Thursday, February 21, 2008

Save big on HP Vivera ink at silly Staples

I've often been amazed and amused by inconsistent pricing. One of my favorite ways to pass the time while waiting for food to arrive at a restaurant table is to analyze the menu.

In many Greek diners, the same slice of American cheese can have prices ranging from a dime to 75 cents, depending on what kind of sandwich it is plopped onto.

Chinese restaurants seem to be the worst offenders of erratic arithmetic. The price "delta" among chicken and pork and beef varies without rhyme or reason; and the delta between side dishes of fried rice and lo-mein seems to depend on which main dish it goes with.

The funniest example of Chinese arithmetic is common in many small restaurants in New York City, where a small order of pork fried rice costs $2.95. HOWEVER, if you are willing to accept four fried chicken wings along with the same size portion of fried rice, the total price drops to $1.95! Maybe there's a surplus of wings tha tthey need to get rid of.

I recently had to visit Staples to buy sets of Vivera ink cartridges for two HP Photosmart printers (wonderful printers, by the way). The store had several packages, with prices that could have come right out of Foo Chow's Hong Kong Garden.

You can get a pack of five ink cartridges for $44.99. It has no black ink.

And, you can get the black ink alone for $14.99, $19.99 or $29.99.

OR, if you pluck your purchase from a different pegboard hook, you can get a pack of six Vivera ink cartridges (with large black cartridge), PLUS ONE HUNDRED AND FIFTY SHEETS of 4 x 6 photo paper (worth about $22) for just $35.99.

AND, if you're in the Staples Rewards program, you get a 10% rebate on ink purchases, so you save another $3.59.

Would you like chopsticks or a fork? Fortune cookie or almond cookie?

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