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8 times the 'helpers' eased the pain of sad situations in 2015.

2015 was an intense year.

Some pretty amazing things happened. The Supreme Court legalized same sex marriage, we made incredible progress in space exploration, and yet another country eradicated polio.

But we faced some seriously difficult times, too. There were many mass shootings in the U.S., Paris suffered a terrible terrorist attack, and all around the world, girls as young as 8 years old were still being forced to marry. And like every year, 2015 was another that saw ongoing problems, like homelessness and hunger.


But even in the tragic and sad times, there were so many people who showed us the very best of humanity. So many people who reminded us that the good far outweighs the bad.

Mister Rogers calls them the helpers.

Actually, his mom called them the helpers, but close enough!

Sometimes the helpers are those who, in the wake of a tragedy, are quite literally saving lives. There are also the quieter helpers. The ones who are there to do what they can, long after the news cameras have gone. The ones who see serious everyday problems and know that even small gestures of compassion can make a world of difference.

There were a lot of helpers in 2015.

Here are eight of them that I want to remember because they remind me of the good in the world and inspire me to do my part when I can, no matter how small, to help make the world a better place.

1. A California mom found a way to help Syrian refugees with young children.

Image via "Today."

By now, we've all read about the Syrian refugee crisis: Millions of people have been forced to flee Syria, leaving everything behind. They have to travel great distances, often risking death, to reach safety.

When Cristal Logothetis noticed how many refugees were carrying their babies and young children for long distances, she decided to do something about it.

She raised money and began collecting baby carriers, which she and other volunteers personally deliver to those who need them as they're traveling to safety. She called her movement Carry the Future. And as a result of that movement, refugees are better able to travel more safely and comfortably with babies and little kids.

"All they're trying to do is get to a better place and protect their family," Logothetis said in a Today interview. "Not only do they have a problem solved for them by receiving a carrier, but they realize that people care about them, that people want to help."

2. Two Muslim organizations joined forces and helped the families of the San Bernardino shooting victims by raising nearly $200,000.

Image by Joe Raedle/Getty Images.

The day after 14 people were killed in the San Bernardino mass shooting, two Californians knew they needed to do something to help. Neurologist and president of MiNDS Network Faisal Qazi and founder of CelebrateMercy Tarek El-Messidi got together and formed Muslims United for San Bernardino. Their original goal? To raise $50,000 for the victims' families. But with the help of many people who donated money, they raised over $215,000 for the family members of those whose lives were tragically stolen.

"This united American Muslim campaign aims to reclaim our faith from extremists by responding to evil with good, by rebuilding what they destroy," El-Messidi said in a press release. "We wish to respond to evil with good, as our faith instructs us, and send a powerful message of compassion through action."

3. This Ohio pizza shop fed the hungry on Thanksgiving.

Photo by Bada Bing! Pizzeria/Facebook, used with permission.

Homelessness and hunger are both big problems that many people face every single day. Over 48 million Americans are food insecure, meaning they have "limited or uncertain availability of nutritionally adequate and safe foods."

Jason Hague, owner of Bada Bing! Pizzeria, was already planning on having a Thanksgiving dinner for his friends and family. He thought: Why not invite more folks? He put out on open invitation for anyone who couldn't afford a meal to join them. Hague initially thought they'd have maybe 15 guests, but after news of their offer spread, he realized they needed to be prepared for more. His pizzeria bought enough food to feed 100 additional guests. It was just one meal on one day, but imagine how much of a difference it would make if everyone who was able helped in small ways, like donating to food banks?

4. A paramedic left in the middle of her own wedding to help the victims of an accident.

Photo by Marcy Martin, used with permission.

In between her wedding ceremony and reception, Sarah Ray learned that there was an accident a mile away. It turned out that her father and grandparents were involved. She and her new husband, also a paramedic, immediately left their wedding and raced to the scene, where she assisted her family members — while still rocking her wedding dress.

