Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Green jacket, gold jacket...

I went to (where else?) Costco today to get a spindle of CDs, and was presented with a somewhat singular conundrum. On the shelf, as it were, lay two choices: A 100-pack of CDs for $19.99, or a similar pack of CDs for $16.99. The catch? The latter were labeled as "Music" CDs, whereas the former displayed the "Data" moniker. Now, I've been using these shiny discs ever since people had to use them in conjunction with CD caddies, and I had no idea there was any sort of distinction between a "music" CD and a "data" CD. As far as the computer is concerned, it's a blank slice of aluminum. The burnable ones, such as the discs I was looking to purchase, are just surfaces (squeezed between layers of plastic) on which to burn microscopic holes, thus resulting in a series of bits (i.e. ones and zeros) which are then translated into, well, into data. Music or no, it's just a blank medium to store data.

Nevertheless, those tricky so-and-sos at the TDK Marketing Department caught me off guard! I was stunned, and honestly wondered if I had overlooked some monumental shift in compact disc-based data retention. In a tizzy, I called my brother Andy and explained the situation to him. In his usual manner, he calmly explained that the "music" CDs had what he referred to as an RIAA Tax. It was then that I realized the two spindles of CDs I was looking at were actually different amounts: The $19.99 stack was a 100-pack, as I already noticed, but its $16.99 counterpart was actually a 75-pack. Problem solved, and chalk up another "So long, suckers!" from me to the RIAA, as well as the TDK Marketing Department. I knew there was something fishy going on, and I was just a little bit proud of myself (and thankful to Andy) for being able to beat the system.

Not ten minutes later, though, as I stood in the checkout line, the guy in front of me saw the 100-pack of CDs I was about to purchase, and asked where I found them. "Over there by the TVs," I said, gesturing with my left hand.

"Oh," he replied, interested. "I see those are data CDs. Do you know if they have music CDs?"

Everyone needs to have their own Andy.

2 comments:

gb said...

riaa tax? wow... i thought the music ones cost more because most people burn music, not data, and it was a sneaky way to squeeze an extra dollar or two out of you.... booo taxes... maybe i need more faith in corporations...

YWM said...

Another problem solved... another avoided, thanks to you and handy Andy! Appreciate the lesson. What a great story with the guy at the checkout!