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Home Depot Oddities
Posted by: Dale Franks on Sunday, October 28, 2007

Today, I went to Home Depot to pick up a replacement battery for my 12-volt wireless drill. The old battery was worn out, and wouldn't hold a charge.

The price for a new battery ran about 70 bucks. However, the price for a new 12-volt cordless drill, with two batteries and an included charger, ran 49.95. Plus, there was a nice little selection of drill bits, screwdriver heads, and hex bolt heads included in the box, as well.

I don't get it.

Actually, I did get it...a new drill I mean.

I'm still wondering why a replacement battery costs more than a new drill and two batteries, though.
 
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Previous Comments to this Post 

Comments
Was the new one made in China, while the old battery replacements were made in the US?
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
More likely the manufacturer wants to sell drills rather than batteries. Or it’s possible that drills are a lost leader for Home Depot while batteries are a profit item.
 
Written By: Dave Schuler
URL: http://www.theglitteringeye.com
I’ve had the same experience, and the same outcome.
 
Written By: Neo
URL: http://
I was just thinking the other day how this is the case with almost all products.
Companies now price replacement parts so that you have to consider the value of fixing a product versus just buying a new one. Unfortunately it is becoming more common that the prudent choice is to just buy a new one. I think it’s a damn shame. 50 years ago consumers would not have tolerated it. We’ve become a throwaway society not necessarily by choice. But, rather because manufactures have manipulated it so.
 
Written By: jfw1961
URL: http://
Have you ever bought replacement ink carts for your inkjet printer?

Same deal. They sell the printers cheap... below cost, in fact, to suck you in, because to keep the thing running you’re going to need replacement ink. It’s where they make their money.

Same thing applies to the drill/battery thing, apparently.

 
Written By: Bithead
URL: http://bitsblog.florack.us
I don’t think the printer thing really gets to the bottom of this situation. Yes, all of the profit is on the ink cartridges, but it’s not as if the price of a new printer with cartridges is more that the price of a refill alone. If you can buy a new drill with batteries for less than batteries alone, then they’re not going to capture a lot of profit selling you replacement batteries. Customers can just keep buying the low-cost loss-leader as long as they want. For this strategy to work for Home Depot (or the drill manufacturer) they’d need to price the new drill at $70 and the battery at $50, not the other way around as they have.
 
Written By: Jared
URL: http://
I was going to write a long post on inventory control, sales volumes, how manufactures switch batteries so much a store couldn’t stock every one of most without a large overhead cost, etc. But in the end I summarized it simply:

1) If you don’t need good tools, buy cheap ones at Harbor Freight instead of the BORG.
2) Find an online battery rebuilder. Much cheaper.
 
Written By: Ryan
URL: http://
This isn’t anything new. These days, it’s cheaper to replace a whole cellphone than to buy a new battery for it.
 
Written By: Joel C.
URL: http://
Yes, all of the profit is on the ink cartridges, but it’s not as if the price of a new printer with cartridges is more that the price of a refill alone.
Ummmm....

Here’s a Lexmark printer. a Z1300. Price for this printer is $30
Here it is at the Lexmark store, same price.

High yield black ink: $24.99
Color cart $30

Xerox stuff of late is even worse.

 
Written By: Bithead
URL: http://bitsblog.florack.us
Your math is a bit off. But not much.

The printer comes with a color ink cartridge, but I doubt the $30 high yield one. More likely the $22 "normal" one. So the printer’s a whopping $8.

I also like the "Black cartridge required" line. But not included.
 
Written By: Ryan
URL: http://
Sounds like the drill I got from them, came with 2 batteries. But in my case, they had a special deal where I was able to send away to the company and get ANOTHER battery, so I have three batteries.

I actually use one as a "jump-start" battery for my car. Yes, with the Prius, you can jump-start with just about any 12-volt battery, because you just have to get the computer started, and then it uses an inverter with the main battery, which is never "dead".

Anyway, another place this happens is with electric razors. I bought a new razor for 6 cents more than the cost of the replacement blades. Then, when I needed to do it again, I just bout the blades, even though ANOTHER razor was actually a bit cheaper.

I just couldn’t keep polluting the world with extra crap, even if it saved me money.

 
Written By: Charles
URL: http://www.twoconservatives.blogspot.com
The printer comes with a color ink cartridge, but I doubt the $30 high yield one.
Quite right. And, usually, the high yeild black prevents you from using the color.
 
Written By: Bithead
URL: http://bitsblog.florack.us
I ran into this problem with my cell phone. The battery wouldn’t hold a charge and a replacement battery was $60. I was shocked. The cell phone didn’t even come close to costing $60 to begin with. A friend told me, "Look on e-Bay. They have batteries." Sure enough, $6.99 for the battery plus 2$ S&H.
 
Written By: tkc
URL: http://

 
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