I was in my garage the other day when I heard a strange beeping sound coming from the optical network terminal (ONT). For those who don’t know, the ONT is the box that converts the fiber optic communication signals coming into my house to electric signals on the copper wires used by my home’s computers and telephones.
Anyway, it turns out those beeps were an alarm telling me it was time to replace the 12-volt rechargeable battery which is used to back up the system during a power outage.
So the first thing I did was visit my local provider’s website to see who was responsible for changing out the battery; unfortunately for me, since the battery was no longer under warranty, I was on the hook to replace it.
Thankfully, the provider’s website listed the proper battery specifications. For my convenience, they also offered a replacement 12-volt battery for $69.99 — just in case I didn’t feel like shopping around.
The Cost of Convenience
Of course, I had absolutely no intention of ever taking them up on their offer because I’ve learned that convenience is usually a very expensive luxury. As such, I figured my provider’s rechargeable batteries were not worth it.
In fact, a quick trip over to Amazon revealed several rechargeable batteries with the exact same specifications as the one offered by my provider for as little as $29.99! But wait — it gets even better: As an added bonus, I bought the battery via Amazon Prime, so I only had to wait two days for the replacement!
Add it all up and the battery offered by Amazon was almost one-and-a-half times cheaper than the battery offered by my provider. Or, looking at it another way, my communications provider charges a 133% convenience premium to people who are essentially too lazy to take the short amount of time required to make a few extra mouse clicks and shop around.
Keep that in mind the next time any company or business offers to sell you something that you wouldn’t normally buy from them for the sake of saving a little time and effort. In most cases you’re going to pay a lot more than you probably need to.
Photo Credit: Richard Elzy