Grills, the inkjet printers of outdoor cooking

grill grateAfter having shared the secrets of buying a gas grill with you last week and thinking our current grill would last us another season, I have come to find out that grills have something in common with a more technology oriented item; the inkjet printer. You see our grill still works, sure the push button ignition failed last year, the grill grate needs replaced and it showed signs of weathering but it still got the job done. I spent some time last weekend cleaning it up, tightening bolts and I pitched the grate which you rest your food on with the plan of replacing it for $15 to $20 at a local hardware store. Boy was I wrong!

A new grill grate for our Charbroil brand grill costs just over a third of what I paid for the grill 2 years ago! It isn't a part that is no longer made, as the low end charbroil at most hardware stores has the same grate down to the centimeter. I find it difficult to believe that the high price tag is anything other than an incentive to simply purchase a new grill. The stores carried several other replacement grates in much larger sizes that fit higher end Charbroil grills for $15 to $25, but wanted $35 to $40 depending on the store to replace ours.

This reminds me of inkjet printers which typically go for next to nothing and come with starter ink packages. When these run out you can pickup a brand new printer for less than the cost of ONE new color cartridge! True the new printer will have the smaller starter cartridges again and you'll be clogging up a landfill but the urge to spend less is so tempting. The grill industry doesn't run on the same consumption principle that the inkjet companies do but that doesn't make me feel any better about their pricing strategies.

Keep in mind the cheapest grill may not be the best one for longevity sake. Anybody know of a hot deal on a grill in the coming weeks?
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