The Most Expensive Liquid On The Face Of The Earth

by Ron Haynes

Or at least it feels that way to me! This little vial of fluid is about two thirds of an ounce and it costs $39.95 in US dollars at the superstore. That translates to over $7,500 per gallon! It costs more than the fanciest bottled water, more than the most purified jet fuel, more than Dom Perignon champagne, more than the most refined gasoline, even more than human blood. What is it? Printer ink.

Why do companies charge so much for such a little bit of fluid in a plastic case with a few tiny electronic components? Micro chips are a dime a dozen, plastic is dirt cheap, and the dyes used in printer ink aren’t very expensive either. What gives?

Marketers have learned that they can maximize their gross profit for items that:

1. Aren’t purchased very regularly. Think salt, tuxedos, wedding dresses, musical instruments, or furniture.

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2. Are small. Think jewels, cell phones, lipstick, or electronics.

3. Are needed by a captive audience. Think of airport food, pharmaceuticals, stadiums.

4. Aren’t sold in many other outlets. Think Yankee’s tickets, “not sold in stores” infomercials, aircraft manufacturers,

5. Are exclusively theirs to sell. Think public utilities (unregulated ones), Debeers (diamonds), Alcoa (aluminum), and Amtrak.

Printer ink cartridges don’t necessarily meet all these criteria, but it’s pretty darn close. Even in a society obsessed with “going paperless,” it seems like I’m printing more and more things these days: reports, photos, e-books, to name a few examples.

To get my ink at a more reasonable price, I’ve started using Carrot Ink (mostly for the free shipping) though there are several other printer ink sites that also have some great deals.

Check these out:

The price of ink from Carrot Ink has been consistently lower than the office superstores. I’m saving HALF or even MORE. A black cartridge was only $11.95 for my printer (regularly $27.95) and a color cartridge was only $19.95 (regularly $39.95).

If you need printer ink, or if you’re sending someone off to college, a couple of printer ink cartridges will make a great gift, making that expensive vial of liquid a little more affordable.

About the author

Ron Haynes has written 988 articles on The Wisdom Journal.

The founder and editor of The Wisdom Journal in 2007, Ron has worked in banking, distribution, retail, and upper management for companies ranging in size from small startups to multi-billion dollar corporations. He graduated Suma Cum Laude from a top MBA program and currently is a Human Resources and Management consultant, helping companies know how employees will behave in varying situations and what motivates them to action, assisting firms in identifying top talent, and coaching managers and employees on how to better communicate and make the workplace MUCH more enjoyable. If you'd like help in these areas, contact Ron using the contact form at the top of this page or at 870-761-7881.