Buy now, pay forever21 Mar 13 08:00AM EST |
I think there’s a word missing from the English vocabulary. It would describe a product that lures you in with the promise of fulfilling a need relatively cheaply, but once purchased it applies a siphon to your finances to keep it running. I’m open to suggestions, but for now I’m leaning towards “suckubuy”.
The things I have in mind are not uncommon or particularly exciting products. They’re often things I would consider essentials – like a shaver. I imagine in the days of straight razors one could get by with a single blade for years, if it was looked after. Now, you invest in a particular brand of shaver handle and you’re on a slippery slope to losing lots of dollars on heads with ever increasing numbers of blades and lubricants attached, which wear out quickly to remind you to chuck it out and buy another one. Even the electric shaver now comes with a special device to clean and charge it that requires an endless supply of sweet smelling liquid to keep it hygienic. Or so we’re told.
Toothbrushes - especially of the electric variety - are another cash drain. Heads should be replaced when they no longer function. This should be pretty obvious because they start looking ragged and worn out with all that scrubbing. That being said, I’m pretty easy on the bristles, but my partner can mash them up in a week. Those helpful coloured markers on the bristles, supposedly to let you know its time for a newbie, are equally irrelevant for us. But, they do make sure you feel uncertain when they’re gone.
I’m not a fan of instant coffee. Instead, I could make a proper coffee with a coffee machine, which requires a lot of mess and some care. Then along comes the very convenient and consistent capsule-based coffee maker. There's a certain brand that only needs cleaning occasionally and doesn't need a three-week barista course to use. But nothing is that simple. Whatever you think of the taste of the coffee, there’ll be a bitter taste in your mouth when you get the bill for the capsules.
Of all the “suckubuys”, the inkjet printer has got to be the devil’s own machine. At one point you could buy one for less than the cost of replacing the ink cartridges. Not only is the ink grossly overpriced, its container has a chip in it to tell the printer what part of the world it’s been purchased, so you can’t buy replacements online. Sure you can get your hands dirty by refilling with third party ink that may or may not clog up the printer, but you’ll have to buy a device to flash the chip so it won’t bring everything to a halt. And that's a lot of time and effort.
So beware the "suckubuys" that suck you dry forever. The immediate outlay isn't all there is to it.