Such a racket

Posted by JoshDreamland on April 11, 2015, 10:25 a.m.

I swear, what is wrong with economics?

I kind of live in a little bubble, nowadays, wherein everything is free and wonderful and there are puppies and kitties and also I'm shitting what appears to be bird seed, on the pinecone. Such is life at Google, I guess; not really the point.

I was cleaning off my desk, because I live like a pig at work and at home, when I decided to deal with the 25-foot cable that connects my keyboard to my monitor's USB port. I remembered earlier seeing a big canister of what I thought were zip ties at the floor Tech Stop. I went and grabbed a few, but was surprised to discover they were actually extremely thick twist ties, called "Gear ties." I instantly fell in love with them; they're like untangleable, colorful, powerful silicone bread ties.

As a child, I used to collect twist ties from various sources, including bread bags and store-bought cable spools. It was more than a hobby; twist ties keep me sane. They keep my cords from getting tangled when packed away, which is one of my temper's few (but excruciatingly tempestuous) achilles heels. The other two are poorly designed (or deliberately misleading) websites, and desktop environment regressions. So basically death and taxes.

That said, I found securing my spool of unneeded USB slack to be like wiping my ass with silk. Probably better. There was just something orgasmic about binding that wire just by coiling the tie around it. At that moment, I declared my intention to buy a thousand of these devices.

Unfortunately, it wasn't to be so. Do you know how much a thousand gear ties would run you for?

Go on, take a guess.

Okay, fine; look for yourself.

Hint: that price is for 100. So multiply that figure by ten. No, that's really the best price you'll find, unless you include shit like Ali Baba, which will get you a Chinese equivalent for $0.25 provided you buy their factory. So yeah, 1,000 gear ties is gonna run about $1,300-1,500.

Bizarrely-overpriced commodities have become the new motif of my life, recently; I have no idea how or why the littlest things I want seem to cost so much fucking money. And I mean, I probably realistically only need a couple dozen of those Gear Ties, and that said, isn't it worth $35 to have them?

My answer is no; it's not the money, it's the principle. For $35 I'd rather buy this (spool of 10-gauge, $30), and if I feel the genuine need, these (Vinyl vacuum caps, 50/$11). But then, look at that shit! For any Gear Tie length of 9.6" or less, the caps are more expensive than the wiring!

Doing the math, though, I can produce 5,000 of these ties, right now, for $0.39 apiece ($1952.50). Selling them for $0.50 apiece instead of $1.50 apiece, I'd make $550. Assuming I made one of these in one minute, I'm not making minimum wage; I only get $6.60 an hour. So evidently I'm not a factory. Let's instead assume that I charge $1 apiece. I'm now pulling $36.57 an hour producing these as a casual. I can do this for a dozen years and retire. Now imagine if I charge $1.50 apiece… or the $2.50 they're charging on their website….

In case you're genuinely curious, those numbers are $66.57/hr and $126.57/hr, respectively.

There's something wrong, here. That's assuming that I, Josh Ventura, sit down with a pair of wire cutters, a spool of 10-gauge wire, and a tub of vinyl caps, and one by one I cut six-inch segments from the spool and place a vinyl cap at each end. On the average, this would probably take me less than 15 seconds. So you can up my wage to $250/hr selling at the "bulk pricing" you see on Amazon.

Now let's say that instead of ordering a single spool of wire on Amazon for fucking 300% markup, and some goddamn vinyl caps at 800% markup, I buy those from an actual manufacturer in bulk. Here's where I'm no longer able to report numbers to you, because corporations don't like publicizing how much they can actually produce their fucking product for. I estimate my cost per tie would drop somewhere between seven and twelve cents, plus manufacturing costs, which remain basically free if I want to invest dozens of hours into the operation. Otherwise, they genuinely skyrocket, but then we have amortization on our side.

I can't begin to speculate on what setting up an assembly line for these fuckers would be. So I contacted Monoprice. This sort of thing seems right up their alley, and there can't possibly be any real patents surrounding a fucking twist-tie + dildo combination.

I'm basically only ripping on Gear Ties because they're the latest to emerge from the pipeline of things I'm paying too much money for. Previous incarnations include 5 Hour Energy and Supermag (Geomag being a less functional alternative).

I actually already made my own Geomag alternative from N48 rods (30/$10) and some plastic tubing ($6.39), so basically, I have experience fighting retardedly-high prices to buy little shit I just kind of want to own.

My next project is going to be building a waterfall wall out of some acrylic walling ($60/sheet) and a couple fountain pumps ($25/).

Life just isn't that goddamn complicated.


Acid 5 years, 5 months ago

there can't possibly be any real patents surrounding a fucking twist-tie + dildo combination

Full size twist-tie dildos should exist now.

flashback 5 years, 5 months ago

3D print the caps for great justice.

JoshDreamland 5 years, 5 months ago

It'd take hours, and PLA isn't flexible enough for the job. Plus it's probably less efficient to do that, actually. :P

flashback 5 years, 5 months ago

Peachy printer resin would work, flexibility wise. You can also print the caps in sheets to increase efficiency.

JoshDreamland 5 years, 5 months ago

I don't have access to a resin printer, at the moment. And yeah, I would print them in sheets, but that's why it'd take hours (the first one could be done in a few minutes).

Alert Games 5 years, 5 months ago