I'm coming in way late to this thread, but if I tell you I hold a special place in my heart for my first flight (long ago) on a BAC Super VC-10 (with those 4 RR Conways on the back) will that mean I can join the game ?
(not a pilot, just loved planes as a kid)
Anyway - While it is true that owning your own printer will cost you some "supply money", I do feel that if you are striving to get the best possible quality out of your images that it is the way to go in most cases.
I have a little background in traditional color printing - I've printed both traditional color prints (RA4 from color negs) and Ciba in the past, and I'm fairly talented as a printer in the new "digital era".
I've sent images to a high end pro lab to be printed on a Durst Lambda and then compared to what I can achieve out of my Epsons (R2400, R1800) and while of course on a purely high-glossy media the Lambda might produce the shinier print, I do think the shadow detail and tonality of the Epson prints is superior, as is the color in some aspects. That was a bit of an eye-opener, because I am old enough to remember how good traditional color printing is (I have many ciba's on my walls) and I'm definitely a sceptic, but in my own empirical testing, I'd take the output from the high end inkjets in a heartbeat. There are examples "from the pro's" to back this up - famous photographer Pete Turner, who I would think is "famous enough" that he could choose anything or anyone to print his legendary work decided on an Epson 3800 for his last gallery show. I kind of figure if that printer is good enough for Pete Turner, it certainly is good enough for my far less ambitious work, you know?
As for longevity - all we can really go by is the aging tests done by Wilhelm, and according to those, my Epson prints will outlast the cibas on the wall.
So at the end of the day - if you are wanting to "go further" and willing to take the time to learn and to spend the bit extra, yes, the inkjet route can be worth it. But if you aren't willing to go the stretch or simply don't feel it matters that much to you (and that is an equally valid opinion - each to their own), then you're better off using the best lab you can find right now and "outsourcing" your printing.