Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Why Can't I Just Buy the Part I Want?

The new trend seems to be towards packaging products in giant sets. Gift wrap sets, with multiple rolls of paper, ribbon, and bows. Big sets of tools, etc.

And this is all very nice, if you need all of those pieces. But if you don't ....

My husband owns a battery-powered, hand-held drill. The battery lasted for about two years, then would no longer recharge. So, we set about the task of finding a new battery. At first, we couldn't even find one. Then, he did find a place to buy one, but it was 5x the cost of buying a whole new drill set (which of course comes with a new battery). This is ridiculous. How is it economically possible that it is cheaper to sell a drill + bits + battery than just the battery itself??? This type of packaging and selling is encouraging waste and a throw-away economy; we're filling up our landfills with perfectly good drills because some Marketing Genius (tm) has decided this is the way to price. Insanity.

Another example: We're expecting our first baby. A baby needs a crib, and a crib apparently needs something called a "bumper" that lines the crib and stops baby from bumping into the crib bars when crawling around. Fine.
[NOTE: I'll have whole other posts on the horrors of wading through the baby-product jungle.]

You can buy some very simple, plain bumpers separately. But if you want an interesting bumper, with shapes and colors, you apparently only have three options:

1) Buy a HUGE SET of crap that includes a cool bumper
2) Find someone who sews to make you a cool bumper (or learn to sew yourself)
3) Find the bumper you want being sold second-hand by someone who doesn't mind splitting up the set.

Let's look at my example:
The Zoofari 6-Piece Crib Set. It comes with:
  • The object of my desire: The Bumper. With a nifty giraffe on it.
But it ALSO includes:
  • A Quilt (I don't need a quilt. I already have blankets and quilts pouring in so fast that I'm going to need a whole new linen closet just to hold them)
  • A fitted sheet (Fine, but I'd be OK with a plain yellow sheet that's less expensive.)
  • A dust ruffle (Fine, but ditto above. A plain color would be just great, and less expensive)
  • A window valance (I can't really think of anything more USELESS. My windows already have coverings on them. And in fact, how is a valance really going to effectively cover a window, anyways?)
  • A diaper stacker (What the hell is a diaper stacker? Cross out my comment above about not being able to think of anything more useless than a valance. This is CLEARLY more useless. In looking up diaper stackers, it looks like something for people who have lots of time to take diapers out of the perfectly good boxes they come in and stack them in a different container)
I've done numerous web searches, checked eBay, etc. And you just can NOT get that bumper separately. You can get almost every other piece separate, as well as a zillion other pieces to the set (hamper, rug, lamp, wall-hangings, mobile, the list goes on and on and on). But that bumper is ONLY in the set.

I guess I'll be setting aside a little bit of drawer space to hold that valance ...

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