Friday, October 26, 2007

Shopping with Dan

When we first got married, I was really reluctant to spend money; I pinched pennies pretty tightly. Dan, on the other hand, had the philosophy (as did my Dad, I might mention) that it's better to spend a little more and get better quality. Dan usually convinced me, and in the end, I admit, I was happy to have the better quality item.

This little game still goes on, although I'm, perhaps, a little easier to convince now. Dan's argument hasn't really changed, though. It goes something like this . . .

Let's say we are in the market for a new thingamajig. I go to Target, to do the preliminary shopping, and find three thingamajigs that have the features that I want. One is $30, one is $40, and the third is $50. My preference is almost always the middle-priced one. So then it's time to take Dan to see my three finalists. He looks at them -- spending no time at all on the $30 one. He doesn't say much as he looks over candidates #2 and #3, but pretty soon I find him looking at one that's priced at $60, and not even on my list. "Look," he says, "I like this design better; it's mechanically simpler, with less to go wrong. And that $50 one is made with plastic parts, whereas this one has stainless steel. " (Or something like that.)

"Well," I say, "That's a lot of money. I didn't plan on spending $60!"

And this is where Dan will inevitably say, "Think about it this way. The other one was $50, and you were planning to spend that much," (you notice he's only comparing his choice to my most expensive option) "so you're getting this better made model for only $10. You had to pay the $50 anyway!"

Now, you and I - and Dan, I'm sure - know that the thingamajig really does cost $60, not $10. But by his logic, I'm getting all this quality for $10. And, typically, we walk out of Target with the $60 model. And, in the end, I'm happy to have the nicer thingamajig.

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