"This is a testament that people that work in EMS are always on duty. It is a testament to the willingness to help others," Jimmie Edwards, who is both Sarah and Paul's boss, said. True story! Thank you to the helpers who are the first responders in difficult situations.

5. Muslims raised money to rebuild Christian churches that were damaged and destroyed by fires.

Photo by Sean Rayford/Getty Images.

In June, there was yet another terrible mass shooting that stole the lives of nine members of a black Christian church in Charleston, South Carolina. As if that wasn't awful enough, at least eight churches with black congregations were burned in the wake of the shooting, many of them as a result of suspected arson. The suspected reason for the fires started by arson was racism. The outward displays of it seemed to worsen following the mass shooting, which was racially motivated, and subsequent call to remove the confederate flag from the South Carolina statehouse.

A handful of Muslim American groups began raising money to help members of those Christian congregations rebuild their houses of worship. The Muslim groups exceeded their funding goal of $100,000 — now that's an example of people living out faith through their actions.

6. This family invited homeless people to enjoy a wedding reception dinner when the groom backed out.

When their daughter's fiancé called off the wedding at the very last minute, the Duane family from California decided not to let all that amazing food go to waste. Sure, they were sad for their daughter, but as the intended bride's mom said, "When I found out on Monday that the wedding would not be taking place, it just seemed like, of course, this would be something that we would do to give back."

As with the Ohio Pizzeria, this one-time event didn't solve hunger, but it made a difference to the guests who enjoyed salmon, tri-tip beef, gnocchi, and other delicious food. If we all used opportunities — big or small — to help the hungry, it would add up.

7. Instead of ticketing people who panhandle, the mayor of Albuquerque found a simple way to help them.

Photo by the city of Albuquerque, used with permission.

Feeding the homeless is one way to help. Offering them the opportunity to work is another. When Albuquerque mayor Richard Barry saw someone with a "will work" sign, he thought they should have the chance to do just that. His administration expanded a homeless assistance program to include work by the day. Those who accept the offer work five-and-a-half hour shifts for $9 an hour.

"We want to give the dignity of work for a day," Berry told Upworthy. "The dignity of a day's work for a day's pay is a very good thing. It helps people stabilize, it helps them with their self-confidence, and it helps them get back on their feet." At the end of each workday, the driver who transports the workers drops them off at St. Martin's Hospitality Center, which offers food, shelter, and other services.Here's hoping other cities will follow suit.

8. This couple provides a safe home for gay children who were rejected by their families.

Photo via Deb Word, used with permission.

Deb and Steve Word, observant Catholics, learned their son was gay when he was 23 years old. They asked why he didn't tell them sooner — and they learned he was worried they might not approve because of their religion.

That made the couple realize that others kids faced the same struggle — and they might not have parents who receive them with open arms, which is particularly problematic if they're still young and living at home. So they decided to open up their home to LBGT kids who needed a place to stay.

During the past six years, they've fostered a dozen such kids, many of them rejected by their own families. "[It was a] WWJD kind of thing," Deb told Upworthy. "We really just welcomed hurting kids into our spare bedrooms." It feels a whole lot bigger than that — and Deb and Steve are an amazing example of what a difference helpers can make.

I'm certain 2016 will have it's share of challenges, but here's to a new year full of the kindness and empathy in action these helpers have shown us.

Sponsored

3 organic recipes that feed a family of 4 for under $7 a serving

O Organics is the rare brand that provides high-quality food at affordable prices.

A woman cooking up a nice pot of pasta.

Over the past few years, rising supermarket prices have forced many families to make compromises on ingredient quality when shopping for meals. A recent study published by Supermarket News found that 41% of families with children were more likely to switch to lower-quality groceries to deal with inflation.

By comparison, 29% of people without children have switched to lower-quality groceries to cope with rising prices.

Despite the current rising costs of groceries, O Organics has enabled families to consistently enjoy high-quality, organic meals at affordable prices for nearly two decades. With a focus on great taste and health, O Organics offers an extensive range of options for budget-conscious consumers.

