In most money matters, it pays to be fair. (Certainly when paying back your friends.) But when big businesses try to be fair to their customers, sometimes it can backfire in a big way.
Take J.C. Penney. Back in February, they hired a new CEO, Ron Johnson (who built Apple Inc.’s retail operation) to revamp their declining sales. The department store chain then made some radical changes to their pricing. They eliminated coupons, got rid of confusing fine print, and cut back from over 500 sales a year to just 12. The goal was to make shopping simpler, more transparent, and fairer for consumers.
Dear Splitwise returns this week to settle the issue of shelf space in a fridge that is owned by a roommate. This is common in places like Europe, where household appliances being included with a rental isn’t necessarily the norm.
I live with three other people in a four-bedroom share house. One of my housemates owns a 400L fridge. She uses between 40-60% of the fridge space, depending on how much food she has at the time. She also claims sole use of the largest and most convenient shelf (there are only three shelves, so no-one else can have their own shelf) and says that this is fair because it is her fridge. If we wanted to have unfettered fridge access, then we should supply our own fridge.
The problem with this – aside from the logistical issues with placing multiple fridges in an average-sized, inner-suburban house – is that the kitchen of a shared house is shared space. We all rent that space. If a housemate wants to carve out a fridge empire or own other large ungainly objects that others can’t freely use, they should do so in their bedroom and leave the common areas to be used equally by all housemates.
Ryan pushed out a mini-update this week for people who manage large apartments and big group trips. The feature lets you see who everyone owes, not just for yourself.
We noticed that if not everyone in your apartment was a registered user, it was hard to tell the big picture of who-owes who. This is helpful if you manage finances for your apartment, and send out an email each month to settle up all the debts. Or if you go on a big trip and don’t want to bother registering every last person’s email.
This feature doesn’t look very pretty yet, but we felt it was important to have it, and we will be improving it over the next month or two.
I’ve been hearing a lot via email about international currencies recently, which is awesome. They’re coming right up! It’s our top priority once we get mobile apps out the door. Let us know if you want to make sure your currency is included.
For what it’s worth, I will probably be switching my blogging schedule to Monday and Wednesday from now on. With the exception being a post tomorrow. Till then!
Ryan and I have been hard at work the last few months building this project, formerly known as SplitTheRent.com. We’ve redesigned and updated our bill-sharing platform, added recurring payments, percentage splits, multi-user expenses, and an expense tagging and tracking system. We added a furniture calculator, and adapted the site for Australia and New Zealand. We are finishing up mobile apps for iPhone and Android.
We’ve hoped to write on our blog more often, so with the start of the fall semester, we’re turning over a new leaf. For the next few months, we will be releasing new blog posts on Tuesday and Thursday of each week (at roughly 10am, starting this week). We have exciting data and some fun sharing questions we want to write about!
One issue we’ve run into is that people confuse the rent-splitting calculator and the main bill-sharing app. So we’ve changed our name to Splitwise.com, which refers to both the app and to this blog. From now on, we will use “SplitTheRent” just to refer to the rent-splitting calculator. Our new name should make it easier to distinguish between our projects, and to explain our project to friends and new users. (This new blog is also now being run on WordPress.)
Thank you again, beta-testers, for all your wonderful feedback and sharing the site with others. You rock our socks. Please share with your friends, and let us know if you have thoughts or questions by emailing email@example.com, or via twitter or commenting on this blog.