that caught my eye and memory — the “one-percenters” are three times more likely than the rest of America to work more than 50 hours a week.

Really? Only 50 hours a week?

I recall the days when I first went into business. I was so deep in debt that I worked 80 consecutive 12-hour days before I took my first day off. And when I was home, my time was divided between my family and my business homework.

I believed that working hard while you are young is an investment that will afford you a very nice lifestyle when you get older. Yes. Carol and I have a very nice lifestyle. Next week we will be sailing on our 91st cruise. I recently had a conversation with a young man half my age who told me how lucky I am. Lucky? No way. I didn’t win a lottery. I broke my tuckus to get where I am.

Oh, sure. I admit that we had a lot of opportunity 50 years ago but, if you look, there is still opportunity around today. Before you write and tell me about the people who need the safety net, it’s not them who I find fault with. It’s those people who use the safety net as a hammock that bug me.

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And the scams keep on coming. Southwest Airlines will give me vouchers for five free tickets (not really) if I enter all of my private information including my passwords, my credit cards, and, well, you know the rest. I am StanGershbein@Bellsouth.net wondering: do people really fall for this?

Read Stanley Gerhsbein's column every Monday on BrooklynDaily.com.

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