O Organics launched in 2005 with 150 USDA Certified Organic products but now offers over 1,500 items, from organic fresh fruits and vegetables to organic dairy and meats, organic cage-free certified eggs, organic snacks, organic baby food and more. This gives families the ability to make a broader range of recipes featuring organic ingredients than ever before.


“We believe every customer should have access to affordable, organic options that support healthy lifestyles and diverse shopping preferences,” shared Jennifer Saenz, EVP and Chief Merchandising Officer at Albertsons, one of many stores where you can find O Organics products. “Over the years, we have made organic foods more accessible by expanding O Organics to every aisle across our stores, making it possible for health and budget-conscious families to incorporate organic food into every meal.”

With some help from our friends at O Organics, Upworthy looked at the vast array of products available at our local store and created some tasty, affordable and healthy meals.

Here are 3 meals for a family of 4 that cost $7 and under, per serving. (Note: prices may vary by location and are calculated before sales tax.)

O Organic’s Tacos and Refried Beans ($6.41 Per Serving)

Few dishes can make a family rush to the dinner table quite like tacos. Here’s a healthy and affordable way to spice up your family’s Taco Tuesdays.

Prep time: 2 minutes

Cook time: 20 minutes

Total time: 22 minutes

Ingredients:

1 lb of O Organics Grass Fed Ground Beef ($7.99)

1 packet O Organics Taco Seasoning ($2.29)

O Organics Mexican-Style Cheese Blend Cheese ($4.79)

O Organics Chunky Salsa ($3.99)

O Organics Taco Shells ($4.29)

1 can of O Organics Refried Beans ($2.29)

Instructions:

1. Cook the ground beef in a skillet over medium heat until thoroughly browned; remove any excess grease.

2. Add 1 packet of taco seasoning to beef along with water [and cook as directed].

3. Add taco meat to the shell, top with cheese and salsa as desired.

4. Heat refried beans in a saucepan until cooked through, serve alongside tacos, top with cheese.

tacos, o organics, family recipesO Organics Mexican-style blend cheese.via O Organics

O Organics Hamburger Stew ($4.53 Per Serving)

Busy parents will love this recipe that allows them to prep in the morning and then serve a delicious, slow-cooked stew after work.

Prep time: 15 minutes

Cook time: 7 hours

Total time: 7 hours 15 minutes

Servings: 4

Ingredients:

1 lb of O Organics Grass Fed Ground Beef ($7.99)

1 ½ lbs O Organics Gold Potatoes ($4.49)

3 O Organics Carrots ($2.89)

1 tsp onion powder

I can O Organics Tomato Paste ($1.25)

2 cups water

1 yellow onion diced ($1.00)

1 clove garlic ($.50)

1 tsp salt

1/4 tsp pepper

2 tsp Italian seasoning or oregano

Instructions:

1. Cook the ground beef in a skillet over medium heat until thoroughly browned; remove any excess grease.

2. Transfer the cooked beef to a slow cooker with the potatoes, onions, carrots and garlic.

3. Mix the tomato paste, water, salt, pepper, onion powder and Italian seasoning in a separate bowl.

4. Drizzle the mixed sauce over the ingredients in the slow cooker and mix thoroughly.

5. Cover the slow cooker with its lid and set it on low for 7 to 8 hours, or until the potatoes are soft. Dish out into bowls and enjoy!

potatoes, o organics, hamburger stewO Organics baby gold potatoes.via O Organics


O Organics Ground Beef and Pasta Skillet ($4.32 Per Serving)

This one-pan dish is for all Italian lovers who are looking for a saucy, cheesy, and full-flavored comfort dish that takes less than 30 minutes to prepare.

