Let me begin this with a note. A note for those of you who Reddit.

Reddit is something that I have not integrated into my routine. Yet. I’m more terrified that it will create a monster in me. However, from what I know of reddit by word of mouth, is that it's stop #1 for most nerd-related media. I do eventually see or hear about most things relevant to my interests down the line from reddit, via other social media by way of friends.

No matter what it may be, nothing exactly prepares you for someone informing you via reddit sources, that printer ink costs more than human blood by the milliliter.


 I pause. How could I mentally work this statistic to somehow make sense. My mind takes me immediately to art. Hard to believe, I know. (that was sarcastic)

Per this very well designed image found here and posted on reddit and mentioned to me by a coworker, it looks like HP black printer ink runs at $.70 per ml. human blood is at a cost of $.39 per ml.

WHAT. SHUT UP. Hold on a second, there may be method in this.

Historically, paying for pigments or oil paints has been expensive. We hear stories in art history about folks only buying  a few colors to paint with since they couldn’t afford anything else(Picasso).

Or we hear of crazy people slapping so much of these pricey paints on canvas that its practically 3-D (Van Gogh: born, lived, and died poor, but had a sweet brother). To keep my research light however, I just did some quick calculations from things that I’m familiar with.

I love my acrylic paints from KROMA, of which I purchased on Granville Island up in Vancouver BC so I used that as an example. I pulled up their price list on their website. Due to my education being in art, I know that cadmium colors are usually more expensive so I looked at the prices for Cadmium Yellow($.13 per ml premixed), and cadmium red($.14 per ml premixed). Well its premixed paint right? I’m sure the dry pigment would cost more. NOPE. Cadmium yellow dry pigment from KROMA runs $.15 per ml, and red is $.19 per ml. (math nerds feel free to harass me about dry things being measured in ml instead of oz. I did a simple conversion to illustrate this. Granted, paint isn’t all that expensive either by today’s consumer-based culture. Though I’m not dedicated enough to calculate inflation since 1598. Love the idea, but no.  

So what are other common knowledge factors that could contribute to this madness? Pigments are traditionally found in nature. Blood is found in nature (human blood is found in humans, go figure). How about HP black ink? NOT FOUND IN NATURE. Found in small plastic cartridges that were manufactured. Test tube pigment, pigment growth cell project. Synthetic. I made up a few things there but you see my point. Sadly it doesn’t keep me from thinking that human blood has been rendered insignificant by price comparing with ink. Luckily on the illustration the other substances listed were much less in price than blood. Maybe blood is discounted since people usually NEED it when they don’t anticipate the need for it; rather than in a way that serves the public by selling it in stores.

My next mission was to find something even remotely close to being as expensive as HP’s masterfully manufactured printer ink. What did I find?

Unfortunately, I tried and failed to find the running price of the wizarding worlds ever rare unicorn blood. And I wasn’t going to ask the black market what they thought.

The next best thing?

I finally found it!

According to an article I found here on how your money is saved by making coffee at home I found some numbers to work with and my math brought me to this. $.38 worth of decent ground coffee will brew you 16oz of coffee. Meaning that the cost of one ml of decent, not fancy, brewed, black coffee comes out to be about NOTHING per ml. So stop paying for $4 cups of coffee and make it at home.


HP may still be a little insane for charging that much for printer ink. Then again, I just don’t want to think that I pay that much for it.