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Why Is Ink More Expensive Than Blood

Jul 24, 2008
Anybody who has ever owned a printer would have been heard bemoaning the price of an ink cartridge - and rightly so. A printer is a complete waste of space unless you are going to keep up with its lifeline of an ink supply so you have no choice but to keep forking out for it. But what do you get?

A tiny plastic box with 42ml of ink is what you will get for this extortionate price. And when your computer is telling you, you have run out of ink, you will take out the cartridge, shake it, find there is still some in there and be infuriated that it won't work for your last sheet of printing before you go out and replace it.

So why, I ask, are these things so expensive? Is there a world shortage of ink? Is there a world shortage of the skills needed to refill these little plastic boxes? Not if the shops are to be believed. In most streets in most towns you will find some corner shop advertising ink cartridges, ink cartridge refills and the like. They all declare discounted prices only to get you inside and find that yours is the one rare ink cartridge that costs four times the price of all the others.

In recent research carried out into the price of certain fluids, ink that goes into ink cartridges was found to be one of the most costly fluids on the planet. The researchers purchased a 42ml ink cartridge for $30 which works out to be $0.71 per ml. However, at $200 for 500ml of blood purchased from the Red Cross, this fluid is only $0.40 per ml. How can this be so and would it pay us all to start writing in blood. After all, it would be cheaper.

So, what of those who have a high blood/alcohol ratio? Would this be worth more or less? The price of vodka currently works out at roughly $0.04 per ml so with more of that in your blood, unfortunately you are going to be worth a great deal less than an ink cartridge. Red Bull works out roughly the same price per ml as vodka so you're no better off diluting the stuff.

At the time of going to press, although this could well have changed by now, the price of a barrel of crude oil was actually cheaper than ink, blood and vodka and red bull. So, thank goodness our cars don't run on ink and what a shame we can't use oil or blood in our ink cartridges. Penicillin is less than $0.10 per ml so being ill is cheaper to fix than an ink deficient ink cartridge.

Is it just me or is there something seriously wrong with these equations? Not the facts themselves but the pure realisation that a commodity that has been around since time began is now so expensive that it is worth more than the very fluid that sustains human life. Surely there is no need to keep prices where they are. Maybe we should do a protest just as they do with their attempts to bring down oil prices.

Can you envision the day all the offices come out on strike over the price of ink cartridges? Suited and booted workers will be out, parading around the front of office blocks everywhere with banners proclaiming about the unfair cost of an ink cartridge and how it is detrimental to our working lives. It just goes to show that people only really take notice of the sensationalist news reports when they complain about the price of one everyday product and not another.
About the Author
Expert buyer Catherine Harvey looks at the price of refilling an ink cartridge and how blood is actually cheaper.
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