I can remember having a few "shoe box" style portable cassette player/recorders over the years. Sony, Panasonic, etc. It seems that everyone made one. They all worked the same and most cost around $29-$40.
I was recently looking for one for an elderly relative to use and imagine my surprise when I saw the prices. The Panasonic model shown above now sells for $269 on Amazon. Sony units sell for similar prices. Since when does cheap consumer electrics INCREASE in price ten-fold? Sure, there are now tons of no-name Chinesium units that sell for $20-$25 and have USB ports for hooking to your PC but they all have terrible reviews and appear to be mostly junk. The one feature that they all appear to fail miserably at is recording to a cassette tape. Imagine that.
How on earth could a basic portable cassette player that runs on (4)C batteries now cost close to $300? It wasn't too long ago you couldn't give one of these away.
Why didn't someone tell me? I would have stocked up on these back when they were a dime a dozen and they would now fund a retirement.