Thursday, July 30, 2009

Ink costs more than wine; outrage ensues

I bought a new color ink cartridge for my Dell computer printer today. It cost $37.99.


I am befuddled why this little black rectangle filled with no more than a few ounces of tinted vegetable fluid costs as much as a 750 ml bottle of a modest Chateauneuf du Pape. The wine is much more enjoyable, can be shared with friends and provides an air of romance even in a smelly, cigar-smoked room. Ink is ink.

A business model that dictates giving the device away on the cheap but getting money through the backdoor is strange to me but clearly profitable to others.

Braun does it with the alcohol-filled automatic cleaner cartridge for my shaver and Verizon does it with new phones that keep me tied to two-year service agreements. I'd probably look at it differently if I was a Dell, Braun (Procter and Gamble) or Verizon shareholder.

Getting ink to paper, however, shouldn't take you down the yellow brick road. Or is that the gold brick road?

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Fido finds walkers tempting, owners wandering

"Don't worry. He's very friendly."

The freedom-loving mutt tears across the rolling lawn like a lightening bolt, ears flapping like a hummingbird and paws pounding the turf with the swagger of Secretariat.

As a recreational walker, however, how am I supposed to know whether I'm dealing with Toto or Cujo?

Inevitably, the dog's master barks out the kind-and-gentle disclaimer while walking with the canine's leash in his hand instead of having it attached to Man's Best Friend. The dog might not have the same innocent thoughts in his head.

While I'm all for animal health and fresh air, I think it is best manifested with man and beast joined together for their mutual benefit. I trudge through my neighborhood in latent fear that I will appear as a mobile chew stick to some dog who has had a bad day.

My experience with all of this activity usually happens in the late afternoon when people get home after a hard day's work. They're not in a really good mood and certainly the pets who have spent all day in the family homestead with only warm water, dried food and no company are not in the best of sorts either.

So enjoy your dog, your neighborhood and your exercise...but tie it all together with a leash.