What Is An Acceptable Amount Of Money To Lose When You Buy A Product?

This morning I was looking over on the Amazon Web site for a small sink auger. We have dual sinks in our master bath and the drain on the side my wife uses has been running slowly. My side is nothing to write home about and is marginally slow. I usually don’t like to use those caustic drain cleaners [Drano, Mr. Plumber] since they damage the pipes and the environment, so I thought I would try an auger. There were about 10 different augers for sinks, so I decided to read some of the reviews. This is when I noticed this comment:

I was a little skeptical because the price was so low — but the reviews were so good I had to give it a shot. If it didn’t work out, it was an acceptable amount to lose.

But what made me think about the above statement was the way we perceive costs. Or, more important, at what price do we just throw something out, don’t return it, or just think that it isn’t worth the trouble?

The price for the sink auger was $14.33, which included shipping. Depending on why one would return the item, you could have to pay up to $5 or more to ship it back. The reason I mention the ‘why’ part is because some shippers will pay for return shipping for several reasons, like if the item is damaged upon your receiving it or if the item was not as described by the seller.

A few months ago my daughter was at a company picnic and they were giving away some prizes just to say thank you. One of the prizes she won was a spot light, which she gave me. Upon opening the spot light I discovered that it did not work. It cost me $8 to ship it back for a replacement. The replacement lasted about a month before it stopped working.

If this happened to you, would you:

  1. Return the spot light again for a replacement?
  2. Throw the spot light in the trash?
  3. Stop talking to the daughter because she gave you a piece of junk? LOL

I threw it in the trash. I wasn’t going to spend another $8 just to receive what, in my mind, was a defective product.

At what price point or expense will you not bother to send an item back?

Comments welcome.

Source – Amazon

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Could Patents and Greed Sink Silicon Valley?

Last Saturday night there was a star laced event which included all of the big wigs of Silicon Valley. The guest speaker was a the former CEO of Intel, Andrew Grove, who painted a picture that Silicon Valley could be heading the way of Wall Street. He cited the transistor as a prime example of what he perceives has gone wrong. When the transistor was invented, AT&T licensed the technology for $25,000, which allowed the industry to flourish.

In an article at C/Net it states the following:

“As we celebrate the accomplishments of the last 50 years, I can’t help but wonder if the next 50 years will be equally productive,” Grove told a crowd at the Computer History Museum. “I’m dubious.”

He also added this:

“The true value of an invention is its usefulness to the public,” he said, quoting Thomas Jefferson. The system in place in the Valley today is moving further and further away from this principle, he added. “Patents themselves have become products. They’re instruments of investment traded on a separate market, often by speculators motivated by the highest financial return on their investment.”

But isn’t this the main problem with our corporate society in all endeavors? ┬áIsn’t it greed that makes the corporate world function without any regard towards the common good?

Why would Silicon Valley be any different?

Comments welcome.