Following my Our society is doomed blog, we ended up with a series of comments about the price of cables.
For my part, I noted that cables can be a mega-rip-off – especially for those consumers who don't know what they are doing. Even a little 6-foot USB-A to USB-B can cost you an arm-and-a-leg in the wrong store.
I also noted that I'm fortunate in that there's a little computer repair and recycling shop called TechStars just around the corner from my office in Madison, Alabama. All of the services and parts they offer are really reasonable price-wise. For example, they charge only $2 for a brand-spanking new 6-foot USB-A to USB-B cable.
I know this price is current, because I purchased just such a cable only last week. But that's not what I wanted to talk to you about...
The thing is, while I was waiting for the guy to ring me up, I idly glanced around the shop, and I saw something that I simply couldn’t believe – a wall-size display of brand-new standalone scanners for just $5 apiece. I was so blown away that I took a picture of one of the boxes with my iPhone as shown below:
These are billed as 36-bit true color, hot plug-and-play, suitable for use with PCs and MACs, and driven and powered by USB. I took a look at one and it really was rather tasty – an A4 scanner about the size of an old telephone directory (but not quite as thick).
Looking at the box we see that it says "Windows 95 / 98 / 2000", so I'm guessing that these are old units, but I have no doubt that they would work with a modern computer.Only $5!!
… I had to fight myself not to purchase a bunch of the little rascals to give as gifts to friends. The only thing that stopped me is that everyone I know already has a combined printer / scanner / toaster / microwave / whatever (I can’t keep track of all the functions these things offer these days).But only $5
!!! … Give me strength!!! … I cannot wrap my brain around this. I mean to say, if I decided to create a product … any product … it would cost me more than $5 to create the box and packaging, let alone the cost of shipping the thing around the world, and that would be for an empty box without an actual product.
I really don’t know what to say (and that's not something you hear me say very often)…
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