Short Hairs

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Spot memory prices on RAM have been going up.

How can this be when the overall market is still in surplus, and the biggest markets are still flatlining?

Well, there are reasons and there are excuses.

The real reason why there may be a few less chips to go around is because Hynix is retooling.

The excuses are anything and everything the memory manufacturers think might fly. If memory manufacturers thought they could get higher prices by saying that Britney Spears was going DDR, and shortages loomed because all her fans would do the same, they’d try it.

In this one instance, we’re hearing babble about Intel boards needing DDR. Ever heard of the 845D and 845E and 845G? What do they use?

A variant on that is the likelihood Intel will go to officially rated 166MHz CPUs in the fall. OK, even assuming that’s true, that will be only be true for the high-end, high-priced low-selling Intel PIVs at that time, and even if there are shortages of DDR333; it hardly should affect the whole line.

No, this is just the short hairs approach to selling.

Getting You Where They Want You

PC sales follow a pattern. Most sales occur in the second half of the year, and they tend to bunch around back-to-school and Christmas sales.

The memory manufacturers know this, so when demand for their product increases due to these two chronological events, they want to get the highest price possible, since they have OEMs over a barrel.

To make a long story short, Dell can’t say, “Sorry, we can’t sell you a PC for school or Christmas because we won’t pay those prices for memory,” so they and other OEMs can’t play chicken with the memory manufacturers to the nth degree.

But you can.

Don’t Buy in Prime Time

Or, if you prefer, a baseball story.

In 1897, Wee Willie Keeler hit .432. When he was asked how he did it, he said, “Simple. I keep my eyes clear and I hit ’em where they ain’t.”

Well, I suggest to you, whenever possible, “Buy ’em when they ain’t.” Don’t buy at times when you’re effectively trying to outbid Dell and Hewlett Packard and every other OEMs when they really need what you want.

Patience, It’s Good for You

However, you can only do so if you refuse to be like everyone else. Given their cost, the number of PC purchases that are essentially impulse buys is astounding.

It’s like watching animals go into heat. People go for prolonged periods without giving the matter the slightest thought, then something happens, and suddenly they get all hot-and-bothered about it and must have it now. As you might have noticed in other areas of life, decisions made in the heat of passion often aren’t very good.

Now I don’t know about you, but I feel insulted by the presumption of the sales and marketing teams that I’m this half-crazed animal whose passion for gratification leaves me wide open to be manipulated and twisted like a pretzel by them. Unfortunately, I also know that it’s done for a very simple reason: it works.

However, just because it works on others doesn’t mean it has to work on me. Nor you.

To separate yourself from the stampeding herd does take a little planning, and a little discipline and patience, though. These are often treated like bad words these days. I’ve literally had people write me to say that.

To me, these are good words, very good words. To me, it’s the difference between being a man or being sheep. Who really runs your life, you or a succession of marketeers?

Yes, it’s hard, very hard sometimes when you are swamped with messages to the contrary, messages that tell you how cool or important or great you’ll be if you just buy something. You won’t be. These folks just want your money and are trying to wheedle money out of the sheep with meaningless ass-kissing.

Learning how to say “No” to them, and, more importantly, to the little gremlins inside you allied to them, is critical and essential to taking charge of your life.

Isn’t This A Little Overboard?

OK, when you’re on your deathbed, and somebody asks you about your biggest regrets in life, paying $25 too much for a memory stick in 2002 is probably not going to be one of them. 🙂 The individual event is trivial.

The problem is not paying too much here and there, or buying things you don’t really need now and then. The real problem is when it becomes a lifestyle, when you literally become an open wallet to anybody who can make you feel good for a little while.

Then it becomes a matter of “Whose life is it, anyway?”

Ed

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