i’m confused

Posted: September 13, 2007 in technology

Do you, like me, get confused about consumer pricing? We’re sort of taught to believe that as “technology” improves, the prices of things that technology is applied to goes down. TV’s are a good example. New, advanced TV model comes out, and the TV is $5000.00. Technology improves, that same tv is $3000.00 a year later. More technology, and soon the TV is available for $1500.00.

Same thing with cell phones, right? Except that when NEW phones come out, they continually are higher in price than previous new models. Soon after that they’re cheaper than the phone you bought 7 years ago that felt like a big remote control. So are they cheaper, or more expensive? Or both? My first nice cell phone in 2000 cost me about $125.00. The phone I have now is much nicer and only cost $50.00, but that’s because it was on some sort of closeout special. The phone I liked would have cost about $50.00 IF I was a new subscriber, but was about $150.00 since I was only a renewing subscriber. That seems confusing too. Isn’t it better to offer things to KEEP your subscribers, rather than to tick them off?

Technology has certainly improved the way automobiles have been built over the years. Countless workers are laid off because machines do the jobs they used to do. But auto prices keep going up each and every year. My first car – a 1987 Ford Escort – cost me $2300, had 60,000 miles when I bought it, and last me over 4 years. There’s not a car out there for $2300 now that I would trust to drive across the street to Weigles. But doesn’t the advances in factory technology make cars cheaper and faster to build?

And how is it that CD’s are pretty much the same price they were 12 years ago? Or maybe even more expensive in some cases? Are the artists just making a ton more money off of CD sales than they used to, or does it really cost the same to make a CD as it did in 1992, when I picked up my first DC Talk cd…”Free at Last”, for about $15.00?

I really just get the sense that it’s all about greed. Apple charges $599 for a new phone, not because that’s its true market value, but just because they can. My wife loves finding shirts on sale for $7.00 when they were originally $42.00. Doesn’t that make you wonder about the actual value of a $42.00 shirt? When you go to that store in the mall and buy the $35.00 jeans, do you ever stop to think about the time 6 months ago when they were on sale for $18.00, and realize you might be getting jipped? Do you really wear them that much longer than you would a $14.00 pair of Wranglers from Walmart? And are they really made that differently to justify a 150% higher price?

It’s gotten me to the point that I have little joy in buying things when, really, there used to be joy in the obtaining of something new. I can’t stop wondering if it’s worth it, and if it’s 30% cheaper at the next store down the street. Problem is I don’t want to take the time to drive down there and see. So I buy something I need just hoping it will last and praying I don’t walk in a store 2 days later and see the same thing for less.

I’m going now. I want a hamburger. I just can’t decide whether to get the $1.00 Double Cheeseburger, the $2.59 Single, the $3.39 Whopper with bacon, or just buy 4 patties from Krogers for $3.00 and actually invest the time and effort to cook them. Almost makes me not hungry anymore.

  1. x-ray chick says:

    What you pay for with fast food is the convenience. What you pay for with stuff that is brand name, is the name. Any ole phone will do, who needs an iPhone? Hype, temptation from you know who… Great observations Jason. Getting caught up in paying for stuff for fun or for the name, you can pay your soul.

  2. bill says:

    to answer your question, x-ray chick:

    greg adkins needs an i-phone.

    …and i’m trying to convince my wife that i do to. unfortunately she is much smarter than me. which is why she is in charge of the money and i have to ask her permission to spend it.

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