Monday, March 19, 2007

Fast and Cheap

Like all people, I have in the past tried to buy something that was cheap in order to save money. This almost always leads to disaster and I think that I’ve finally learned that a good deal is quickly forgotten when the bargain cost you more in the end.

I can think back on all the wooden handle hammers I’ve purchased over the years, yet I’ve never had to replace any of the Estwings I’ve owned for 20 years.

I think about a set of phones I once bought that oddly would allow one to hear a conversation that someone else was having in another room like an intercom; while the phones were hung up. They were un-returnable and quickly ended up in a land fill. I think of the cheap photo paper that made dark images look flat while lighter colors were glossy. I think about those shoes I used to get that totally screwed up my feet.

I’m at the point where I won’t even buy generic trash bags, and that’s for stuff I’m taking to the dump. There is something really sad that happens in ones heart when you realize you have just wasted money on something.

I think of the tools that have been handed down to me over the years. All are tools of quality. They were crafted and not mass produced in China for the disposable market. When I buy things these days, I go for the long term commitment.


Blogger Beth said...

Oh yeah, it's crazy how long it takes for that lesson, "You get what you pay for," to sink in.
I'm married to a guy who only buys quality - I'm the one who had to learn that a "deal" is not necesarily a "deal."

5:46 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I still use my mothers old 60's era hand mixer. It's heavy and awkward because it is made of metal instead of plastic...and I wouldn't trade it for anything.

7:22 AM  
Blogger Jaggy said...

I must have learned this lesson very young, because I won't spend less than $75 on shoes (unless they're the shoes I want on sale -- and then I'm going to celebrate!). Quality is expensive. Unfortunately, that's the way it is...

I don't have much in life, definitely not much in the way of "stuff," but what I have is good and well-taken-care-of. An excellent lesson to learn, indeed.

8:19 AM  
Blogger OC Mama said...

I am like Beth, I married a guy who only bought the best, I was the buy the cheapest of everything person, and he has slowly converted me. :-)

Although I have to say going from a starving college student to where we are now financially probably makes that easier to do.

10:30 AM  
Blogger The Guy Who Writes This said...

Ahh, a constant theme in many of our lives. Funny thing is I still question it occasionally. Old habits are hard to break.

11:08 AM  
Anonymous gearhead said...

One of my measurements of quality is, "Can it be repaired?"
No matter how good the product performs it's task initially, most things will fail sooner or later.
In 1975 I bought a set of sterio speakers for $1000.00 a piece that I still have. They have needed repairs twice so far. Thankfully they are infinantly rebuildable.
In 1981 I bought a 700 watt amplifyer that my son blew up a few years back. Not rebuildable.
Jaggy brings up shoes. In the small town that I grew up in, we had a shoe store that could repair or resole boots and shoes. My mother had her purse fixed there also.
There was a fix-it shop there where folks would take their radios, vaccuume cleaners, mixers etc.
There was a GREAT automotive shop where one could take their car or truck when the engine wore out and have it rebuilt and reinstalled.
I worked there in a work-experience class in Jr High.
If an item under consiideration for purchace cannot be repaired it is as good as broke already, to me.

12:14 PM  
Blogger Amaya said...

Gearhead reminded me of those little repair shops. Don't see too many of those in the city anymore. I assume that has to do with people's desire to have the newest and greatest of everything. There's no need to repair something when you go out and buy something newer in a year. Now THAT to me is wasteful.

3:25 PM  
Blogger lori hahn said...

I am so with you on this. I also have a philosophy about buying things like furniture...go classic and quality in styling and design, and recover it when the trends change.

I never automatically buy the least or most expensive anything. I find the thing that will last the longest and have the most utility.

7:01 PM  
Blogger scott said...

I cheap out on some things but not on:

- computers (Apple)

- motorcycles (BMW)

- moto tires (Dunlop or Michelin)

- Italian vacations (Ravello, on the Amalfi Coast)

8:29 PM  
Blogger Mom of Three said...

20 years ago, I put down white Mikasa French Countryside for my everyday stoneware. Why? Because I figured that I could always change the look of my table with the inexpensive elements, the napkins and tablecloths, instead of the entire set of dishes. That stoneware is the best, even though it's not the cheapest.

I LOVE my KitchenAid stand mixer (also in white in order to weather fads and fashion).

Fads and fashion are the two biggest scams on the planet, by the way. People getting rid of things to have the latest/newest are kind of idiots. My sister has the money to be on the cutting edge, and she looks at me like "What are you wearing?" when she sees me. You know what I'm wearing? Her designer handmedowns! Stuff I'd never be able to afford if she didn't send it to me free after she's used it two years!

I have good quality Doc Martens, those shoes will last forever. They cost, but you can get them in eBay for a deal sometimes.

We also don't skimp around here on Mac and Cheese!!!! Only Kraft, baby! You gotta draw the line somewhere.

Cars: We've run all our Japanese cars until the wheels fell off with hardly any problems.

12:07 AM  
Blogger The Guy Who Writes This said...

Gearhead, I know that you have tools that you use to fix tools.

Amaya, I know what you're talking about. The shop usually run by an old guy with a Polish accent, but then I came from a town filled with Polls.

Lori, just like visiting a grand parent who's had things during your whole life. Things are ageless and we appreciate that when we visit.

Scott, sounds like you have some spendy issues there. You might need to be convinced to buy some junk just to even the load and add balance ; )

Mo3, funny, my wife's kids used to get angry when she made mac and cheese with real cheese.

6:18 AM  

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