When you talk about buying things what comes to your mind first? the cost or the quality?.
When it comes to buying things, many people probably start with a budget in mind, even when they do not specifically set a budget, there is a particular cost they are mentally willing to spend for the product, a lot of this is dictated by their affordability. There are a class of people for whom affordability is so high that the budget really does not matter. As I cannot understand their mindset, nor I have dealt in such a situation let us leave that class of people out of discussion for this post. Assuming that we have set an actual budget in numbers, or have a fair idea about what we are willing to spend, what usually proceeds is our look at the choices available.
We run various filters in our mind to narrow down our choices. some look at the appearance, some look at the brands, some look at cost. However one thing which everyone consciously or unconsciously is looking for is quality. There are many characteristics of the product which contributes to its quality. Durability, finishing, taste, richness in color, aroma, the look and feel, the texture, origin, handmade/machine made, the raw materials used, thread count, and so on. There are so many characteristics which are appreciated in products, and give a better experience of the product in question.
Many people have this notion, higher the cost better the quality. Few have the notion that, higher the cost higher the chances of us being duped in the name of quality. I for a big part of my life have been in the latter bracket. I have always eyed the products with suspicion when the same is available for a much lesser cost. In my case, I think most of it can be attributed to the fact, that for most part of my early adulthood I had a very low affordability. It could have been a case of fox and the sour grapes.
As my affordability improved, which coincided with my interaction with a set of people who grew in a different economic background, and valued quality a lot more. I slowly began to realize the significance of quality in the experience provided by a product. I began to see the perspective of people who were willing to pay for such enhanced experience. As I began to experience quality, I understood the idea of relishing it. What did not change though, is my willingness to spend for it.
Strangely when my affordablity grew, instead of seeking more of quality, I began to seek more of quantity. Instead of that fine cotton Park Avenue, I would end up buying three in house brands online, which I thought had better quality. I know the quality does not match the top brands, but I enjoyed having 3 numbers of quality I am used to. The satisfying experience of quality, was now felt via the happy feeling from abundance. I think again this has to do with the feeling of “not having enough” of many things growing up. A big drawback of minimalism not by choice, is a sort of unknown love towards maximalism. I am not a hoarder, but just the joy of buying in numbers more than what we actually need is satisfying. I would rather eat in inexpensive restaurants which I am used to, 5 times a month, than go to a high quality restaurant once that month. I know that restaurant uses best of the raw materials, the taste is exquisite, the ambiance is mind blowing, just the whole eating experience is much better than the joints I like to frequent. However I find it more satisfying to eat 5 times in a normal restaurant which I frequent. Your mind wants, what it wants right?.
I have moved from lack of respect for the quality, to a level where I understand its significance. I know what it feels like, but still quantity triumphs quality in my mind.
I guess few of our values never change, for good or for bad.