An Economic Fluke

1 April 2008

To-day's mail brings a catalogue from MAT Electronics. I always enjoy going through their catalogues (though I fear that one day they will break my heart by offering the very Motorola chip that went-out in my Mitsubishi television set years ago, which I was unable to replace through Motorola, through on-line parts dealers, or through Mission Hills Radio & Television).

Catalogue #117 presents one of the Mysteries of Capitalism. On page 101, they are selling two Fluke multimeters, the Model 10 and the Model 12. The description for the Model 12 declares

The Fluke Model 12 is everything the fluke model 10 is and much more!

What makes this claim interesting is that the Model 10 is priced at US$149.50, and the Model 12 at US$149.95. So apparently the marginal cost of much more! is 45¢.

In fact, the explicitly described additional functionality of the Model 12 is that one can hook it to the circuit and walk away, and the device will thereäfter record maxima and minima, noting the time of each. That could indeed be a very valuable feature. In any event, it's a feature worth considerably more than 45¢ to a technician of almost any sort who would have been willing to pop for a Fluke meter in the first place.

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