We knew this sucker was going to be expensive. The number that was floating around was $40, and green commentators near and far thought most consumers would have sticker shock at that price.
Turn out, Phillips is selling the bulbs for $50. Fifty bucks! That is HALF OF A HUNDRED DOLLARS.
I know — rationally — that the bulbs will last for 10,000 hours and will save money in the long run. But that’s a huge investment to make in a light bulb. I just bought shoes that cost less than that! I could splurge on an amazing dinner for that! More topically, I could buy a whole bunch of CFLs for that!
This is exactly the problem. Humans are not very good at delayed gratification. Even if a $50 bulb works forever, people are going to balk at handing over five Hamiltons for an LED — “forever” is pretty far in the future, and the sting of spending $50 is happening right now.
But actually, the “working forever” bit is part of the problem, too. It doesn’t do me too much good if my lightbulbs last 22 years — to a 20-something like me, 22 years is an eternity. I don’t want to schlep my lightbulbs from house to house! And while I know none of this is entirely rational, for whatever reason, $50 is just past my lightbulb price point, unless the thing also makes a sandwich and does my taxes. Especially when perfectly sufficient CFLs are still out there.
Government-subsidized green light bulb carries costly price tag, Washington Post.
Get Grist in your inbox