Half a croissant, on a plate, with a sign in front of it saying '50c'
h a l f b a k e r y
Like you could do any better.

idea: add, search, annotate, link, view, overview, recent, by name, random

meta: news, help, about, links, report a problem

account: browse anonymously, or get an account and write.



Ludicrously expensive online store

  (+18, -2)(+18, -2)
(+18, -2)
  [vote for,

There are lots of discount online stores, many of which just agglomerate prices from a multitude of other online stores to show you the best prices, and lots of ads.

To preserve symmetry there should also be a website which shows the most hilariously overpriced things on the web. Inspired by the link below - a bicycle light for £600 ($1098).
hippo, Mar 21 2004

1 bicycle light http://www.evanscyc...ront-light-ec016128
[edit April '09 - The old link was broken, so I've replaced it with another bike light - only £774] [hippo, Oct 04 2004, last modified Apr 23 2009]

Hammacher-Schlemmer http://www.hammacher.com/
Old Money-grubbers [thumbwax, Oct 04 2004, last modified Oct 21 2004]

hi fi knob http://web.archive....UME&Product_Count=2
[edit: April '09 - this is an archived version of the $485 wooden knob as the item seems to have gone from their store - maybe they sold out? The best bit of the description is where they try and argue that the kind of laquer used to coat this wooden volume knob will really affect the sound quality.] [hippo, Oct 05 2004, last modified Apr 23 2009]

(?) Buy a metre of cable for over $1000 http://www.referenc...LES&Product_Count=5
I'd love to see their explanation of why wrapping the cable in unbleached cotton makes the sound better. [hippo, Feb 01 2006]

Mouse Mat - only £250 http://f1store.form....php?products_id=30
[hippo, Jun 08 2006]

Water: $40 for 750ml http://www.blingh2o.com/
[zen_tom, Oct 11 2007]

Anyone for a cheap bottle of plonk? http://www.hinsdale...s.com/wine/home.php
[DrBob, Oct 12 2007]

Fine and Rare Wines Ltd http://www.frw.co.u...uiY8CFQ5jMAodXVcPsA
Check out the 1784 Lafite Rothschild, only £54,973! [zen_tom, Oct 12 2007]

Another audio cable. http://www.usa.deno...etails/3429.asp?x=0
This one is a snip at a mere $499. [DrBob, Apr 23 2009]

(?) Mobile phone - only $94,000 http://www.everyjoe...ny-co-mobile-phone/
[hippo, Apr 23 2009]

Cable http://www.amazon.c...Cable/dp/B000I1X6PM
The reviews of this are especially good [hippo, Dec 11 2009]

One bicycle wheel, £2155 http://www.wiggle.c...e_Wheel/5360040333/
[hippo, Mar 11 2010]

HDMI cable, only £379 http://www.amazon.c...1268337317&sr=1-156
Actually this mystifies me - isn't this for carrying a digital signal, and won't degraded signals just get cleaned up at the other end? [hippo, Mar 11 2010]

Pens, for $20-$250 http://tacticalpant...blog/tactical-pens/
For that price, I could buy 200 pens. [ye_river_xiv, Mar 12 2010]

A 1-metre cable for £2500 http://www.lintone....-1m-609-87-2692.php
[hippo, Jan 10 2011]

A quality stereo system for quality listeners. http://www.reghardw...ld_a_bonkers_hi_fi/
£120,000 just for the turntable! [DrBob, Jul 16 2012]

Pencil anyone? http://www.amazon.c...e=as2&tag=bngbng-20
A snip at $240! [DrBob, Dec 05 2012]

The Worst Things for Sale http://theworstthingsforsale.com/
Has some cross-over with the 'Ludicrously Expensive' Venn diagram. [DrBob, Dec 06 2012]

1 metre Ethernet cable - £1600 http://www.chord.co...thernet-tuned-aray/
Couldn't resist posting this [hippo, Mar 10 2014]


       485 dollar wooden hifi knob   

       [see link; --admin]
blammo, Oct 05 2004

       Brilliant! I love reading about high-end audio products - the idea that having a volume knob mde from wood rather than Bakelite can affect the quality of sound is hilarious.
hippo, Oct 05 2004

       That's great blammo! When I was still working in (or was that enslaved by?) recording studios, there was a craze for 'China Cones' - little ceramic cones which you could use as feet for your nearfield monitors. I think they were around £100 per set. Studio engineers aren't usually fooled by this kind of nonsense, but suddenly everyone had to have them. Maybe my ears aren't as finely honed as some of these guys, but I suspect some guy with a kiln in his garden was laughing like a drain.
wagster, Oct 05 2004

       Actually I am a bit of a muppet. A few years back I persuaded my self that sitting the little point bits on the bottom of my hi-fi speakers stands in the top of cross head screws screwed into my wooden floor sounded better. Fortunatley they only cost 25p.
blammo, Oct 05 2004


