Skip to content

COVID-19 surcharge: Necessity or opportunistic?

Is it a sign of the times or here to stay? In this week's Everything King, Wendy gives her two cents
cashier retail cash register stock

Even as I write this, I am not quite sure how I feel about it?

The COVID-19 surcharge.

I’ve been noticing it on certain things and, in my mind, I have questioned it every time, but said nothing.

Most of the time, I was so thankful to be able to get a service — be it hair or nails or a food delivery — that I just kind of accepted it and moved on.

Then I wondered what is it exactly and what does it pay for?

Am I now paying for the business extra cleaning supplies and efforts?

Is it for the hand sanitizer, gloves and gowns?

Shouldn’t they have been doing lots of cleaning long before the outbreak of this disease?

I understand businesses are doing more of it now and having to wear personal protective equipment, but is that my fault?  I mean, it's nobody’s fault, but isn’t it the price of doing business?

This is one of those subjects where there are two very logical sides.

On the one hand, we want our local businesses to remain open and viable, so if it costs a little more per visit then so be it.

On the other hand, though, everybody has been impacted and everyone is having to pay more for everything, so why does the consumer get hit at every turn?

Many families are already financially stretched to the limit having been laid off, displaced or had hours cut back. Now comes the added burden of a COVID fee. Is it fair?  Is it necessary?

Some restaurants say they are tacking on the charges because the cost of food has gone up so much and when things settle down they’ll remove it.

Forgive me, but the cynic in me says that’s highly unlikely.

Some nail salons have tacked on an extra $5 per service. I am paying that, but getting less pampering. These add-ons will force me either to forego a tip or go much less frequently, which I don’t really think helps them maintain the business nor recoup their losses of the past few months.

I assume added fees are happening at hair salons, barbers, massage therapists and similar services and I have heard of added fees tacked on by some health-care professionals like dentists. 

I have a bit of a problem paying for an offices' cleaning supplies.

Part of me feels, in some cases, this could be a fee of opportunity. You know, get it while the getting is good and people are too stressed or frightened to question it.

Over the last few months, I have tried to buy local, tip extra, donate to causes and be open-minded, but every once in a while there’s that nagging feeling that some companies are taking advantage. Would I gladly do it for a few more months? I think I would. Do I want it to continue? No, I don't.

We’ll all just be forced to prioritize.

If prices are too high, we just won’t go out or we’ll go less often or we will find a new cheaper outlet.

I think we’ve all learned the lesson we can do with way less.

If we are all truly in this together, how about a little more give and a little less take?

That’s my two cents with no extra fees attached.


About the Author: Wendy King

Wendy King writes about all kinds of things from nutrition to the job search from cats to clowns — anything and everything — from the ridiculous to the sublime. Watch for Wendy's column weekly.
Read more