Thursday, August 4, 2011


     Shopping for a new refrigerator, my wife and I found that the one with the smaller dimensions we need (we have a very narrow kitchen) is nearly a thousand dollars more expensive than larger models.  We ask why this is.
     "Well," says the salesman, with quiet sympathy, "the companies always charge more for non-standard sizes."
     "Yes," we say, "but the one we need is smaller."  This means, unless my understanding of physics is quite off, that it requires less material to construct and that there is less room inside it, thus it is actually less useful.
     "Doesn't matter," the salesmen replies.  He's explained this before.  "It's non-standard."
      In thinking long and hard about this, I am left with two possibilities: 1) the companies mass produce standard size pieces from which they construct most of their refrigerators, thus using non-standard pieces (whether they are smaller or larger) actually costs them more.  2) Companies can call anything they want "non-standard" and charge more for it.
     One choice is obviously more heinous than the other and, of course, there could be another reason I'm overlooking.  In any case, practically speaking, we (and you and everyone) must pay more (way, way more) to get less.
     This cannot possibly be the only instance of "non-standard" price difference discrepancies in all of manufacturing.  I'm almost scared to find out. 


  1. Here's another corporate shenanigan. I bought my daughter a new tennis racquet and learned that they don't always come with cases anymore. Why? First the guy at Paragon mumbled something about cases not being ecofriendly. Then he mentioned that the manufacturers want you to buy a separate case--a big one that holds multiple racquets. So they want you to buy MORE stuff and then a separate bag to carry it all in!

  2. It sort of feels like it's everywhere you look, doesn't it? Scarier still, think of all the places you're NOT looking, because it's there, too. I try to take some comfort in the fact that, if at least you know about it, then you're taking a step in the right direction

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