"Ordinary consumers"? I think one needs to look at the whole thing as a package. Think back to the days of the chemical darkroom if you wanted to make your own colour prints...
Absolutely. I never considered equipping any of my darkrooms for colour for exactly that reason. That and the fact that you'd work all night to make one print.
Today we are getting far superior results for far less cost..
Also true. I've said it elsewhere here: For many, many reasons, this is the Golden Age of Photography.
unless consumers somehow cover ALL the costs + profits right up the line from retailer to manufacturer, we wouldn't have all this wonderful stuff we are complaining about. :-)
Again, absolutely. I have no problem paying for these wonders. I recently paid over three large for a Nikon. It's a superb photographic tool and I don't regret a penny of it. If instead the camera cost $100 but every shot cost me $5, I wouldn't enjoy using it half as much. It would stand in the way of its own use. Just like those printers.
Are they making egregiously high profits on all this?
I don't know. I do know that the cost of ink inhibits printing, which is just plain dumb, no matter how pretty the prints. What if they halved the price of ink? People would print twice as much and the printer people would make the same profits. Everybody wins. Especially those who wish to print. Probably we'd have fewer clogging problems, too. : )
I do know that the endless stream of one-time-use plastic carts, each containing a thimbleful of ink, most of which are specific to single printers is
egregious. Ask retailers what they think of the amount of shelf space they need to assign to this unjustifiable practice. We've all seen printers that retail for less than the cost of a single set of carts. This is nonsense. Nonsense, I tell you! To the barricades! : )