Tea Time – 03 January 2017

Save time and effort – empty your wallet into the dumpster

Consumer products have a tendency to become commodities rapidly.  Look at the pace in which cell phones and tablet computers have proliferated.  The age-old Cathode Ray Tube (CRT) televisions were quickly replaced by flat-paneled LCD and LED models.

Prices start high and as more providers enter the market, they prices drop and eventually stabilize.  The stable point would be the survivors who have reached, what economists call, Minimum Efficient Scale (MES).  At this point, manufacturers have minimized the component cost of the product, maximized the efficiency of production and, unless a new technology arrives, minimized the consumer cost of the product.

However, every once in a while you will see a product that is much lower in cost than apparently equivalent products.  How can this be?  Well, if the same content is required to most efficiently produce the product you can simply reduce the quality of the product.  This can be done by using cheaper components and sub-standard materials.  This seems like a bargain.  But, it comes to naught as the components fail due to shorter lifespans.  One example is below in which the electrolytic capacitors were under-rated and thus heated up and blew their seals thus rendering an entire television useless.

BadCaps

That being said, it is not a world of “the more you pay the more it is worth.”  It always behooves a person to investigate expected prices for commodity products and make an informed purchase based on evidence.

If you want to give a low cost gift or save a buck buy buying the $10 Christmas special, do yourself a favor and just empty your wallet into a dumpster instead.  You will be saving the planet of the plastic and packaging that would end up in the landfill shortly anyway and substituting it with easily biodegradable paper.

Time to put the kettle back on.