A price far above rubies (2)

A couple of years ago, with crude oil in the $52 range and my DeskJet at work demanding yet another ink cartridge, I sat down with a calculator and determined the price of HP ink per 42-gallon barrel. The results were predictable yet still amazing: $292,900, more than you’d pay for even Dom Perignon in this quantity.

Gizmodo is now reporting that HP ink costs even more than human blood: 71 cents per milliliter for the contents of an HP 45 cartridge, versus 40 cents for the claret, Barrett.

And actually, it’s worse than they say, because they’re comparing with the 45, a relatively old unit (I use them in my ancient 720C at home) that has less-predatory pricing than newer models. My work box takes the HP 56, which holds a mere 19 ml (versus 42 for the 45) and costs even more than $30. So 42nd and Treadmill has to fork over, not $0.71/ml, but $1.84.

Does this mean that nothing on earth costs more than HP ink? No, it does not.

(Observed at Scribal Terror.)


  1. unimpressed »

    5 November 2006 · 11:41 am

    One would almost expect to garner baby printers at those prices….

  2. Mister Snitch! »

    5 November 2006 · 8:14 pm

    I recommend these guys. Or you could substitute human blood, but trust me, it clogs up the print heads.

  3. McGehee »

    6 November 2006 · 7:06 am

    This is why I’ve taken to sending my print jobs downstairs to my wife’s laser printer.

  4. robohara »

    6 November 2006 · 10:48 am

    Cartridge World (with locations all over OKC) refills any ink cartridge for 1/2 the going retail price. On my first visit, I was asked whether I planned on dropping my cartridge off to have it refilled, or would I be waiting for it. After asking, I found out that the wait time is “around two minutes.” I managed to squeeze it into my schedule. The only “problem” I’ve had with refilled carts is that for some reason after only about five or six printed pages, my printer began informing me that the ink levels were low. They weren’t — I got as much if not more mileage out of the refilled cart than a store bought one for some reason. I keep two carts around now; when one’s empty I put the refilled one in the printer and the empty one in my car, with hopes of finding two spare minutes before the current one runs out.

    So I guess the good news is a 42-gallon barrel would only cost you $146,450 there. No guarantee on the 2 minute wait time, though.

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