I refuse to pay $35 for a 6 foot Firewire cable

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?

/end rant

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. πŸ™‚


18 thoughts on “I refuse to pay $35 for a 6 foot Firewire cable

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  2. I refuse to buy any Belkin products. Incredibly overpriced except when there’s an aggressive rebate at the local CompUSA. I buy a lot of cables (particularly audio, but data cables too) for here in Studio 2, and I’ve found a great source: Excellent prices and quality.

  3. I am so happy you found the cable at home! It is painful to see a master in the process of creating a masterpiece, stiffled by a misplaced tool πŸ˜‰

  4. Mike says:

    Glad you found the cable at home. That’s why I asked which direction you were headed from the meeting. Iguana Micro is great if you are headed back west to the office, or you could have dropped by ENU if you were headed east from the meeting. Either place has firewire cables in the $2.50-$5.00 range.

    Glad it all turned out OK. I can’t wait to see the podcasts in all their glory!

  5. Josh, I sure hope the video your pulling off the camcorder will be entering our TinyScreenfuls feeds πŸ™‚ And I totally agree on the cable prices. Living in the UK, we get overcharged for *everything* and so I got a little grumpy when shopping for a 6-pin to 4-pin Firewire cable.

    Hint: When in need of a new earbuds or a USB/FireWire to Dock Connector cable for an iPod, Apple are more than happy to send them along, free of charge and not wanting your *ahem* “damaged” one sending back.

    Not that I have *ever* done that when I lost mine πŸ˜€

  6. I hear you!

    I went to Radio Shack and paid the $35… I just grabbed it off the shelf and had no idea of the price…

    I wanted it “right now”, so I did not order it off the web. It has been worth my money however, as I am now able to post videos that I filmed in 16:9 widescreen… Yeah!

  7. I built my first computer from parts bought at Iguana Micro’s predecessor. It’s right across the street from Intel’s Jones Farm campus. Now that’s strategic location!

  8. That’s why I never throw away cables…. It’s cheap, you always will need it again.
    However, storage is expensive too. My attic is full now and can’t find the cables I need now πŸ˜€

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  10. As the owner of a computer store where we always try to sell at a fair price, I can tell you that a 6′ cable costs about $2.50.

    Cables are one of the few areas where retailers can make a solid markup, unfortunately, most retailers try to make an unfair profit.

  11. sam says:

    a tip for getting cheap cables is to not buy them at places that also sell printers. most printers dont include cables as well so retailers use the high markup and thus high profit margin to make up for the thin margins on printers.

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