I was thinking about this the other day. This almost always happens when you buy online. But why do we pay in advance at McDonald’s but not the Four Seasons or Red Lobster?

Is it an insult to be asked to pay up front? Or do you just go with the flow?

Some things require a down payment such as a car or home. Other things you walk out the door with the item and the merchant will bill you later.

I wonder what determines when or why some payments are made in advance and others delayed?

I replaced my old furnace and the company wanted half down in advance and the other half when the job was done.

I have a service that fertilizes my lawn and they bill me.

The hospital will ask you for some form of insurance before you can even tell them you’re having a heart attack.

They will happily put you in bankruptcy for anything not covered by your insurance.

My wife bought some chew bones for the dogs online. They were inexpensive but when they arrived they were huge. Our dogs weren’t sure what to do with them.

Finally they did chow down on them but now we’ve got two knucklebones that are bigger than a soft ball. Maybe I’ll do videos when we crack those open.

Some Final Thoughts

Almost every business that asks for payment up front has some form of return policy. Many online items come with return instructions included in the box.

Otherwise you might be reluctant to order something you’re not sure of.

Shopping channels always want bucks up front. But your electric, Internet, water, and gas are usually billed.

There are times I’m surprised when people don’t ask for money at the time of purchase. But I might do business with them because I get the immediate gratification and can postpone the pain of payment until my bank account is a little more flush.

Would you eat at Olive Garden more often if they billed you? Or would you go into sticker shock when you got the bill?

Bill paying is bad enough without all these decisions.

What do you think? Comments below.