[meteorite-list] Comments re: membrane boxes from Ron Hartman

From: MexicoDoug_at_aol.com <MexicoDoug_at_meteoritecentral.com>
Date: Sun Feb 12 00:44:43 2006
Message-ID: <28d.589c126.31202544_at_aol.com>

Darren G. writes:

<< If anyone found a market for constant production of significant numbers of
these, then they could make them for pennies per piece >>

Yes, but finding a market isn't some shift supervisor's job with a ball and
chain attached to his ankle. Friday I went to the printers because I needed a
certain carbonless copy form set reprinted. I wanted 50. The printer offered
a special to his amigo (me). $48 US plus 15% VAT. He tempted me with 100
instead for $51.50 plus tax - the cost of the extra paper and ink marked up.

I told him 50 would be just fine.

If you worked in a plastics plant you should know the the greatest cost is
for small production runs is the changeover and setup costs, and has nothing to
do with material costs. In the US they get sent to Mexico, and then we botch
them up because they are more frustrating than they are worth and the volume
is never what we are told and it is a waste of learning curve and lip service
attended to, when the production line could chug out thousands of pieces
instead of being adjusted, cleaned, new plastics calibrated for rheometric, abrasion
and impact properties. Bottom line, membrane boxes are a specialty product
and gem jars are a commodity not to mention the manual maquila work we now
learned about. Meteorites are specialty rocks, of course. I want a free lunch a
lot more than the next guy but wouldn't think munching on 'branes is the

Rather than be moaning at the pricing, though, it is really nice to know that
a premium box is there for my sentimentally special specimens that I want to
splurge for. Like that $3 cup of Starbuck's coffee in the US, I bet. If we
socialized the US supplier to sell them for $1 each or less, he might do what
we do in Mexico - throw in the towel without a smile and a sore back. Then it
becomes an obsolete product, or taken to China and you get what you pay for.
Nothing against our Chinese colleagues, If you paid them well enough, you'd
get your cake and eat it too. But you wouldn't have a pension or job to buy it
any more since there is hardly anything that any country has a monopoly of
doing better than others. The wonders of economic equilibrium...

Saludos, Doug
Received on Sun 12 Feb 2006 12:44:36 AM PST

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