Rant

Posted by Ken Campbell August 24, 2012 0 Comment 963 views
“There is hardly anything in the world that some man cannot make a little worse and sell a little cheaper, and the people who consider price only are this man’s lawful prey.”
John Ruskin

Because I have a retail shop, and because the items I sell are a mixture of new and used, I am often asked why some things cost a lot and others cost a little. I am never asked why a particular product is worth a lot of money, or why the value of one item might exceed that of another.

Wal-Mart has made us a generation of idiots. (Not to pick on Wal-Mart, and there are many other factors, but the shoe does fit.) We have become so focused on the price of whatever it is, that we have completely lost sight of the concept of the value of that same piece of whatever. If we pay a low price, we tell everyone that we got a good deal. Everybody wants to get a good deal, but nobody knows what it looks like. Here’s a clue: it doesn’t have all that much to do with the price.
I have used dry suits for $100. Right next to them, I have new ones for eight times as much. 
The thing is, even though they are both dry suits, they are not the same thing. I mean, nobody goes to the Porsche dealer and complains that the cars on the lot cost more than the ones at the KIA place down the street… everybody gets that. You buy a KIA, you get a KIA. You pay for a Porsche, you get a Porsche. There are reasons things cost what they cost, and the reasons have everything to do with value. 
Take those dry suits, for example. The $100 models will need new gaskets ($75, $150 if they need booties too, and you’ll have to put them on yourself). They might leak – they are used, after all, and I have no way of knowing whether the previous owner punctured them here and there. (Again, you’ll have to find the leaks on your own, by getting wet, and you’ll do the patching part after you dry off.) They are coated nylon, about ten years old – maybe more – so they don’t breathe, which means that although water might not get in, sweat does not get out. 
The other dry suits are new, made in the USA, and they are made out of Goretex, which means they transfer moisture out without letting it in and they have a lifetime warrantee. They won’t leak, the gaskets are new and comfortable and if there is ever a problem, I can call and talk to the person who made them, instead of sending an email to a dead-letter box somewhere in Asia. This is just one example, but the principle applies across the board. Things are priced what they are worth… it’s as simple as that. 
I’ll climb off the soap box now, but I reserve the right to clamber back up there when the next person comes in and wants to know if I can “knock a few hundred dollars off” that Kokatat suit for him. 

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