Bulb or beer?

Someone at Tesco Malaysia has lost his marbles.

One of the items on yesterday’s shopping list was “60W SPT”. That’s my shorthand for a 60 watt spotlight bulb. I use a lot of these bulbs around the house, and they seem to have a very short life. I assume this is due to the constant power surges caused by lightning. No big deal, the bulbs are not too expensive. Well, they weren’t.

Now, they are almost impossible to buy, at least, at Tesco.

About a year ago they started to disappear from shelves, so if I spotted new stock (bad pun!) I tended to buy in bulk.

Then, a supply of halogen spotlight bulbs appeared. These were quite expensive, but more energy efficient, and the light was bright but pleasant, so for a while a switched to those. Now, they have also disappeared from the shelves.

I know incandescent lights are energy inefficient, and I’m happy to use an alternative if a cost-effective one appears. But Tesco’s alternative is plain stupid.

All incandescent bulbs have pretty-much disappeared. There are a few left, in tattered boxes – probably containing bulbs that don’t work. Now, I’m expected to buy LED bulbs. They are supposed to be 80% more efficient. This is a GoodThing.

Of course, they are more expensive. That’s okay. I’d expect that. But they are not just a little more expensive, they are a lot more expensive.

One of the regular 60 watt bulbs still sitting on the shelf in its tattered box is priced at RM1.90(US$0.60). I’m sure I’ve seen them cheaper than that in the past, but it’s a useable price for comparison purposes. The LED equivalent is RM129.90(US$41.40). That’s almost seventy times the cost of the incandescent equivalent.

This, or a case of beer? No contest!

Actually, that’s not quite true. The Osram Parathom E27 8w bulb is the equivalent of a 40w regular bulb. According to a little web research, the 12w LED is double the price of the 8w!

So, that one little bulb is priced at about the same level as my weekly shopping bill, or the same as a case of beer. I did my weekly shopping, and bought a case of beer. The bulb, needless to say, is still sitting on the shelf, and I’m guessing it’ll still be there a year from now.

Like I said, someone at Tesco has lost his marbles if he thinks anyone is going to pay that price for a light bulb.


...has been travelling the world for more than fifty years; having lived and worked in five countries and travelled to many many more. He likes to write about his travels - present and past - along with his other main interests of Information Technology and Motorsport, and he adds a few general twitterings along the way. More info than you could possibly need is available by clicking the ABOUT tab in the top menu line.

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