One of the most common black box of everyday life is the “price” of modern items. Companies exploit black box complexity to shroud true expense from unwary customers. Echoing points made by Scott Adams about phone pricing plans, Bob Sullivan of NBC examines this practice in his article “Death of the price tag, stolen from us too young”
“But the real problem with slain price tags comes with newfangled subscription products, where consumers slowly but surely become numb to price, and where hidden fees, huge bills and bait-and-switch teaser pricing leave buyers utterly confused. This phenomenon obviously hurts consumers, but it hurts industry too — with clear pricing, the best companies with the best products and the best value are rewarded over time. Without clear prices, companies that create the most confusion win, and honest companies slowly fade away. For an academic look at this phenomenon, read, "Shrouded Attributes, Consumer Myopia, and Information Suppression in Competitive Markets."