The Razor Is Free, But The Blades?

I have a decent HP printer that’s worked without major problems for years now. But I just spent, for the umpteenth time, $65 for ink.

Can’t be entirely sure I needed it, either, because the little chip inside it counts pages, not how much ink is left in the container. Just try refilling the cartridge and you’ll find this out.

Look up “Racket” in the dictionary, and, right there, right after the picture of Tony Soprano, you’ll see a picture of consumer printer manufactures. The Grouse has the low-down.

If you’re buying name-brand ink cartridges, which typically hold a few milliliters of ink, you’re shelling out the equivalent of between $3,000 and $5,000 per gallon. (Suddenly, spending $45 to fill your car’s gas tank doesn’t seem so extravagant, eh?) Just as an idea of how valuable this particular golden goose is, more than 40 percent of HP’s $2.63 billion operating profits from last quarter came from it’s imaging and printing group alone. In other words, ink keeps printer companies in the black.

What to do, what to do.

Here’s a tip. Step back in technology just a few years, and send away for your picts. to be printed.

Even at barebones prices, it’s now far cheaper to order prints through Flickr, Shutterfly or iPhoto, or if you need them in a hurry, from your local Wal-Mart, Walgreens or even mom-and-pop photo store. At my local drugstore, a small chain, if you order more than 100 prints, they’re 15 cents each and available in a couple hours on archival paper with archival ink. And I can put my order through online. Compare that with the cost of photo paper, ink (which in my case, by the way, has to be used at least once every couple weeks or it dries out) and the time involved, and my venerable i70 simply can’t compete.

Supply and Demand is not just a good idea – It’s the law.

H/T to Instapundit.

Explore posts in the same categories: Economics

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