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March 4th, 2003

It Should Cost This Much…

Once you hit a certain age (probably around 20 or so), you start to feel a little of that “old person” syndrome creeping in. Kids’ music starts sounding funny, people drive worse, and best of all, things are more expensive than ever before.

I’ve been somewhat surprised about how quickly some things – mostly entertainment-related – have gotten expensive. Why, just yesterday I was thinking about how my first movie-going experiences cost less than $15 for the tickets; now, you can’t get in for less than $6 (for a matinee).

So, as with anything, I made a list of prices I feel I would pay for things. If we lived in a bartering society, and you were selling these things to me, this would be your cheat sheet. Mind you, I know these things are way off from the true cost of objects (as are the real prices), but humor me.

  • 5 Sticks of Gum: $0.25
  • Gallon of Gas: $0.99
  • CDs: $10
  • DVDs: $15
  • Cup of “Designer” Coffee: $2.50
  • Fast-food Meal: $3.00
  • Good Pair of Pants: $30
  • Good Shirt: $20
  • Car: $15,000
  • SUV: $100,000
  • House: $100,000

Now, let’s get cracking on that $100k house.

Posted in Everyday Life

FROM: vlm
DATE: Tuesday March 4, 2003 -- 10:38:08 am
I saw a $24K house listed in Maywood, IL in the last few months. (Yikes!!!)

Weirdly, I seem to have my internal cash register calibrated to the same levels. Except may I add:
Movie tickets: $6
Dinner for two at restaurant: $30
Printing a roll of photos: $5

FROM: Ryan
DATE: Tuesday March 4, 2003 -- 10:40:19 am
I'll add a few:

Used CDs: $6.99
Used DVDs: $10
Pair of jeans: $15
Large pizza: $7
Pings: $3/each
Net tax: 0%

FROM: Greg
DATE: Tuesday March 4, 2003 -- 12:28:17 pm
Talking to bank tellers: Free
U.S. Postage Stamp: $0.29
Can of soda: $0.50
First rate magazines: $2.99
Meal at all-night cafe: $6.00 (with tip)
Monthly Cable Bill: $29.99 (With HBO)
Weekly grocery bill (Family of 4): $75.00

FROM: Chris [E-Mail]
DATE: Tuesday March 4, 2003 -- 12:43:40 pm
Draft Beer - $2.00 Domestic, $4.00 import or Micro

Take Out Pizza - $10
Bar Food meal- $10
Fat food dinner family of 4 - $16.00
Minor League baaseball tickets - $5.00
Major league tickets - $20.00

FROM: Robert [E-Mail]
DATE: Tuesday March 4, 2003 -- 9:37:04 pm
CDs need to average $8 each, and maybe reach $10 is there's something really special going on.

FROM: dave
DATE: Wednesday March 5, 2003 -- 8:40:14 pm
Here insinde the DC Beltway you can't get a single-family house under $300K unless its a serious fixer-upper.

My question is, where are all these rich folks coming from to buy these houses they keep building? Is there really an infinite supply of lawyers and lobbyists to fuel the DC housing market?

FROM: Marcus Mackey [E-Mail]
DATE: Friday March 7, 2003 -- 5:11:00 am
$8-10 for a CD? WHY? LoL Ya'll are letting the RIAA off really easy! LoL

Most CD's are mass printed, they may be higher quality than a CD-R, but in the volumes they generate them in or have sold them in, in the past (even now where sales have slumped); I'm sure the costs have come done to a level not that dissimilar to what we pay for CD-R's with jewel cases ($.40-60 a piece anymore). I'd venture to say they might cost $1-2 to produce (in bulk volume sold, most records are measured in thousands or millions... $10 per disc x 100,000 discs = ?... x 1,000,000?), including the little sleeve booklets that a lot of people just throw out. Hell, some of them I can match with some glossy low-quality (thin) paper and a decent inkjet nowadays.

Even printed documentation of the quality they sleeve into a jewel case 9 times out of 10 isn't any better than the "FREE" manuals that come with a lot of electronics devices nowadays. If it was something akin to what Tool has with their CD's, i.e. the motion texturing of the jewel case for the cover and insides of the Aenima CD (plus all of the time spent on making the artwork so it's effected by the texturing); or the transparent plastic layered booklet and artwork for Lateralus; or even the decisively lower-key but still artistic (in a grotesque and yet clever "easter egg" way) Undertow CD; I could maybe fathom $8-12... but the RIAA is hurting for a reason, and $10 isn't that cheap or that much cheaper than what we have now IMHO.

That said, for a typical generic CD and a generic cookie-cutter printed sleeve along the lines most CD's are produced at; I could see maybe $4-6 for it (I mean it's not a cassette or 8-track, there's no moving parts, no intricate tape spooling, the mechanisms that produce this CD can easily turn around and throw out a slough of others). At that price and assuming that the CD's had more than 1 good song on them, I think they would sell well at that price. It'd not stop piracy... but nothing ever will.

A CD single should cost like almost the costs of the CD itself... or you should be able to get a professional-grade CD with various songs by various artists via a kiosk at your local ::electronics/record store:: for like $1.50 per disk, $.60 for jewel case (if you want one), and maybe $.20-.50 per song you put on the disk. It's not like the artist's make much $ off of this stuff anyways, and for what we get... we've been getting shafted for eons. The RIAA is trying to find ways to continue their old-school business practices, in a day and age when it's not flying.

I'd even be willing to go up to $8-10 for a professionally produced double CD or a single CD with incredibly ornate packaging. I mean stuff like Pearl Jam's Vitalogy, even while I think the CD itself was so-so... the packaging was pretty clever. If we're going to spend $10-12... it should be more than a generic jewel case filled with repetitively printed CD jackets/sleeves that probably cost $.30 a piece in the volumes we're talking about. And no... wrapping a jewel case in a cardboard sleeve doesn't warrant the cost, as I'd rather just tell the store personnel to take the cardboard sleeve off and drop it $2.

If they're going to skimp that much... why not just give us the CD itself in a paper sleeve with a list of tracks printed on a sticker stuck to it, and screw us all even more? Why should we pay a ton more for packaging that's not worth the $? Get a little more creative with it and we might pay for what we receive. It'd be more than a music CD, it'd be art as well.

I've bought CD's from local bands produced in smaller volumes than any mainstream artist of record, and for their increased costs for lower volume sales... I still spent $10-12 on average. A multi-platinum, platinum, or gold artist's discs shouldn't even come close to those costs of a local band on a small Indie label or on a privately produced run! LoL

FROM: towinlovinit
DATE: Friday March 21, 2003 -- 12:25:48 am
When did going in the bank become free? It costs a $1.00 just to walk in. $3.00 if you cash and deposit your check in your account in the bank. Nothings for free anymore. Not even using the toilet downtown.

FROM: Ryan
DATE: Friday March 21, 2003 -- 8:51:52 am
I've never seen a bank that charges you to make a deposit!

FROM: Paul
DATE: Friday March 21, 2003 -- 10:31:20 am
I have, Ryan. Back when BankOne was First Chicago, I once got charged $1.50 to deposit money.

FROM: Ryan
DATE: Friday March 21, 2003 -- 11:31:44 am
That is beyond absurd.

What is this then?

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