Rule No. 42

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I’m back home how after a work related trip to Calgary. Nothing beats the comfort of home and as they say, home-cooked food is always the best. Back to the Rules of Life . I don’t intend to spill all the contents of the rules in this blog. I promise I will only blog about four rules in the entire book which I consider to be interesting if not meaningful. Again, I don’t profess to be a guidance counselor. I am just a blogger for god sakes ! Here’s one .

RULE 42 : SHOP FOR QUALITY, NOT PRICE

Quote :

“I have to admit my wife taught me this one, for which I am eternally in her debt. To me it seemed a natural thing to shop for price. Perhaps this is what chaps do. I would work out for what I wanted and go and buy the cheapest items I could and feel really pleased with myself for saving money. And then I was always dissatisfied with what I had. Stuff broke and didn’t work or wore out quickly or looked shoddy after a very short time. I was living in a mess- and a cheap one at that. What I needed to learn was the art of quality shopping.

Basically :

– accept only the very best – second best is not for you, ever
– if you can’t afford it, don’t buy it or wait and save until you can
– if you have to have it, buy the very best you can afford

There, that’s pretty easy isn’t it? Well, for me it wasn’t as easy as that. It took me a while to get to grips with this one. It isn’t that I don’t – or didn’t then – admire quality or appreciate excellence; it was that I was impulsive. I thought I needed something, I wanted it right then and there. And if I couldn’t afford the best, I would settle for the cheapest. In fact, in a very English sort of way, I thought that “getting a bargain” was what it is all about. We don’t like to talk about money and we don’t like to brag about how much something cost, too tacky by far – better to buy tacky in the first place. I think not.

Going for quality doesn’t mean we’re stuck up or a load of toffs or living beyond our means – if you can’t afford it, don’t buy it. Going for quality means you appreciate the finer things, can see the sense in buying well-made, well-produced things as they will :

– last longer
– be stronger
– not break so easily

And this means that they will not need to be replaced so often, which means you may actually be saving money. They will also make you look and feel better.

Now that I’ve latched on to this Rule I really enjoy that anticipation before I buy something. I make sure that it is the quality I am going for and not just the price. I shop around for a bargain though – it’s just now I look for quality items but I’m prepared to find them at the lowest price.”

Unquote

Do you agree with the author ? First of all, I think there’s such a thing as value for the price. Since most of us don’t have the capability to buy the best , top quality product all the time, we must make a fair assessment of how much we can spend for a product and its expected value to us. We must look at the anticipated life of the product and say yes , I am willing to spend and change this thing if it breaks in two years or say no, I’m buying something else, even if it is three times more expensive as long as it lasts for 10 years. I can buy a 25 dollar DVD player in my kid’s room and frankly, I don’t care if it breaks in 2 years. If it lasts for 5 years, it a bonus. Just like the author, my wife is also a proponent of quality. The sad fact however is she’s deciding while I’m paying! When we wanted to change our garage door, she selected the thermal model which I thought was pretty pricey. In the end, I realized it was a quite a smart buy.

I definitely agree with the author that the name of the game is finding the lowest price for a quality product. However, in the field of consumer electronics , I could disagree that famous names always last longer. I have a rarely heard Emerson VCR player that is still in my cabinet after all my SONY VCR’s had found their graveyard at the recycling depot. The unit never needed any external rewinder; heck, my kids used to rewind and forward tapes like crazy using the tape unit’s remote. It’s still around albeit used seldom in view of the DVD fad. Never known as a top of the line brand but a true workhorse indeed.

I also believe that there are things we can’t compromise with quality, stuff that we can’t afford to break down because they will make our lives miserable like the home appliances – washing machine, dyer, fridge and stove. There are appliance name brands that are rock solid – industrial strength names that are time tested. I will only go for those, never new entry names and I don’t care what the consumer review report says about them. When I go out on a steelhead or salmon fishing in the shallow streams, I go out with the very best rod and reel combination my money can buy. I see guys hooking a 15 lb salmon only to lose it because the cheap reel breaks (and literally disintegrates) when the salmon runs and jumps like crazy when hooked. Since fishing is my passion , the worst thing that could happen to me would be to pack up and go home in the middle of the trip because my damn reel broke. That’s like interrupted sex for me. LOL..

My slight twist to this rule is , if I demand performance, I’d definitely go for quality.

