Sunday, May 02, 2004

Banks for children, finding things, and market failure!

MAGNIF Product Listing

This site specializes in coin banks. It was hard to find. I located it by:

1. seeing a coin bank advertised in a catalog
2. taking strings from the marketing description and feeding them into google (every catalog uses the same vendor-provided description).
3. locating sites selling the "reference" item then finding this site.

A similar technique is used for researching products that lack distinctive names. Search on both the non-distinct name and the distinctive name of a competitor's product ....

It's interesting though that I had trouble finding this. I'm better at finding things than most people ....
Update: The colorful $8 coin sorting banks lasted about 45 minutes. One sorted fairly accurately, another less accurately. Soon coins jammed, requiring disassembly. On disassembly the plastic pins fell out. The device was finished. We paid about $10 for under an hour of minor amusement and we generated more landfill.

This is what, in my main blog (Faughnan's Notes), I classify as yet another instance of market failure. We wanted the device I suspect this toy was based on -- a toy that worked quite well about 20 years ago. Maybe 100 years ago. We'd have paid $20 for one that worked. What we got was dreck -- for $7 plus shipping. Labeled "made in America" by the way -- I rather doubt that.

Life for the middle class American in the early 21st century is an unrelenting and extremely annoying series of bigger and smaller "market failures". I think this might be a truly new phenomenen with a significant real and opportunity cost.

Not to mention overflowing landfills.

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