Prep time: 2 minutes

Cook time: 25 minutes

Total time: 27 minutes

Servings: 4

Ingredients:

1 lb of O Organics Grass Fed Ground Beef ($7.99)

1 tbsp. olive oil

2 tsp dried basil

1 tsp garlic powder

1 can O Organics Diced Tomatoes ($2.00)

1 can O Organics Tomato Sauce ($2.29)

1 tbsp O Organics Tomato Paste ($1.25)

2 1/4 cups water

2 cups O Organics Rotini Pasta ($3.29)

1 cup O Organics Mozzarella cheese ($4.79)

Instructions:

1. Brown ground beef in a skillet, breaking it up as it cooks.

2. Sprinkle with salt, pepper and garlic powder

3. Add tomato paste, sauce and diced tomatoes to the skillet. Stir in water and bring to a light boil.

4. Add pasta to the skillet, ensuring it is well coated. Cover and cook for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

5. Remove the lid, sprinkle with cheese and allow it to cool.

o organics, tomato basil pasta sauce, olive oilO Organics tomato basil pasta sauce and extra virgin olive oil.via O Organics

Health

Neuroscience learns what Buddhism has known for ages: There is no constant self

Buddhist Monks have known for thousands of years what science is just now learning: the mind can be changed by training it.

Ven. Thich Thong Hai prays by a statue of Buddha in the garden at the Ventura Buddhist Center.

Proving that science and religion can, in fact, overlap, University of British Columbia researcher Evan Thompson has confirmed the Buddhist teaching of the not-self, or "anatta," is more than just a theory.

"Buddhists argue that nothing is constant, everything changes through time, you have a constantly changing stream of consciousness," he tells Quartz. "And from a neuroscience perspective, the brain and body is constantly in flux. There's nothing that corresponds to the sense that there's an unchanging self."


This reality that nothing stays the same should be liberating, because if people believe it, they'll no longer define themselves by their thoughts or be limited by a fixed idea of who they are. Their possibilities will be endless.

Buddhist Monks have known for thousands of years what science is just now learning: the mind can be changed by training it. Neuroplasticity, as it's called, endows people with the ability to grow and evolve, triumphing over bad habits and becoming more like the individuals they want to be.

Buddha, religion, self awareness, evolution, enlightenment

Buddha GIF

Giphy Discover & share this Big GIF with everyone you know. GIPHY is how you search, share, discover, and create GIFs.

Still, exactly how consciousness relates to the brain eludes both Buddhism and neuroscience. Buddhists suppose there's an iteration of consciousness that doesn't require a physical body; neuroscientists disagree.

"In neuroscience, you'll often come across people who say the self is an illusion created by the brain," Thompson says. "My view is that the brain and the body work together in the context of our physical environment to create a sense of self. And it's misguided to say that just because it's a construction, it's an illusion."


This article originally appeared on 09.23.17

Images provided by P&G

Three winners will be selected to receive $1000 donated to the charity of their choice.

True

Doing good is its own reward, but sometimes recognizing these acts of kindness helps bring even more good into the world. That’s why we’re excited to partner with P&G again on the #ActsOfGood Awards.

The #ActsOfGood Awards recognize individuals who actively support their communities. It could be a rockstar volunteer, an amazing community leader, or someone who shows up for others in special ways.

Do you know someone in your community doing #ActsOfGood? Nominate them between April 24th-June 3rdhere.Three winners will receive $1,000 dedicated to the charity of their choice, plus their story will be highlighted on Upworthy’s social channels. And yes, it’s totally fine to nominate yourself!

We want to see the good work you’re doing and most of all, we want to help you make a difference.

While every good deed is meaningful, winners will be selected based on how well they reflect Upworthy and P&G’s commitment to do #ActsOfGood to help communities grow.

That means be on the lookout for individuals who:

Strengthen their community

Make a tangible and unique impact

Go above and beyond day-to-day work

The #ActsOfGood Awards are just one part of P&G’s larger mission to help communities around the world to grow. For generations, P&G has been a force for growth—making everyday products that people love and trust—while also being a force for good by giving back to the communities where we live, work, and serve consumers. This includes serving over 90,000 people affected by emergencies and disasters through the Tide Loads of Hope mobile laundry program and helping some of the millions of girls who miss school due to a lack of access to period products through the Always #EndPeriodPoverty initiative.

