A mean machine isn't a lean machine.
I hate going shopping by myself. I don't know whether it's the result of nature or nurture (after mapping the human genome, maybe they'll discover a treatment for the cheapskate gene), but I am often afflicted with serious outbreaks of miserable, miserly thriftiness. At its worst, it can make an innocent trip to the grocery store a torturous hell—as I rub brain cells raw attempting to mathematically determine, among other things, which roll of toilet paper provides the best deal per square foot. Considering my penchant for the finer-but-cheaper things in life, I should be absolutely thrilled by the vertiginous free-fall of prices on entry-level DVD players over the last few years. It wasn't that long ago that the least expensive DVD player would set you back $1,000 or more. Today, it took me fewer than 10 minutes to track down a DVD player selling for less than $120 at a national retailer. While the available information on this machine was pretty sparse, I'd be shocked if it weighed more than five or six pounds. Giving it the weighty benefit of a very generous doubt, six pounds brings the cost of the player in at just under $20 per pound. That's a lot to pay for a roll of Charmin, but it's dirt-cheap for a DVD player. Interestingly, I've noticed that low-end DVD players and cheap toilet paper share a close correlation: The lower the price, the thinner and lighter each one gets. At some point, the performance of both really begins to suffer.