What Things Cost

whatthingscostMy trusty Troy Bilt ™ rototiller is about 25 years old. It has always started for me, and taken some pretty inhospitable soil and transformed it into chocolate cake mix for years and years. For the past few years, I’ve made a mental note that there is a bit of green left in the rows I till. I wrote it off to sloppiness on my part. This year especially the garden should have been ready after the number of tillings, but there was still grass showing. So I took a closer look.

I concluded that the blades on the tiller might just need to be replaced after all these years. So I placed an order on the Troy Bilt ™ web page. Sticker Shock! $238.72! What I ordered was 16 bars of steel that had some bends in them and 2 holes drilled on one end. I would guess that any blacksmith’s shop 100 years ago could have made these tines in a few hours given the proper plans.

During this same time, I was assisting my neighbors in setting up an old laser printer I gave them. The project was going so poorly (they are running Windows 10, and it was offended by the age and weakness of this old printer) that I looked into a replacement printer for them just in case. On Amazon ™ if found an all-in-one Dell ™ color laser printer for around $200, including shipping. I would guess that even with the proper plans, a blacksmith of 100 years ago could not build a functional Dell ™ laser printer.

Why is it that some simple things are so expensive and some complicated things are so cheap. I suspect it is competition and volume. If you are Dell ™ and you are going to compete with HP ™ in the printer market, you are going to have to watch your profit margin pretty carefully. If you are, however, the sole part supplier for a 25 year-old piece of gardening equipment, you can pretty much charge whatever you like. If your customers don’t like it, they can junk their tiller. So I paid it, got them in the mail yesterday, and bolted them on today. What a difference it made! Our gardens are now back to chocolate cake mix.

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