Monday, February 11, 2013

"You Get What You Pay For" - A Fact or An Attitude?

I know this might sound shocking, but I am definitely a firm believer in the whole, "You get what you pay for" crap.  Usually, there is a degree of quality that comes with a price - but it also depends on your attitude toward said product.  Sure this isn't true for anything - I can say for a fact - Dollar Tree version Pine-Sol sucks.  Don't waste the $1.  Spring for the $4 real stuff.  But for other things - your attitude could really make a difference.

One example, I saved money buying a car because it had crank windows and no power locks.  My attitude:  "That's fine.  I can live like it's 1984.  It's not worth an extra $3,000 for those "luxuries"".  Others' attitude:  "That sucks."  I'm happy with my car - but throw it at someone else and they'd probably be disappointed.  At the time, we could have thrown more money at a car - but I didn't want to.  I was trying to be retro-y and hip or something.  Or felt the money could be best saved for something else.  I got what I paid for - and I was happy with it.

Then there those times that you want to buy quality but just can't swing it.  Sure, a $2,500 Pottery Barn couch is probably made with great craftsmanship and will be durable and functional for a long time.  Plus, it's probably really pretty.  However, if you only have $500 to drop on a couch and you need a couch - you have to schlub it over to Bob's Discount Furniture and see what the deal master has for you.  So will your attitude be, "This couch sucks, life sucks, I hate this couch!" or will it be, "Well I got the best for the money I was a great deal...I love my new couch!"

This also reminds me of a conversation I had with some lady about 5 years ago.  She was talking about how she'd only move to towns with "great school districts".  I hardly knew her - so it was kind of an odd conversation.  Anyone who lives near Boston and has kids know - living in a town with a "great school district" comes with a price.  To be blunt, unless I find a way to fart 1/2 million dollars out of my butt, I'm not living in a "great school district" ever.  So am I going to sit here and be convinced my kids are doomed because they are in an "average" school district?  Or am I going to embrace what is offered and make the best of it?

One last example - sometimes your own craftsmanship can make your crappy purchase into a better one.  I bought dressers for my kids at Target - because at the time, I could afford (barely) $99 dressers.  I couldn't afford $400+, better quality dressers.  These dressers sucked - and I knew they would suck buying them.  Not kid friendly at all.  If you knew how quickly they got broken, you'd be shocked.  But luckily, my husband has some craftsmanship know-how to him and he was able to do some modifications to the drawers on the cheap which made them durable to withstand the strength of a 5 & 6 year-old.  So our crappy, "I definitely got what I paid for" purchase turned into something better with a little work.

So sure - quality does come at a price.  The average person can drop a few extra bucks on better laundry detergent or toilet paper - but sometimes not the "big ticket items".  Embrace what you can afford - because some people can't even afford that crap.  Be grateful for what you have - because THERE ARE others in the world who would kill to have what you have. And lastly, if a rich person gives you a "you get what you pay for" spiel - feel free to slap them across the face.


Christa said...

This is a great post. And so true. We all have different things we insist on having good quality for and other things we could care less about. Even if I could afford it, I think it would cause me pain to buy a Coach bag - to me it is so wasteful and extravagant to spend $600 on a purse. No matter how good it is, I don't care that my purse is top -of-the-line. Cakes are like that too - I make them for a lot of money and I use premium ingredients and I charge for my time, but I myself would not buy a $100 cake for my kids' birthday like some of my customers do. If I didn't decorate cakes I wouldn't buy them from someone else at that price, they would get a box mix cake with frosting and sprinkles on it.

GG said...

Totally agree. Bottom line is you must establish your priorities and stick with them. In the end, it's only stuff. After having my home burglarized twice in one year, I truly believe that. And take time to take care of the things you do have and if something breaks, see if you can fix it before you throw it away and buy a new one.