Please Charge Me More!

My daughter recently bought some balloons and got them filled with helium from a local shop. Before the day was done, they’d already started dropping. By the next morning, they were on the floor. In years gone by, helium filled balloons would stay up for a few days. Now I’m not saying that the helium the shop supplied was laced with a cheaper gas, like air for example, but it wouldn’t surprise me.

I don’t mind being charged more for a product or a service, so long as that product or service is not adulterated in any way.

Take the transport network in London. All things considered, it’s just so much better than it was when I was growing up that it’s almost crazy to make any kind of comparison. From being able to track the times of trains and buses in real time to knowing that most of the time, you will not have to wait forever for a bus (though it might sometimes feel like that); from greatly improved wheelchair access to stations to having any access at all for wheelchairs and large buggies on buses, things are just considerably better. Whilst I moan at the increases, this is more an issue of wages not keeping up with rising costs than anything. The service has not been adulterated while the prices continue to rise.

In another case, take specialist hardware. The cost of production goes down over the lifecycle of a product and sometimes the shell will be replaced with something of cheaper quality. I don’t mind this as much because in general, the prices also come down, reliability goes up and the core functionality of the product has not been compromised.

Crisps however, are a case in point. No, it’s not just because I’m bigger. You get fewer crisps in number along with a corresponding reduction in weight, but the prices continue to go up. I’m not a crisp aficionado, but it is insulting.

It’s a far more serious problem when more important food is tainted.

We Muslims in particular should be careful about this. The Qur’an is explicit in its guidance on this matter:

“Give full measure, and be not of those who give less (than the due).”

26:181

I would always prefer to pay more than to be cheated on what I’m buying. Even if that means I have to go without.

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