A couple of weeks ago, I got a HP OfficeJet from Costco (similar to this model). I was a little surprised that an item that costs hundreds of dollars made a big point (a full one-foot sq sticker) that it included it’s own USB cable. I was pretty shocked by this, especially since the cost of such a cable is under three dollars on some Internet sites. The cost to the manufacturer is probably under a dollar. I realize that margins are tight on electronics, but are they so tight that they have to highlight a feature that cost them 0.03% of the amount that I’m giving them?
Just this past week, I cashed in years worth of SonyCard reward points for a Sony HandyCam. Most of the points were acquired before cash back programs were very good. I figured there’d usually be something that I could use from Sony, making it nearly as good as cash in my mind at the time.
I was excited to get a camcorder, the first I’ve ever had. The first thing that struck me was that it was small for camcorder that could record straight to DVD. As it was charging, I flipped through the instruction booklet. It seems that this camcorder uses a smaller version of DVDs – once that are 8cm instead of the standard 12cms. (I obviously didn’t do my research, but it wasn’t like I had a ton of choice – it was the best I could get with the expiring points.) The smaller discs were a disappointment as it records far less video than a regular DVD. At the top quality, I would get only 20 minutes of recording time instead of the standard DVD that gives you two hours worth.
I looked though all the included paperwork and cords and noticed that they didn’t include one DVD that is required to use the video camera. A standard recordable DVD costs pennies in bulk and since Sony makes these mini-DVDs, there’s no reason to think that it would cost Sony more than a fraction of a penny. They wouldn’t be giving up their sales of these blank DVDs as anyone buying a camcorder is going to want to record more than a few minutes. Instead Sony decided to make a product that doesn’t work out of the box. Perhaps this is the reason I’m finding that fewer and fewer of my electronics purchases come from the electronics giant.