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Posted by JRM on December 21, 2000 at 13:14:27:

In Reply to: Rising cost of gear posted by AADIVER on December 21, 2000 at 11:21:40:

I ended up in this debate about the rising costs of automobiles. An older gentlemen was whining about when he bought a new car for $600, and even accounting for inflation, it was still only like $3500 in adjusted dollars. But it didn't have air conditioning, airbags, AM/FM cassette, power steering, power breaks, etc, etc, etc, ad naseum. Heck, you can by one of those stripped down pick-ups for about $5 grand. But there's so much more in the stuff today, whether it needs to be there or not. In the software world it's called "Feature Creep", or bloatware depending on who you work for. There's just too many gizmo's and bells added (but not whistles. Hmm, still have to by that separate. Or blow $150 on Dive Alert, or is that so you don't have to blow :-).

And 100% markup isn't outrageous. Heck, look at jewelry, furniture, etc. I don't begrudge a shop owner making a living. Because of my employement sector, people are always asking me to do stuff for free. And I get tired of it. So I have to imagine that the dive shop owners probably get tired of the same thing. It's capitalism, and all the good/evil that entails. Ask not what the markup is, but what the profit margin is. I imagine it's probably razor thin. Instead of being bothered that the shop owner has a 100% markup, get bothered that it requires a 100% markup for the shop owner to stay in business. A man's gotta eat, even dive shop owners. Most people want everything for free, especially service. I think that our society has lost the concept of service. Example: Service station. Try asking the guy behind the counter to check your oil and air pressure sometime :-)

The only thing I have a major problem with is the Halcyon price list. I'd love to buy a backplate and wings. But if something is supposed to be uber simple, why does it cost so much? If it's just a piece of machined steel, one piece of webbing, and a buckle, a bladder, and an inflator, why is it like $450? And what the heck is up with $200 for weight pouches? Pretty proud of those things. If the main selling point is the lack of feature creep, why are we paying beyond feature creep prices?

But I digress. The answer to your question is freedive. Depending on where you are, all that is required is a mask, fins, and snorkel. Ok, out here exposure protection too, but you lack all the big ticket items. And no air fills, yearly maintenance, etc. And the failure point count drops dramatically!

I have really gotten into free diving these last few months, and I actually find it as fun, although different, than scuba. There's something to be said about the freedom and lack of gear. Of course, it makes the evil sport of hunting much more sporting as well.


-- I wonder what overpriced goodies Santa is bringing for me this year?

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