My Printer is the example of why Capitalism does not work like it’s supposed to. I am not a dumb buyer. I do my research – sometimes to the point of paralysis which results in my pocketbook’s being happy because it is not thereby emptied of it’s contents. So, in purchasing my printer – An HP POS – i did as i usually do: I researched the hell out of it. My criteria was reliable printing, wireless, and ease of finding cartridges. The reviews and customer junk said that the HP was, well, adequate. I wanted a little better than adequate. So i was looking at the Epsom – little more spendy but i’d heard many good things about them in the past.
I went to the store (this was two or three years ago now) and was chatted up by an apparently knowledgeable salesperson who advised that the Epsom is a good printer but it was hard to find replacement cartridges and people had reported issues with the printing. So, on his sage advice, i went with the HP. And i have cursed him and his family ever since.
See this is how it works. The Epsom is a better printer. But they had too many HP’s in the back room and there was a sales push going on to push HP products. Which means, essentially, that the bastard lied to me to pad his paycheck.
Yes. The Cartridges are easy to find. Which is a good thing because i apparently need a shit load of them to keep the effing thing running. As far as the reliable printing business goes – yeah. Its laughable. I can hit the print button and sometimes a full 24 hours goes by before the thing actually prints. I’m not kidding. There have been times when i have been sitting on the couch in disgust a day later, watching TV and all of a sudden the Printer gets the bright idea to print yesterdays work. Which it does happily as though expecting a little pat on the head and an ‘attaboy’.
Now i don’t blame the printer – who’s actual print quality leaves a lot to be desired as well. It tries. It’s not it’s fault that it was born a POS. I blame the salesperson. In a ‘FREE’ market, driven by supply and demand my demand was for the best printer i could get. His demand was to sell me the thing that was going to pad his pocket which was driven not by supply (as he had the Epsoms in stock). This is called manipulation. Maybe it isn’t the grand scale manipulation we all have seen and know and loathe but it is still manipulation. If this actually WAS a free market economy based on quality of product and customer satisfaction HP would be out of business because their product blows. But it isn’t, you see. The market is not even remotely free. This sort of jiggering (which folks frequently refer to as sales) happens on every conceivable scale of the market and at every level.
So i ask you – how is it free? If free is a post apocalyptic world of barbarians brawling each other over scraps, or the baser instincts of human nature run amok then yeah – it’s a free market. Free as in L’etat c’est moi free. Free as in ‘of course you’re not COMPELLED to buy this thing, but we’re not going to tell you that you have any other options and we’re going to do our damnedest to make sure you never ever ever ever know about the other options available to you. So yeah, you can go with the other guy… whatever his name is.
Now don’t get me wrong. Capitalism is a great idea. A terrific idea. As good as an idea that proposes that all people are equal and should have a slice of the pie so that they can survive and maybe even thrive and pursue that terrific happiness (whatever that is – i can sell it to you right here for 30.00 bucks. What? You’ve heard you can get it somewhere else for 20.00? Nonsense. No i don’t know what that’s called. Sounds like a scam to me.) Nope. It’s a terrific idea. I love it. It has elements of natural selection in it, and the bizarre twisting vagaries of human desires in it – who knows what people will want if you just show them. In it’s purest form it tingles the senses of a righteous machination that is fully lubed and hums along merrily. Supply and Demand, Life and Death, Kill or Be Killed, The Law of the Jungle… I love it. But just ask a wolf in alaska under the shadow of a hovering helicopter how it feels about the law of the jungle. If he could speak i think he might say something about ‘Oh. It’s a great law. But i think the rules are a bit rigged in your favor, sir. If we were ACTUALLY on equal footing, well… That spot under your chin looks might tasty.’
But some folks are going to say – well that’s the way it works. The strong survive. The weak get shot by a helicopter or buy crappy printers and then bitch about it. Sure. I get that. That doesn’t mean i have to like it. And where does that leave us? If the strong survived on it’s own merits, as i mentioned earlier, that little HP would be pummeled by the wolves of the Epsom. But that HP had an ace – a circling salesman with a backlog of HP’s that he needed to sell. He swooped around when he saw me coming and all the things i had at my disposal – enough speed to do research, teeth, keen eyes, ears to hear him coming, didn’t do me a damned bit of good.
So the population survives in the free market – much like the world. There are more HP’s in the back room than there are Epsoms. More HP’s means more sales OF HP’s, which means more money FOR HP, which means they can hire more salespeople to sell them and promotions to promote them and as long as that goes along as it should – more more more more – then anything better doesn’t have a chance. (Whaddya mean better? HP is the most popular printer on the market. It had the most sales of any other printer in it’s class last quarter, just lookit it. It’s pretty. And they made sure you can get your cartridges ANYWHERE, don’tchaknow.)
You might as well stay in the trees. Either that or make damned sure all salespeople are muzzled and chained to a wall. Yeah. I mixed up my metaphors there for a second. It’s a RANT. Let it go.