I’m not sure who said it, but I can bet you they were trying to sell you something. If you’ve read any of my previous blogs (and if you haven’t, why not?) then you know I have a tendency to prefer paying more for higher quality stuff that should last longer rather than buying cheaper stuff that will likely break down sooner and only end up having to be replaced more frequently. Well, I’ve since modified my position on the issue. Here’s what happened:
I recently had an interesting discussion with my colleagues in our IT department about computers. My computer at home is about four or five years old, and believe me when I tell you it is slow. So I asked my friends what I should expect to pay for a new laptop. They told me for a good quality laptop I should plan to spend around $1,500 (note to self: never ask an IT person how much to spend on a laptop). Whoa! Are you serious? But they advertise laptops all the time for between $400 and $500, do I really need to spend that much? Well, I suppose if it’s good quality, and if it will last longer, I should be okay spending the extra dough, right? Ahhhhh…but as Shakespeare said, “There’s the rub.” When you think about technology, exactly “how long” does it last? I mean after all, the “cutting edge” technology I bought my freshman year of college (don’t even ask) was quickly antiquated by the time I graduated. The cell phone I used for my first job (yes, they had those back then) has been replaced at least a dozen times since then. The television I bought a few years ago has become all but obsolete. So in terms of technology, while I’ll grant you there may be good quality associated with the product, I’ll ask you again, what would you consider a long time? 12 months? 24 months?
So I put it out to my IT buddies, wouldn’t it be better to just BUY a new, dare I say, cheaper, laptop every couple of years rather than spend two or three times as much on something that will be a paperweight in a matter of seconds? (You can imagine the look they gave me.)
So here’s what it boils down to (in my humble opinion). When we’re talking about something that has for the most part already been innovated to the point where it is most practical, then I prefer to pay more for quality. This would include things such as appliances, automobiles, clothing, furniture, power tools, razors (life is too short to buy cheap ones), and wine. When we’re talking about something that innovates fairly quickly, I’m going to prefer to pay less more frequently. This would include A/V equipment, cell phones, computers, televisions, and anything with an “i” in front of it.
As you can see my lists are anything but exhaustive, but perhaps you have an item or two you’d like to contribute to either list. The bottom line is value is in the eye of the beholder. While my friends in the IT department may be comfortable spending $1,500 for a laptop, the truth is I probably cannot appreciate the difference. So unless you appreciate the difference, go ahead and save your money. In a couple years, I’ll let you sell it to me