Visit upworthy.com/actsofgood and fill out the nomination form for a chance for you or someone you know to win. It takes less than ten minutes to help someone make an even bigger impact.

Courtesy of Kisha Rose Woodhouse

Man surprises partner by performing haka alone at her graduation


Graduations can be emotional no matter if it's preschool, high school or college. Something about watching a loved one close one chapter to open a new one just does something to you. But sometimes people have a few more challenges getting across the stage that make it feel even sweeter.

One new mom, Kisha Rose Woodhouse, who goes by @kiisha.rose on TikTok, became pregnant and gave birth while finishing up her college degree. Clearly, determined to finish, Woodhouse walked across the stage at graduation with her baby on her hip. But that wasn't what got people all choked up while seeing her video, it was Woodhouse's partner who stood alone in the auditorium.

The man was visibly filled with pride from Woodhouse's accomplishments when he began doing the Tautoko, also known as the haka. Immediately the auditorium fell silent as the man's words and sharp movements filled the air. Seeing him perform such an emotional dance alone to honor his partner is enough to get just about anyone's eyes to water.


Woodhouse was visibly overcome with emotion when she heard her partner start the traditional Maori dance. While originally the haka was performed as a war dance, it has become a dance performed for major occasions, celebrations and funerals.

"Honestly that moment felt so surreal, it was completely unexpected and the way he expressed himself through his haka really summed up the respect and love we had for each other throughout all the challenges we faced to finally get me up on the stage and earn my diploma. And on that note, our son came with me as he deserved the diploma just as much as I did (he did attend every class while being in my tummy!)," Woodhouse tells Upworthy.

With everything the couple has been through up until that moment, it's no wonder they were both emotional. Their emotions and love can be felt through the video and it seems like just about everyone has something in their eye.

"I will never not cry when I see the haka. I think it's inside us as humans to know that outward display of passion, emotion and strength moves our souls. Imagine releasing that energy in celebration, in mourning or in the face of fear. You would never know what it meant to not face your emotions," one person writes.

"Performing haka alone, for her and their son, ALONE, in front of thousands. This is an existential form of love," another says.

@kiisha.rose One of the greatest moments 👩‍🎓 being able to walk across the stage with son and a surprise tautoko from my love ❤️ #maori #graduation ♬ original sound - kiisha.rose

"Whoa, that haka gave me goose bumps. You could hear a pin drop. Definitely felt the wairua [soul] in that one. Well done mama bear ka pai [good]. Good on you, someone writes, complete with heart emojis.

One commenter had a front row seat, "I was there graduating that day too and this made my eyes water! So beautiful."

It's nearly impossible to watch someone perform the haka without something getting into both of your eyes as you feel their passion move through you. If you've never seen the haka performed, you may want to grab a tissue because this is one of the most beautiful acts of love people get to witness.


This article originally appeared on 3.22.24

@tabathalynnk/TikTok, Photo credit: Canva

They've still got the moves

Ready to get transported back to the Decade of Decadence? Cause this wholesome new TikTok trend is gonna put you right back in the attitude-filled, neon colored post-disco era otherwise known as the 80s.

Specifically, it’s going to take you back to an 80s dance club.

In the trend, kids ask their parents to “dance like it’s the 80s,” as the 1984 track “Smalltown Boy” by the British pop band Bronski Beat plays in the background. The song's high energy tempo mixed with heartbreaking, anguish-ridden lyrics make it a fitting choice to bring us back to the time period.

As for the parents—let's just say that muscle memory kicks in the minute the tune begins to play, and it’s a whole vibe.


Check out Tabatha Lynn's video of her mom, Leanne Lynn, which currently has over 8 million views.

@tabathalynnk My moms 80s dance moves, I wanna be her when I grow up 😍 our kids better not ask us this in 30 years 😂 #80s #momsoftiktok #dancemoves ♬ original sound - Tiktok / IG strategy 🚀

Leanne and Tabatha told TODAY that since going viral, the dance is now a common “topic of conversation in the family text group.”

