When I was a little kid, there was this hamburger joint in Clayton, MO that served calfburgers with a cheddar cheese spread and steak fries. My dad used to take me there back in the day, and it was the kind of burger joint experience that Norman Rockwell could have spent some time turning into a painting.
But over the past couple of years, the management team at that burger joint began taking advantage of its brand equity and made no hesitation when it came to engaging in questionable business practices that likely alienated the consumer base. First, they segregated each item into individual pieces while simultaneously raising the price of each—for instance, what once was a cheeseburger and fries for $7.99 turned into a $5.99 hamburger, plus $0.99 for cheese, plus $2.25 for fries. The price of drinks went up from $0.99 to $1.99, and they began charging $0.25 for a refill. The last time I went there with my dad, they had begun charging $0.25 for water.