       How you couple the speakers with the supporting surface can have quite an impact on bass extension. If you had a carpeted wooden floor laid on joists, mounting the speakers this way will cause the floor to act as a bass resonator, whereas sitting them on carpet will decouple them to some extent, reducing the bass extension. Whether you couple them using £100 China Cones (TM!) or 25p screws will make no difference at all. Though some highly paid sound engineers disagree with me in this.
wagster, Oct 05 2004

       A useful adjunct to this would be a "chump directory" that includes names, contact info of the silly fools that buy this stuff. There never seem to be enough idiots when you really need 'em.
Steamboat, Feb 02 2006

       [rcarty] Yes, it's disturbing.   

       //unbleached cotton makes the sound better// That's explained quite well, [hippo]. It "achieves unique natural, smooth and dynamic sound". Clearly, a man-made dialectric would give an unnatural sound.
spidermother, Feb 17 2006

       //0.5mm solid core reduces skin effects// At audio frequencies?
Reminds me of the hi-fi muppet who once asked me if I thought a gold-plated mains plug would be a good idea.
coprocephalous, Feb 17 2006

       Heh! Browsing through that link hippo, I've come to the conclusion that the F1 Store have just stolen your idea. Is there anything on there that isn't ludicrously expensive? £125 for a baseball cap, £50 for a keyring. It's difficult not to conclude that it's a spoof.
DrBob, Jun 08 2006

       Inflation is low in the overpriced goods sector - it's been over a year now and that mousemat is still £250.
hippo, Oct 11 2007

       The bicycle light has dropped in price some. now's the time to buy, buy, buy!
k_sra, Oct 11 2007

       My diving torch cost £450, and was worth every penny
miasere, Apr 23 2009

       [miasere] no form of life-support is ludicrously expensive.
coprocephalous, Apr 23 2009

       [hippo] Bargain basement stuff. Our most exclusive model is comfortably over $300000.
AbsintheWithoutLeave, Apr 23 2009

       // no form of life-support is ludicrously expensive.//   

       Bling H2O is ludicrously expensive.
Bad Jim, Apr 23 2009

       I recently got a price for a bath - approaching £64,000.
That is, of course, if they can find the right piece of marble in Italy, cart it to America to carve and polish, then ship it to little old England to install (Crane in to the open Window!).
I do hope we don't get the job - imagine dropping the bugger!
gnomethang, Apr 23 2009

       //there should also be a website which shows the most hilariously overpriced things //   

       There must already be such a site: it's where stores get their "Manufacturer's suggested retail price" amounts from, to make their stuff look like it's on sale.
phundug, May 03 2009

       That Hi-Fi knob is hysterical. Looks like they got them in bulk at Ikea. For that kind of money, they could have used fossil mammoth tusk instead of pine.
Whistlebritches, Mar 11 2010

       I do occasionally wonder if i'd be more popular if i raised my fees tenfold, but i think that's probably my inner devil talking. I could come up with a justification based on it having a better placebo effect.
nineteenthly, Mar 11 2010

       That's the secret of Turtle Wax (a popular car polish). They were losing money and sales were declining, so they increased their price to vastly more than any of their competitors. Sales went up and it because the leading brand - buyers wanted to buy it and wanted to spend money on it because they saw it as a 'treat'.
hippo, Mar 11 2010

       Yes, it has been debated, in terms of "what would happen if you halved your prices? If you doubled them?" Also been pointed out that the prices of the remedies is less than a third of what everyone else charges. But they're weeds! People have them growing in their back gardens and throw them away. Why should i charge anything for them?
nineteenthly, Mar 11 2010

       Well, homeopathic remedies don't contain anything, and they get away with charging a fortune for those.
hippo, Mar 11 2010

       Sorry, don't get it, but people do pay money for venom in its medicinal uses, such as anticoagulants.   

       On a more on-topic matter, i think you need to have a certain level of audacity and showmanship to get away with this. I think it's all about presentation.
nineteenthly, Mar 11 2010

       OK, i appreciate you explaining. You place trust in people when you do that, which can be abused. Part of this is based on the abuse of that trust. Wouldn't it be cheaper to find out what you need to and act accordingly? Is it a question of lack of time or inconvenience?   

       Mushrooms are sometimes quite straightforward. Identification is very specific to locality and not easily transferred because a species growing in one place can be edible and closely resemble another one growing in another part of the world which is poisonous, but there are quite a number of very distinctive species which are also edible, so the best thing to do is just to eat those. There are also a lot of well-known weeds.   