There are two factors here that folks really seem to connect with.

One: 80s dancing was simple. Just moving to the rhythm, maybe a head bob for some flair or a robot if you’re feeling adventurous. Of course, the 80s had ambitious moves like the worm and the moonwalk, but for the most part it was just about groovin’ to beat.

@marynepi One thing about Ms. Suzanne, shes gonna slay. #fypage #dance #slay #80s #yasqueen #trending #trend ♬ original sound - Tiktok / IG strategy 🚀

Then there’s seeing the parents light up at the chance to go back to the days of their youth.

“I can literally see the young women in these women spring out in fluidity. Love this trend,” one person commented.

@lavaleritaaa Love her 😭 “Se me espeluco el moño” 😂 #80s #momdancechallenge ♬ original sound - Tiktok / IG strategy 🚀

Another seconded, “I love seeing moms remember when they were just themselves.”

Of course, dads are totally rocking this trend too. Check it out:

@chrisbrown711 I dont normally do trends but i got in on this one. How did I do? #fyp #blessed #80sdancechallenge #80smusic #80s ♬ original sound - Tiktok / IG strategy 🚀

The 80s was a time of rapid expansion for music. Much of this we have the birth of MTV to thank for, which subsequently dropped music videos, CDs and a vast array of sub genres straight into the heart of pop culture.

Plus, the 80s brought us the synthesizer, which remains a strangely satisfying sound even in 2024. So while the era might have brought some things that most of us would prefer not to revisit—like acid washed denim and awful, awful hairstyles—some of its gems are truly timeless.

The trend also shows how, even though the weekly outing to a dance hall might be a thing of the past, people inherently want to bust a move. Luckily, there’s no shortage of clubs that cater to someone’s music tastes, no matter the era.

Speaking for 00s teens everywhere…just play the Cha Cha slide and we’ll come a-runnin.

Photo by Shabaz Usmani on Unsplash

Target is dropping prices.

It's been a weird few years for theU.S. economy as the COVID-19 pandemic threw the entire system into disarray and recovery from it took some unpredicted turns, for better and for worse. One thing we knew would be coming was inflation, and Americans have felt it at the checkout counter. Price increases on basic food staples as well as restaurant prices across the board have been painful reminders that, despite record unemployment and a booming stock market, everyday life has gotten ridiculously expensive.

But there are some signs things may be taking a positive turn, such as Target's announcement that they will be cutting prices on thousands of items, including household essentials, in the coming months. Here's what shoppers can expect:


Target has already reduced prices on approximately 1,500 items and will continue through the summer to drop thousands more. "Consumers will enjoy savings on everyday items such as milk, meat, bread, soda, fresh fruit and vegetables, snacks, yogurt, peanut butter, coffee, diapers, paper towels, pet food and more. These price reductions will collectively save consumers millions of dollars this summer," the company shared in a press release.

More specifically, a pound of Good & Gather Unsalted Butter that was $3.99 will be $3.79, Good & Gather 5 oz. Organic Baby Spinach will drop from $3.29 to $2.99, and a 20-ounce package of Thomas' Plain Bagels is going from $4.19 to $3.79. Just in time for summer, Aveeno SPF 50 Sunscreen (3 fl oz) will drop from $13.89 to $13.19.

Savvy Target shoppers know how to get the most bang for their buck on a Target trip by using their Target Circle Card, which gives them an additional 5% off purchases, and the company recently reintroduced Target Circle, its free-to-join membership program that applies deals automatically at checkout and features member-exclusive sales throughout the year like Target Circle Week and Target Circle Bonuses—personalized deals to help members earn rewards and get extra savings.

