Friday, May 30, 2014

Do You Really Get What You Pay For?

Ever heard the expression you get what you pay for? It’s a common expression to warn people to beware of cheap, shoddy goods. A recent article I read about shopping at dollar stores advised people what was good to get at the store or not so great. Truth is you only spent a dollar do you expect it to last the rest of your life?

When does it not pay to lay down the big bucks? Usually on big ticket items or services. Let me explain, often companies have figured out splashy ads or boasting they’re the favorite of customers will get people to buy assuming costlier is better. Remember they have to pay for their ads and do not have to offer any proof of being customer’s favorites.

Twenty years ago, I wanted the house painted. Several people came and gave us estimates. Two brothers who had painted several houses in the neighborhood gave us a modest estimate. My ex-husband reasoned we should go with the expensive one because it had to be the best. After all, the company had a brand new shiny van with their company name across it, and the guy who gave us the estimate arrived in a suit and tie. It ended up being a horror story. For three thousand dollars, we had our house trashed for an entire week while two inept painters listened to loud music and took lengthy smoke and lunch breaks. In the end, they painted the living room and hall the wrong color.

The smart thing would have been to go with the brothers who did work I could actually see and had the ability to talk to previous customers. Word of mouth is usually your most reliable reference. Keep in mind, some companies require their employees to write up good references.

Another item that cost more than it is worth is special order items. It is more of the cachet of having something made especially for you. Keep in mind, you will never get a special order on sale and probably won’t get what you want anyhow. If you walk into a store, you can handle the merchandise even try it out, to see if it is what you want. When you special order something, you wait forever for a needed and desired item and receive something that is similar to what you ordered, but never exactly, what you did order.

The company will often insist it is what you ordered or offer to replace it while keeping your money while you wait a couple more months. The best example of this is customized computers. This has happened to me more than once. You might has well go into an electronics store and pick out one that has the most features you want. It will be easier and cheaper than waiting for one that isn’t quite what you wanted.

Many companies will not refund your money because it was a specialty item and they can’t sell it to anyone else. This is untrue, but is the usual excuse.

Any special order item is an inconvenience to the seller. It is also a green light to jack up the price. People special order cars, bridal and formal wear, even furniture. If price doesn’t matter go ahead and special order it. I used to work in a furniture warehouse, when a special order came in the employees would walk through acres of furniture to find the most similar item. Often it would look exactly like the desired item, but without the requested cushioning or finish. In the end, the customer never knew because they assumed it was what they ordered. Consider that the next time you want something made specifically for you.

You’ll have to pay up front. Often there will be a no return policy too. Once you have your not exactly right expensive item, you’ll stuck with it.This is a case of not getting what you paid for.