       How to generalise that? Well, if it's cheaper to hire the band to play in your living room than it is to buy the volume knob, do that.
nineteenthly, Mar 11 2010

       Mushrooms are pretty local. They're not easy to store and go off pretty fast. I suppose they can sometimes be dried. Also, a personal connection with someone going round pointing out what will kill you and what won't is preferable than looking at Wikipedia, i think, especially because in the case of herbs i'm quite likely to have written some of the article. Still comes down to trust, i think.
nineteenthly, Mar 11 2010

       With regard to your HDMI cable, [hippo], I had some bloke in Currys trying to sell me a £35 HDMI cable to go with a tv that already had one in the box. I pointed that out and he explained that the £35 cable would give a better signal quality and a better picture. When I asked how one digital cable could be better than another seeing as how all signals get reclocked as they enter the tv anyway, and he said that the more expensive one "has got tungsten in it".   

       The amazing thing is, he was certain he knew what he was talking about. I should have asked if it had dobly.
wagster, Mar 11 2010

       It's not unusual to believe what you're saying is true. You don't always know that you don't know what you're talking about.
nineteenthly, Mar 11 2010

       // dobly //   

       Dobly A, or Dobly B ?   

       //You don't always know that you don't know what you're talking about //   

       That's either extremely profound, or mere sophistry.   

       Or possbly both ...
8th of 7, Mar 11 2010

       No, no, [nineteenthly]. I always know what I'm talking about, and I'm always right. Trust me on this.
wagster, Mar 11 2010

       //You don't always know that you don't know what you're talking about //
Sometimes you know, and sometimes you don't know, and sometimes you don't *care* and you don't even care if the person you're talking to *thinks* that you know what you're talking about. AKA "bullshit."
mouseposture, Mar 11 2010

       [nineteenthly]://People have them growing in their back gardens and throw them away.//   

       So what!? I can make a half decent cup of coffee at home, yet I'll pay £3 odd for a coffee at Starbucks (I actually hate coffee - this is a hypothetical). The point is that your customers aren't buying (excuse hypothetical/made-up) dandelion & lemongrass herbal remedy from you, they're buying a solution (or perceived solution) to their problem. Your time and knowledge are used in making the prescription/advice - without you they wouldn't know those weeds were useful.   

       //...justification based on it having a better placebo effect//   

       Sod the placebo effect - forget the medical aspect for a minute and think of the marketing. Don't charge 'cost of making plus mark-up', charge what your customers estimate as the value.   

       People don't buy £379 worth of HDMI cable because they will get a better sound quality. Don't get me wrong, the £379 cable is better than the £50 one - but only with some caveats, operating conditions, and even then it's not £349 better. The people that buy those kind of cables are either conned/misinformed (it's got Tungsten - WTF!?) or --here's the important one-- they're actually buying an expensive bit of kit because it is top-of-the-range.
Jinbish, Mar 11 2010

       Oh, Wagster always knows what he's talking about. He invented his own language once, known as Bulbous Wagster's English. I might still have the idea where that became part of the annos...
ye_river_xiv, Mar 12 2010

       [Jinbish], that was fine, thanks for the heads-up - probably those who do rant, perhaps including me, are less likely to take the feelings of their target into consideration. Anyway, back to this place.   

       Goods have a large service component to them. Even if all you're selling are raw chunks of ore, they've been dug out of the ground, and that's a service. Part of my service, i presume, is doing some of that and providing the consultation to maintain or improve health. There's an issue of time investment.   

       I think a fair amount about the marketing, but it's hard to make my brain work that way. There's a substantial problem with the perception of something as a good when it's more a service. There are, as before, different kinds of value mixed up in this.   

       Coming back to the idea, since i don't want to bore anyone with my personal situation, the value of a ludicrously expensive volume knob is complex. It may give someone kudos in the audiophile community, it may be fashionable and up to the minute, or it could be like a potlatch - conspicuous consumption. The utility of the knob is not confined to how well it controls the hi-fi equipment.   

       [Fourteen], you intrigue me. It's like the psyzzas.
nineteenthly, Mar 12 2010

       Ah- but it's more than just adding in a service component to justify charging more; it's charging more because people will buy it anyway.
(I'll continue offline rather than dilute [hippo]'s idea)
Jinbish, Mar 12 2010

       OK, take it to the "other place"?
nineteenthly, Mar 12 2010

       //even then it's not £349 better.//
<pedant> Wouldn't it be "not £329 better", [Jinbish]? </pedant>
coprocephalous, Mar 12 2010

       Apparently, these are called "Veblen goods". Well, some of them are anyway. Trouble is, you can't tell which.
nineteenthly, Mar 12 2010

       <slaps own head>
[copro]: FFS, what was I on? I was thinking that the expensive cable would be £399. Thankfully, the logic still holds - the expensive cable isn't £349 better :-)
Jinbish, Mar 12 2010


back: main index

business  computer  culture  fashion  food  halfbakery  home  other  product  public  science  sport  vehicle