I misplaced my 6-pin to 4-pin Firewire/IEEE1394/i-Link cable, to get digital video from my camcorder into my computer. It was a cheap-but-sturdy-and-functional unit that I ordered from NewEgg last year. I paid maybe $6 for it, and it has worked like a champ.
I stopped by Fred Meyer on the way home to pick up a replacement, and I was given a sharp reminder of how freaking expensive they are! Fred Meyer had exactly one cable, and wanted $25 for it (6 foot, Belkin). I passed, and went across the street to Radio Shack, where again, I found exactly one cable, and this one was $35.
I told the guy at Radio Shack that I wouldn’t pay that much for a cable, and started to leave. He weakly protested that they were that expensive everywhere. In retail stores, maybe, but I pointed out that I could get one easily for less than $10 online, and the convenience of getting it “right now” wasn’t worth a 350% (or more) markup.
EDIT: Rick pointed out in a comment that a local computer parts shop, Iguana Micro, has the exact cable I was looking for. The price? $3.50. That’s three dollars and 50 cents, or one tenth of what Radio Shack/Belkin wanted. You know Iguana’s not selling these at a loss, so this illustrates the outrageous markup even more. I’m definitely going to Iguana Micro the next time I need a commodity component like a cable.
What’s wrong with cable companies that they charge so much for simple cables like Firewire and USB? I mean, I understand they’re out to make a profit, but how can they sleep at night when they’re selling a cable that costs them maybe a few bucks for $35 or more? What is the justification or rationale here?
There’s a happy ending to the story, though. I got home, and looked around one more time in my desk, and found my trusty $6 cable. I’m using it right now to extract some video off of my camera. I won’t make the mistake of misplacing it again.