Been some fresh arrivals chez Goode. First, a new printer. My old inkjet died, and I've replaced it with another inkjet. It wasn't expensive. Inkjet printers represent the ugly side of modern retailing. The hardware is cheap; they sting you for the ink cartridges. Ink, of course, is very cheap. But by putting it in special cartridges that look all technical, they ensure that you don't mind forking out substantial sums of money on these devices at regular intervals.
The modern retail environment takes advantage of human psychology. We stall when faced with a high upfront cost, but stomach regular, less painful cash outflows quite well. The great example of this is my boys and their sticker books, where if they realized up front how much a completed sticker book would cost, they'd be horrified, and would put their money to better use. Or would they? Because their other great passion, Playstation, works on the same principle - the console is cheap, but the games expensive.
Back to printers: apparently some printer manufacturers underfill the cartridges supplied with the printer. My printer manual advises me that the cartridges won't last as long as they should because of the ink required to 'prime' the printer heads. Sounds like an evil lie to me. And they didn't supply a USB lead to connect the printer with. So I pop into a nearby Dixons. The USB leads look very fancy, but are £19.99 each. How much? Are they crazy? After rooting around a bit I find one for £14.99, but this is still absurdly expensive, even though it is beautifully packaged. I ask one of the staff whether they have any reasonably priced USB leads and get a blank look in exchange. What sort of business model is this, where consumers are being charged over the odds for peripherals? Probably one that works to extract maximum cash for minimum pain on the part of the consumer, who is anxious to get their printer working as soon as possible. In the end I pick one up in Maplins the following day for £6.49, which is still a little steep.
The second noteworthy arrival is a Fed-Ex bag with 100 Diams in it. Of the taint-free, in-neck closures available - Diam, synthetic cork and ProCork - all would have done probably done a good job with my wine. It was just easiest to obtain the Diams, and I think they'll fit my purpose well. The big question now is whether I bottle my red wine lots separately (in five or six bottle runs), or combine everything and bottle just one red wine. [The white wine is already blended in a big container.] It's a difficult choice. I'm slightly concerned about the effect of any oxygen pick-up during blending prior to bottling. But a cuvee of just five bottles is hardly sensible, if I'm to be sending out bottles to friends and colleagues.