recently went against my better instincts and bought a cellular phone
mostly for emergencies. It's a Nokia 3360
. Like any good product
on the American market nowadays, it's customizable so I can express my conformist individuality
the standard faceplates and switching it with any of 15 or so replacements in
various colors and designs. If you want to show your patriotism, the
red, white, and blue
flag faceplate is for you. Futuristic tones
more up your alley? Grab the shiny silver and green plates. Feeling
drab and depressed? Gunmetal grey is for you.
These faceplates are made of plastic. Not particularly special plastic,
just plastic. Plastic is cheap. You can go to your local Home
and get just about any size and shape of raw plastic you'd like, within
reason, for about two dollars.
I wasn't too thrilled with the standard colors I found adorning my 3360 when
it arrived in the mail, but I wasn't exactly losing any sleep over it. A
few days passed, and I happened to be in the mall
running a few errands.
I stopped by the celphone store (actually one of the five
celphone stores in the medium-sized mall), five dollar bill
in hand, figuring I'd swap covers.
Suggested Retail Price: $24.99 (plus tax)
I was actually stunned into silence. Words failed me. The poor
girl behind the counter looked at me strangly as I reeled away from the store
and found a place to sit down so I could regain some semblance of my internal
and rethink my stance on the merits of capitalism
Twenty-four dollars and ninety-nine cents (plus tax!) for two pieces of molded plastic perhaps
worth seventy-five cents.
This is not a brand-new product. This is not an experimental price.
Careful market research
has led the executives at Nokia
the maximum price the average consumer
is willing to pay for these faceplates
at exactly twenty-four dollars and ninety-nine cents (plus tax!), and the
fact that retail stores continue to sell them at this price shows us that
their research is absolutely correct. This is supply and demand
This is capitalism
. This is the 21st century, in the land
of the free and the home of the brave
Weep for the future.
Weep for us all.