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Finding Value In Prices

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Simplicity is OK, but you still need to know how to judge value.

Do you know a person who thinks something is worth more or less just because of its price? I’ve run into many people who have this issue.

As consumers, we tend to no longer shop based off of a products quality, or true value, but more off of what the price tag says about the value.

Some of us want a lower number, and I know some people who always want a higher number.  In fact, I’m a firm believer that Black Friday is a prime example of this hoax.  You can read our opinion on Black Friday if you care for a more in-depth rant.

Slight Digression: To further exemplify this point, the same washer and dryer my wife saw in a large store’s Black Friday ad happened to only go up $100 (and has fluctuated as low as only $50.00 over) in price after the sale, and we found it for the exact same “Black Friday Sale” price at another store.

A Wal-Mart Example

Two nights ago, my wife and I were at Wal-Mart looking through the clearance area and I noticed something interesting.  The products had two tags, the standard yellow and white price tags, and the red “clearance tags.”  These tags provided interesting information.

The yellow tag was the price they normally charged, the red tag had both the “normal” price and the “clearance” price.  The problem was the clearance price was the same as the yellow tag’s price and the “normal price” listed on the clearance tag was well above the yellow tag’s price.

Cheap Prices Have a Cost

People generally enjoy low prices, but they come at a cost.  There is definitely a point where a low price will only guarantee one thing, a terrible product.  Go ahead and buy the cheap thumb tacks, but don’t buy the $10.00 electric drill set and expect it to last a lifetime.

Quality aside, you should ask yourself how desperate you would need to be to make that same drill and sell it for $10.00 (assuming you could).  Most people wouldn’t waste the time and effort.  Items like that can only be made with the help of extremely cheap labor, slave labor, or child labor.

High Prices & High Expectations

There is also a point where high prices just aren’t necessary from a functional perspective.  Yes, you can buy a $2,000 purse, but from a functional standpoint it makes no sense.  Some might tout a “lifetime warranty” but when was the last time you pulled a warranty claim on a purse’s manufacturing defect?  Typically defects are realized immediately, to which you go back to the store for an exchange.

I’ve met many people who think that a high price means high quality, dependability, and true value.  Unfortunately, a high price can also mean a lousy product in fancy packaging, or an ordinary product with a high price.

The moral of this prices story

Looking at prices has replaced assessing true value.  People generally don’t want to think about how much something is actually worth, they prefer to put their brain into a “low prices only” or “high prices only” box and that is how they shop.  People should be able to look at a $2,000 purse and say “it’s probably not worth it.”  Yes, there is a lot of rationalization that I’ve heard, but functionally it’s not worth it.

Shopping needs to look beyond prices to find true value.  It’s perfectly fine to set price criteria, but take into account what you are purchasing.  Sometimes, it’s just a better idea to wait and save for the item in order to get a quality item that will last.  Don’t let “now syndrome” dominate your shopping trips.

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