Don’t Be Fooled by Sneaky Labeling!

Share

Blogging about personal finances, I should be on top of my game and living by my mantras. Usually this is the case – but I was duped by clever marketing techniques ending up in a giant facepalm incident. Oh the embarrassment!

Yesterday the fiance and I had a full-day, assembly-line operation preparing the wedding invitations for the upcoming Big Day. If you’ve been through, or are going through, wedding planning then you know costs can add up quickly and unexpectedly.

We opted for doing our own invitations, because frankly, it’s sole purpose is informational. Simply could not justify the cost for something which would most likely be thrown away. Sorry friends, but I practice the 3 R’s of wedding invitations – Read, Retain, Recycle. Read the invite, retain the information until the event, then toss them afterward. I don’t have a memory box preserving all this paper I receive. *Can you tell I’m a practical engineer or what?

Another benefit of private school, I can pass my swooping cursive as handwriting from days of yore. While my dad did the calligraphy for his own wedding invitations and one of the bridesmaids also has the talent, I couldn’t subject either of them to my totalitarian management techniques. ;)

If you’re looking for more ways to reduce costs, Free From Broke had an interview with Anja Winikka from TheKnot on how to have an affordable wedding.

Few guys in tuxes walk into a brewery,
Owner says, “you going to a wedding or a funeral?”
Guy replies, “depends on what side of the aisle you’re on!”
Not a joke, true story from a friend of mine :)

Back to the story, I purchased a nice all in one printer from Staples on Black Friday for 48% of the original cost. As you well-know, I am a huge proponent of never paying full price.

Not needing to replace the ink cartridges up until this point, I headed back to Staples. Looking through the packages, there was a “Value Pack” deal – 3 color cartridges, 1 photo black, and 150 photo sheets. Comparing this to purchasing the color cartridges and black separately, I was saving $4 plus getting the photo paper. What a steal!

Everything’s going swimmingly until we realize the black cartridge doesn’t fit in the printer. After a little sleuthing, we called Staples realizing we had the wrong HP product!

I’ve got to give Staples credit, the representative was unbelievably helpful. He explained they’ve had this problem before, and get this… The “value” package cartridges contain less ink, so while you are “saving” $4 you are getting ½ of the printing capacity – that’s not a good deal at all!

It seems like companies have a way of promoting: “low fat”, “green”, or “value” products while not telling the whole story. Sure, it may be low fat/calories, but the sugar/sodium is through the roof; or it may be green, but maybe only in comparison to their other products.

The moral of the story is don’t get tricked by fancy labeling.

Make sure to read the fine print and, like investing,

fully understand what you are buying.

Join our newsletter

Screen_shot_2017-04-25_at_1.05.57_pm

Subscribe to get the latest "Engineer Your Finances" content via email.

Powered by ConvertKit
About the author

14 Responses
  1. I find it amazing that printers like HP will change the ink cartridge for nearly every model printer they make. The Ink section at Staples is a full isle. We complain about $3/gal gas, how about $500/gal ink?

    1. Fin Engr

      @ JoeTaxpayer:

      Better than being part of the Treasury – I’d like a job at the Mint. If free market ink costs $500/gal, then govt ink must cost $650/gal.

      Side note – saw your back/forth with FS. Do you think housing numbers got propped up by the new buyer credit, and you think all this other pressure will keep rates under 5%?

  2. I agree with JoeTaxPayer! That printer business is such a scam… You buy their printer for a reasonable price, then the ink cartridges cost almost as much as the printer after you purchase the 2nd set of cartridges!

    I wonder how much it cost to make the ink that goes in them???

    I’m going to have to get some of that Dehydrated Water!!! Does that mean that the can is empty, since you add water? (lol)
    .-= Money Reasons´s last blog ..How I Got A Deck Table And Chairs For 25 Percent of The Cost =-.

    1. Fin Engr

      @ MR:

      Not sure if the can is empty or has some dissolving powder in it.

      JoeTaxPayer hit it right on, you added a nice touch… That’s another marketing strategy I forgot about – charge dirt cheap for the product, then exorbitant amounts for the parts/repair! It made me think, and yeah my printer cost about 2 ink sets!

