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3M to market $25 light bulb in the middle of a recession. Really?

Ok, the price of everything is going up at a time when our economy is down. I’ve tried to work that one out in my mind, but there are certain things that can’t be explained.

Higher prices of food, gasoline, fuel oil, clothing (whether made in China or the U.S.), even the cost of hunting licenses will be increasing this fall.

How is it that during one the deepest recessions since the Great Depression prices are increasing? Isn’t demand down? There are fewer Americans working and shouldn’t that equal less demand across the board?

Well, our state’s very own 3M company thinks that now is the right time to introduce a light bulb that will cost $25, not for a four pack or even two, but for one light bulb.

Sure, 3M claims that it will have a working life of 25 years. It’s high tech. It is an LED light bulb that will outlast the traditional incandescent old fashioned light bulb or the compact fluorescent bulb. This LED bulb will replace the traditional bulb? I don’t know about that. Only the uber rich or the fad conscious consumer will be able to buy one of these bulbs, let alone replacing dozens of bulbs that shine in the average home.

Besides, what was wrong with the traditional incandescent bulb?

The Centennial Light is the world’s longest-lasting light bulb. It is at 4550 East Avenue, Livermore, Calif., and maintained by the Livermore-Pleasanton Fire Department. The fire department says that the bulb is at least 110 years old and has been turned off only a handful of times.

The Centennial Light is a four-watt, hand-blown, carbon-filament, common light bulb manufactured in Shelby, Ohio, by the Shelby Electric Company in the late 1890s. Many just like it still exist and can be found functioning.

So, I guess the old hand-blown bulb is the granddaddy of bulbs. And, I’ll bet it didn’t cost $25 (even when one takes into account the inflation of the dollar since 1890).

If one is inclined to be the first in your neighborhood to have the pricey 3M LED light bulb, go ahead. However, if the recession’s got you strapped for cash, you may want to check with your local hardware store to see if they have any of the old, much cheaper bulbs in the back room.

Just saying, the recession may not have hit your household income, but if the average home has say 50 light bulbs, that’s $1,250 to retrofit each light socket.

Keith Hansen

Denton (Denny) Newman Jr.
I've worked at the Brainerd Dispatch with various duties since Dec. 7, 1983. Starting off as an Ad Designer and currently Director of Audience Development. The Dispatch has been an interesting and challenging place to work. I'm fortunate to have made many friends, both co-workers and customers.
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