You’re in it for the long term. We all are!

When it comes to getting best value, those with money to spend tend to be the ones who get it. It is certainly not all with money to spend, there are the fools, however the people who can plan their spending, make educated decisions on spending are the ones who do best. For example, if you were going to buy something and you wanted it to last then durability is a feature you’re looking for. If you want features, then knowing what’s available, what works, and why you want it are critical.

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So what’s it take to make the right decisions about what to buy? Knowledge! If you know about the products you're buying, what the best and worst is and the difference between the two, then you have the information upon which to base value. Then to know what you’re buying is to achieve. Why do you want it? It is amazing how often I run into people who have vague notions of the why. ‘Because that’s what we do’ is an answer I hear from rookie buyers (hopefully rookie buyers). They don’t know and will have to learn.

Then of course there is price. Is the lowest price the best, does paying more get better value? What are the other considerations you may want to use when buying? I remember when big box stores and on-line sales were just starting out. There was a great electronics store called Bleekers. Walking into that store was walking into an encyclopaedia on music and TV equipment. Ask any question and the staff knew the answer. They were selling the best and if it was not the best it was made clear why, and all with the knowledge that they simply didn’t carry crap!

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So with the new and improved ways, people went for the knowledge and walked out, and with that the knowledgable people went out of business. The extra that one might pay for knowing quickly and efficiently was gone. So did we do ourselves a favour? I would argue not. It is confusing entering the world of buying when there are thousands of products, and as many sources of information. It takes real time. Now if you have lots of time and less money, that is an alternative however I prefer when I can buy quality and have someone looking me in the eye saying that they know and are offering the best.

Establishing a relationship ensures that the person is not working on this sale with you, they’re working on the next. This has to be based on trust and a belief in not only the vendor but the buyer as well. Pretty simple but not obvious! If we are to eliminate people from the equation, buying is quickly done on-line and only the people with time and smarts are going to make the best decisions, then we better think about a lot more then the price. Times are changing and while we can get lots of stuff quickly and easily, the costs seem to be accumulating behind the scene. It is like climate change with a 20 year lag. We won’t see the effects of what we do or don’t do for the environment for 20 years after we do it. When there are only a couple of giant on line retailers left, you won’t have choice and your ancestors quest for value will have left you without a meaningful choice!

Best value is to buy durable quality to suit your needs; something that can be used and reused, even upgraded, and eventually can be recycled. Don’t be afraid to pay a little extra. Cheap is good for the short term but you’re in it for the long term – we all are!

Jamie Brougham