February 15, 2007

15 Absurdly Expensive Things You Can Buy on Amazon.com

I’ve bought all kinds of stuff from Amazon.com: books, DVDs, electronics, kitchen gadgets, and so on. It’s great for those quick, easy purchases, but what if you’ve got money to burn? You’ll be delighted to know that you can put your American Express Centurion Card to good use with any number of extravagant purchases from everyone’s favorite online store.

Even ignoring obvious typos, of which I found quite a few, there are an awful lot of things that are so expensive that I can’t imagine buying them online, no matter how wealthy I were. I found hundreds of items costing $20,000 or more; here is a small sampling. (By the way, each year Amazon.com posts a list of the most expensive items people actually purchased. In 2006, the most expensive item they sold was a $24,795.00 Cartier watch. Cheapskates.)

HP StorageWorks ESL9595S2 – tape library – SDLT – SCSI (293411-B28): $351,816.00 (refurbished). Shipping is a mere $1,154. Look, nobody has to tell me how important backups are, but if you have that much data to deal with, are you really going to trust it to a refurbished machine?
Ladies Diamond Earrings with Two Fancy Yellow Radiant Cut Diamonds and Two Princess Cut Diamonds, Accented with Pave Diamonds, Set in Platinum and 18KT Yellow Gold: $227,906.00—You Save $129,594.00 (36%)! At that price, you can’t afford not to buy them.
Cartier Ladies Tank Francaise WL4081KF Watch: $225,000.00—You Save $15,000.00 (6%)! Yes, it has lots of diamonds. However, the case itself is made of stainless steel. Are you kidding me? What a rip-off.
IWC Watch: $204,000.00—You Save $36,000.00 (15%)! Features lots of dials and buttons. Plus: it’s extra shiny, with actual gold in the case (unlike the Cartier)! Unfortunately, you’ll have to wait 1–2 weeks for shipping.
Antique Russian Floral Bouquet Plaque Paperweight, circa 1840–1860: $85,000.00—Gift wrap available!
Super Bowl XL Opus MVP Edition: $40,000.00 (free shipping!)—an 80-pound, 800-page, leather-bound book featuring autographs of every living Super Bowl MVP.
24-Station Silhouette Fitness Center: $39,999.99. That’s right: an entire fitness center in a box (well, probably lots of boxes). Building not included.
Relaxman Relaxation Capsule: $39,995.00. Your very own sensory deprivation chamber, in which you can lie on a warm waterbed mattress in complete darkness and silence, meditating on how much frackin’ money you spent on the thing.
Michael Jordan Signed Bulls Red Game Worn 1997–98 Championship Season Jersey: $38,461.54—includes certificate of authenticity and tamper-proof hologram.
Russian Sable Fur Coat, Size 12: $37,500.00. Or, if that’s too expensive, a nice bottle of vodka can also keep you toasty on those cold winter nights.
Taylor Mobile Generator Set – 175 kW: $35,499.99. Expedited shipping “may not be available” to post office boxes.
Gulbransen Bottle Organ: $33,150.00—You Save $5,850.00 (15%)! Features real beer bottles—don’t be fooled by those cut-rate bottle organs with fake beer bottles. MIDI-compatible, too!
Gorham Chantilly-Grand (Sterling Hollowware) Tea Set: $24,999.00—This 14-piece set won’t actually keep your tea very hot or anything, but it’ll look really impressive perched on your butler’s hand.
Microsoft SQL Server Enterprise Edition 2005 32 Bit CD/DVD 1 Processor License: $22,374.11—You Save $2,624.89 (10%)! Gift wrap available! (Or, just say no to the Evil Empire and go with MySQL instead.)
Molecular Brain Research (Journal Subscription): $21,340.00 ($323.33/issue). No kidding! But hey, you get a full year—66 issues—for one low price, with free shipping!

Honorable Mention
I’d also like to give a special nod to the Ace Hardware Outlet, whose Amazon.com store lists so many commonplace items with astronomical prices that I can only assume their computer system likes to put the decimal point in the wrong place. Since these are obviously not real prices, I didn’t want to include them in the main list. However, if you hurry, you might be able to buy, among other things:

7 Responses to “15 Absurdly Expensive Things You Can Buy on Amazon.com”

  1. squatch said:

    the gloves and pocket knife are still expensive, but the other prices have been corrected

  2. gozino said:

    This list is really cool!

  3. David said:

    MySQL is actually a lot weaker than something like MS SQL Server. My database prof told us that MySQL is good for small hacks, but when you start dealing with credit cards you want to stay away from it. PostgreSQL might be a bit better, but they are still on opposite extremes with Oracle, DB2, and MS SQL. But nice list! I never knew people would buy such expensive items on Amazon.

  4. Sean O'Donnell said:

    Your Database prof has not been in the real world in a very long time. I have used every database you mention, and except for very large clusters MySQL and Postgres tend to be the best solution. And why the hell would ‘dealing with credit cards’ matter? Data is data.

  5. Joe Kissell said:

    squatch: Thanks for pointing that out. It looks like you still get the high prices on the Ace Hardware Outlet page, and if you click any of the individual items from that page, but if you go to some of the items’ pages directly, you get correct prices. Weird.

    gozino: Thanks!

    David, Sean, and other database enthusiasts: I mentioned MySQL merely to show the price contrast. I happen to think it’s a pretty solid database, especially now that it passes the ACID test, but I’ve never tried building a multimillion-dollar ecommerce site with it, either.

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