  3. Bytta@151DaysOff

    Dehydrated Water! Glorious!
    They should put the label as “Dehydrated Ink: Purchase at Your Own Peril” :D
    I heard that ink injection “thingy” is also a big bs.
    .-= Bytta@151DaysOff´s last blog ..Day 31: What was the Most Amazing Thing You Did When You were 16? =-.

    1. Fin Engr

      @ Bytta:

      Another way to provide a sub-standard product at sub-market prices with above-average marketing… Haven’t actually tried the injection thingy myself, but know people who have – haven’t said much.

  4. Dehydrated water! haha WOW!!! Like others have stated, buying printer cartridges can be a tricky business! It can be pretty tough to figure out WHICH exact cartridge fits your printer…

    Being a health nut, when I shop at the grocery store, the first thing I do when I pick up something is look at the nutrition label. Forget all the advertising on the front, the nutrition facts don’t lie…

    1. Fin Engr

      @ MFO:

      That was going to be my next mention – how you can get something “low calories” but its loaded with sodium and sugar. Less packaging = more healthy.

  5. That picture is hilarious :)…. Ink is such a rip off as it is, I never knew this about value packs….

    I purchased a printer here only to find out months later that even though the printers are for sale….. the ink is not! duh. Anyway I purchased a refill kit and do refills myself for the most part but the cartridges only last a few refills then we need to get someone to bring more from the states.

    It’s always worth comparing price per gram when looking at prices in the supermarket. An example… the other day I worked out the 48 piece value laughing cow cheese was mildly more per pieces than the 32 piece value pack…. what sense is that!
    .-= Forest´s last blog ..A Pledge To Never Take Credit Again! =-.

    1. Fin Engr

      @ Forest:

      I guess this is why there’s been much an exodus to blogging and a rebirth of consumer vigilance? If you’re not on your toes, it seems like consumer/banking/investment products are willing to pull the wool over your eyes in order to ‘make a quick buck’.

Join our newsletter

Subscribe to get the latest "Engineer Your Finances" content via email.

Powered by ConvertKit

ModestMoney.com Top Finance Blogs

Archives

SSCP   CAS-002   9L0-066   350-050   642-999   220-801   74-678   642-732   400-051   ICGB   c2010-652   70-413   101-400   220-902   350-080   210-260   70-246   1Z0-144   3002   AWS-SYSOPS   70-347   PEGACPBA71V1   220-901   70-534   LX0-104   070-461   HP0-S42   1Z0-061   000-105   70-486   70-177   N10-006   500-260   640-692   70-980   CISM   VCP550   70-532   200-101   000-080   PR000041   2V0-621   70-411   352-001   70-480   70-461   ICBB   000-089   70-410   350-029   1Z0-060   2V0-620   210-065   70-463   70-483   CRISC   MB6-703   1z0-808   220-802   ITILFND   1Z0-804   LX0-103   MB2-704   210-060   101   200-310   640-911   200-120   EX300   300-209   1Z0-803   350-001   400-201   9L0-012   70-488   JN0-102   640-916   70-270   100-101   MB5-705   JK0-022   350-060   300-320   1z0-434   350-018   400-101   350-030   000-106   ADM-201   300-135   300-208   EX200   PMP   NSE4   1Z0-051   c2010-657   C_TFIN52_66   300-115   70-417   9A0-385   70-243   300-075   70-487   NS0-157   MB2-707   70-533   CAP   OG0-093   M70-101   300-070   102-400   JN0-360   SY0-401   000-017   300-206   CCA-500   70-412   2V0-621D   70-178   810-403   70-462   OG0-091   1V0-601   200-355   000-104   700-501   70-346   CISSP   300-101   1Y0-201   200-125  , 200-125  , 100-105  , 100-105  , 1Z0-803  , 400-051   EX300  , CISM   100-105  , 000-106   400-201   642-732   220-902   70-410  , MB6-703   810-403   70-243  , CAS-002  , AWS-SYSOPS   70-462   70-410   2V0-621   LX0-103   70-461  , 220-902   1Z0-144   70-178   70-270   350-080  , 1Y0-201   1z0-808  , NSE4   102-400  , ADM-201   SSCP  , 200-125  , 640-911   000-104   640-692   300-320   350-060   000-089  , 000-017   1z0-808   700-501   1Z0-051  , 70-177   M70-101   300-209   70-461   3002   N10-006   VCP550   70-487   300-320  , 3002   700-501   NS0-157  , 1V0-601   CAS-002