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16 Responses

  1. you really missed home. hehe.

    i agree with your post. when you buy, you should look for quality. somtimes, the branded stuff are the ones who are strong. they are worth the every centavo you paid.

  2. Quality for clothes is still very much up in the air. No one seems to know authentic from fake anymore.

  3. Is it any wonder why some people, especially those who can afford it, go for Mercedes Benzes or any German marque like BMW and Audi rather than Toyotas or Mitsubishis? 🙂

  4. Tin – yep i missed home because it’s hard to be holed up in the hotel room for for days. The comfort of home is more relaxing I guess. More room to bum around the house and relax:)

    True, price more often than not dictates quality, but you have to be smart sometimes becuase if a pricey stuff breaks down earlier than expected, you become frustrated.

  5. Natwho – very true indeed for clothes. Our measure of quality is the price but we are not certain if it is authentic. The public is exposed to big time deception.

  6. Sngl – we can talk about quality and reliability the whole day when it comes to cars! Incidentally, the most reliable car in Canada is a 1-2 finish by Toyota , the Corolla and Camry. Now we can argue if reliability and quality are synonymous!

    They have a new stat for new cars which is the no of call backs per 100 vehicle and unbelieveably, Hyundai is becoming a serious contender. Majority of top honors in every car category is taken by Japanese cars.

    The other thing I can say is, BMW and MB’s are pricey but their low end products are quite affordable here. What kills is the insurance coverage. Insurance companies also consider factors such as theft, parts replacement cost, collision performance, safety rating. In some cases, your monthly insurance can be as much as our amortization, depending on the car you bought.

  7. BW-I heard that korean made cars are catching up in quality with its japanese counterpart. well, i’m driving still my ’90 dodge shadow (k-car) and for 16 years, this car is on par with the best when it comes to maintenance free, only now the floor pan was corrroded you can see the road thru the holes and a fews pieces of sheet metal fix the problem. agree with you quality don’t always equate with pricey, but a consumer need a little research to assure a product quality. mine, I usually go for quality and the makers’ reputation for honoring their warranty.. thanks.

  8. Yeah, I read about Hyundai’s recent inclusion the list of reliable vehicles in North america. The Koreans have gone a long way it seems…

  9. Vic – you really took care of your car to make it last 16 years with all the snow and salt on the road. There are many consumer reports available but sometimes you have to be cautious. I agree that you have to protect yourself with warranty. The lease option also allows you to return the car to the dealer after a few years if you’re not happy.

  10. Sngl – suprisingly the Hyundai Tucson got the least recall problems for the small SUV category. The latest review I read says that the new look Hyundai Santa Fe 2007 SUV is quite a dandy and very much improved. The reviewer said he found it much quieter than the Toyota Highlander and the Volvo XC90 SUV which is quite unbelievable considering the price difference. American and European cars seem to have to play a lot of catch up with Japanese cars in terms of reliability. THe Koreans are definitely catching up.

  11. Most of the time, I go for quality. My shoes, for instance, are a bit pricey but they are still reliable and in good form after all these years of constant use. Lately though I got upset with my A/C unit. I set off to buy only the best and ended up getting something defective.

  12. Abaniko – long lasting shoes are a must with the rainy weather we have out there. Yes, sometimes we get a lemon product and that’s really frustrating. A friend of mine leased a car that lost its dashboard lights and meter power a couple of times but was fixed by warranty. He decided to buy the car after the lease period and the trouble reappeared and he was charged an arm and a leg for the computer chip replacement. very frustrating.

  13. I totally agree with this post. Like Abaniko, my husband’s shoes are quite expensive but they last for years and he wears them everyday. And when he buys a new one, he buys exactly the same brand and style. Buying for quality also avoids having a lot of clutter at home.

    Here in Cambodia, we don’t have much choice for shopping for anything. We just have to buy what’s available. 😦

    Oh, pasabat sa discussion n’yo ni Sngl… We’ve got a Hyundai Tucson. Excellent! We love it!

  14. Because of the winter here, we got two sets of shoes. If you buy a carton-type shoe, you’d be freezing your feet to death 🙂 Hey, congrats with the Hyundai Tucson !

  15. I agree with the author: “if you have to have it, buy the very best you can afford.” That’s what I also do. I usually look at the quality first but of course it has to be also within my means.

  16. Absolutely.. buy the best of the money that you have in your pocket. If it breaks early, you’d end up spending more.

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