LinkedIn editor Cate Chapman calls Target's price cuts a "sign of disinflation at work"—a hopeful sign, considering Target isn't the only store to announce price drops . Walmart predicted months ago that a "deflationary environment" would mean lower prices on dry groceries and consumables and they were already seeing lower prices on grocery items such as eggs, apples and deli snacks.

woman smiling in a grocery aisle

People's money should go a little further at the grocery store this summer.

Photo by Arren Mills on Unsplash

Even already-low-priced grocery chain Aldi has announced lower prices on 250 items for the summer of 2024. “We don’t want food prices to hold people back from getting together with friends and family or spending time outdoors this season," Dave Rinaldo, president at Aldi U.S., said in a statement.

And McDonald's, which has seen price increases over 100% over the past decade, announced recently that it is exploring a $5 meal option. It used to be that $5 could easily pay for a full McD's meal, but you can't even get a kids' Happy Meal for that price in 2024.

People have reacted to the news of lower grocery prices with a mix of relief and annoyance at feeling like they were being price gouged. They have a point. In fact, President Biden had taken aim at corporations in November of 2023, saying, “Any corporation that has not brought their prices back down, even as inflation has come down, even as the supply chains have been rebuilt, it’s time to stop the price gouging."

Whatever the reason for the lowered prices, feeling a little ease instead of squeeze at the checkout counter will be a refreshing change from the past few years.

A woman is sad after getting charged a huge junk fee.

Just about everyone has had the depressing experience of sitting through a long queue to get concert tickets, only to find when they were ready to check out, the price was 30 to 40% higher because of service fees added by the ticketing company.

People often have the same experience when ordering food through an app, only to see a massive service fee applied right before they're ready to place their order.

These service fees, known by many as “junk fees,” are popping up everywhere these days, from surprise resort fees charged when checking out of a hotel to a 4% surcharge on a dinner bill that the restaurant added so you can help pay for their employees' healthcare.


The good news for people in California is that a new bill will go into effect on July 1st that bans hidden or unexpected fees on everything from concert tickets to cruise packages. Senate Bill 478 (SB 478) makes it illegal for businesses to advertise or list a price for a good or service that does not include all required fees or charges other than certain government taxes and shipping costs.

“Our price transparency law is about clear and honest communication with consumers so consumers can make the financial choices that are best for them and their families. This new guidance provides information for businesses across California to ensure that clear answers are available, particularly for small businesses,” California Attorney General Rob Bonta said in a statement. “The law is simple: the price you see is the price you pay. Laws work when everyone can comply. I am pleased that we can offer this guidance to help facilitate compliance with the law and make a more fair and level marketplace for businesses and consumers."

A 2023 survey of Americans found that 2 out of 3 said they were paying more in surprise charges now than they had five years earlier.

The bill is good news for consumers who want to make thoughtful decisions about how they spend their money, especially when inflation has made it a lot harder to stretch a dollar. However, the bill probably won’t make things any cheaper. Businesses most likely won’t stop charging these hidden fees; instead, they will be rolled into the listed price instead of popping up out of nowhere right before you hit the “pay now” button.

State Senator Bill Dodd from Napa, the bill's co-author, stated its goals: “A consumer shouldn’t discover hidden fees made up by a business when they pay their bill.”

As the old saying goes, “As goes California, so goes the nation,” and when companies are forced to alter their pricing and marketing in America's most populous state, it’s bound to create changes for consumers across the country. The new law could be the first shot in a larger war against junk fees.

In 2023, President Biden called out Ticketmaster and others who charge "junk fees" in his State of the Union address, claiming he’ll get “rid of junk fees, those hidden fees at the end of your bill that are there without your knowledge.” In his 2022 State of the Union speech, Biden criticized the hotel industry for surprise fees at checkout. "We’ll ban surprise ‘resort fees’ that hotels tack on to your bill. These fees can cost you up to $90 a night at hotels that aren’t even resorts,” Biden said.

This Federal pressure led several companies, including Live Nation, SeatGeek, xBk, Airbnb, the Pablo Center at the Confluence, TickPick, DICE and the Newport Festivals Foundation, to make their pricing more transparent.