But right now at Amazon, the Ninja Extreme Kitchen System Pulse Blender with Accessories (in red! pretty!) is just $150 shipped.
Now: Is that a tad spendy for a blender? I think so, unless you’re going whole hog and buying a professional model like a Vitamix or a Blendtec. But this particular blender isn’t just a blender; I am giggling over them calling it an “extreme kitchen system,” of course, but it is a blender as well as a food processor, plus it comes with a couple of blend-and-go cups if you want to run out the door with your smoothie. And this machine runs on a 700 watt motor, which should be sufficient for anything you might need to throw at it. (Please note: Do not actually throw things at your blender.)
If you just need a blender, I stand by my previous recommendation for a KitchenAid as the best intersection of price and functionality. (Mine has been running strong for two years of constant use, and I got it for under $70, shipped.) But if you need a blender and you don’t have a food processor, I could see this being a good compromise with one machine instead of two… and in that case, the price becomes a lot more reasonable.