Thursday, February 05, 2004

Buying new inkjet cartridges

I went to the store this week to buy new inkjet cartridges for our printer. The prices are nuts -- it's about $65 to buy the two cartridges I need. I can actually buy a Westinghouse microwave oven at Target for less than the price of a single inkjet cartridge:

Leigh and I had been talking about getting an official "photo printer." Since I was about to blow $65 anyway, I went to look at new printers "just in case." At Circuit City they had a Lexmark P707 photo printer on sale, with a rebate, for $29.

Amazon has this printer as well, and you can buy new ones from their "merchants" for as low as $26.

So I bought one. I open the box and inside there are two brand new printer cartridges with a street value of $65. And the printer is fantastic:It is not the fastest printer in the world -- it takes several minutes to print a photo at the best resolution. I could care less. I'm printing a couple of pictures at a time, not running a photo lab. So this is not a bad deal when you think about it: $65 in ink cartidges + a 4-format flash memory reader + image software + a really nice photo printer, all for $29.

What am I going to do when this printer runs out of ink? I guess I am going to go back to Amazon and buy another P707 for $26. I will throw away the old printer and plug in the new one. At $26, it is cheaper to buy a new printer than it is to buy two new cartridges -- the new printer actually costs half as much as the replacement cartridges.

We've all noticed this -- inkjet cartridge prices are insane. These cartridges should be costing $3.50, not $35. The printers have become disposable, and in some cases they now cost less than half the price of replacement cartridges. How crazy is that?

Crazy isn't it. I've done the same thing- buying a new printer to get new ink instead of paying more for the cartridges. I used to sell computers and peripherals a long time ago. Back then most of the printers I sold only came with a "starter" ink. So it was probably more of a racket back then. We weren't supposed to let a customer leave without a printer, gold printer cable, paper, and both ink refills.
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