wallet is taking a beating today. And I’m sure you can relate
to the reasons, and shake your head in frustration because the
reasons make no sense.
out this morning needing a birthday card. (Hit number one.) Later
in the morning, I sat down at the computer and needed to print
something, only to run into an empty cyan cartridge that needs
to be replace. (Hit number two.)
different stories… same fundamental complaint… where the heck
did these prices come from?
used to be that a card would run you two dollars or less. Add
in a stamp, and your thoughtful wishes could be on the way for
$2.50 at most. Nice. (And, the envelope always warned you when
extra postage might be required.)
after card after card this morning was $4.97 or more. Yes, the
recipient was worth it. But at that price I’d much rather grab
a gift card and place that in an envelope with a note. Seriously…
clear the five-dollar mark and we’re not talking about greetings
and good wishes, we’re talking about an investment.
you called me up and said you could send me a funny card that
made sounds or played a song when I opened it, or, a gift card
so I could grab a breakfast sandwich and a coffee, the choice
would be pretty easy. (Thanks for the phone call and the coffee.)
I think if I called any of you and offered a choice between a
birthday card or a gift card that would cover an appetizer at
your favorite restaurant, the response would be pretty close to
I love cards. I do. I find myself absolutely thrilled when I open
the mailbox and find a card or letter from a family member or
friend. It’s awesome. But there was an entire display within the
card aisles set up for Halloween. I don’t know of any time in
my entire life when anyone has sent me a Halloween card.
thing is… it’s not just the cost of some greeting cards and a
calendar that seems filled with reasons suspiciously arranged
around the purchase of a batch of cards once or twice every month.
There are other places where costs seem to be running a bit willy-nilly.
a few minutes ago, as research for this article, I went to five
different web sites. I picked places that sell printers for home
use. For each web site, I selected two different manufacturers
of printers and then two of the least expensive models offered
for sale. And then I gathered some specific details…
what I wanted to know was this: Is it less expensive to buy a
new printer or official-manufacturer-brand replacement ink cartridges?
I wanted to be fair, using a decent range of ordering sources…
different manufacturers… and different models for each manufacturer.
My search essentially brought up twenty printers.
every case… all twenty… if it wasn’t more expensive to order the
full set ink cartridges, the cost was within 10% of the purchase
price of the new printer.
I told you that every 3,000-miles when you head in to a service
center, you could change the oil and get a full tank of gas, or,
for the same price trade it in and leave with a new car?
comparison? Of course. And maybe you want to ask some different
questions about the scenario, like: “Bob, don’t those printers
come with starter cartridges that contain less ink?” But rather
than looking at other extremes to make a point (and potentially
a joke), or directly answering clarifications, let’s go back to
printers and add in a few bits of information…
a writer—a producing regularly, six books released over the past
thirty months writer—and I replace my ink cartridges only one
or two times a year. I think it’s fair as a result of my experiences
to say that many of us need ink for our printers four times per
year or less.
I went online and looked up those twenty different models, printer
after printer after printer showed a one-year warranty.
what if we adjust the question? Let’s place the silliness involved
on whether it’s more expensive to buy a new printer or a set of
ink cartridges to the side. What if every third or fourth ink
replacement cycle the choice was this…
– A full set of black and color ink cartridges, or…
– A new printer that comes with: features and upgrades that
make it a better model than your current printer, under warranty
while your current printer is no longer covered, with a set
of ink cartridges
either of these choices, the price is about the same. And, either
way, you can bring it home today or get free shipping.
just the strange curiosities of sticker shock I suppose. Head
into a store, watch the prices for a two-liter bottle of soda
go through the roof. And yet, head into a different section and
check out the price of a half-gallon of milk or orange juice.
Perspective is challenged. The prices all over the place defy
initial expectations, even if you begin to really consider it
and can make sense of the differences.
now, my wallet took a hit. But, birthday celebrated and printer
back up and running, at least I’m covered until my next expense.
Now, if you’ll excuse me, I just remembered we need some milk.