One of the cliches in life that is actually quite true. Of course, if you only need something for a short period of time, there's no need to buy the best. However, if you want something to give you pleasure for the long haul, do your research and buy the best you can for the money.

Example: Cars . . . . A Yugo will get you there for six months before it breaks. Hondas, for only half again as much, will last forever.

"I would like to purchase one of your egg-shaped porcelain clown heads."

Admit it. You've been thinking about those egg-shaped porcelain clown heads for weeks. You tucked away a portion of your hard-earned salary each payday, earmarking it for the clown head fund. The day you dreamed of is finally here. With a wad of cash in hand, you walk up to the counter at Enrico's Curiosity Shoppe and make your demands.

Your interest drove you to research these products and learn that they are handmade by an emotionally disturbed elderly woman from Portland, Oregon. That made them all the more fascinating to you. Each one is different.

As Enrico's young, college-age employee walks over to the display case, you consider the personal tastes that make you different from every other collector of egg-shaped porcelain clown heads. In your opinion, too much color makes the heads look too busy, but other collectors like them that way. They are supposed to be clowns, yes, but you don't want something that is going to blind you first thing in the morning, especially before you've had your morning coffee. You know what you want. The clown head you purchase will make a statement. You like frowning clowns, and the emotional disturbed creator of these heads painted most of them with either frowns or scowls. There are some with smiles, but those smiles are most unsettling. They are the smiles of a clown who is constantly thinking "I am going to kill you and put your brain in a microwave for ten minutes, sprinkle it with supple raisins and eat it like a bowl of warm oatmeal."

And so, frowny clown it is. There are several to choose from, including one who appears to be crying. There are no tears to be seen, but you can feel them running across his painted cheeks. There is so much pain with this egg-shaped clown head and you cannot look away. This is the one you must have, although you find it more disturbing than any of the others, even the grinning death clowns. You point, the employee pulls, and the head is wrapped in tissue paper and placed in a special purple and pink gift box. You tell the employee of the curiosity shop that this is not a gift. He laughs and tells you:

"When you buy something like this, it is a gift for yourself."

You return home to your lonely cottage. Yes, you were married once, but your spouse left you for a younger lover and took the kids because the new lover had a $70,000 BWM and a house with three bathrooms. You didn't mind in the end. It felt like the new lover purchased your spouse and you could not afford to enter into the bidding. The empty spaces will be filled by your new egg-shaped porcelain clown head.

You carefully unwrap the clown head and place it on the mantle. The space has been cleared and made just right for the egg-shaped wonder. You have been planning this for many weeks. There is even a special viewing chair arranged so that you may gaze upon your purchase for hours and reflect on its meaning in your life. It is yours now. You have purchased the head and you are its owner. Pride beams from every corner of your mind, body and soul. The clown's tears feel even more real now that you are alone with the head. You stare into its sad eyes and nod at the porcelain clown head. It understands your pain. There is no longer apathy in this house. There is a mutual understanding. You got what you paid for. You paid for an egg-shaped porcelain clown head.

You get what you pay for, indeed!

This reminds me of a story I once heard that goes something like this...

There was a woman who owned a shop -- a one stop shop -- for all your tourist needs. You could buy pink coyotes and large wooden cacti. You could also buy turquoise jewelry. In fact, the woman who owned the shop had a little supply of jewelry she wanted to sell, but alas no matter what she did to try and bring attention to it, buyers expressed little interest. "Well" she thought "I suppose I'll have to mark it down if I want it to sell." That evening she was going out of town for a few days and left the following note for her assistant:

All turquoise jewelry x 1/2

A few days later the woman returned to discover that all of the jewelry had sold! "Well" she thought "That worked better than I expected." But something else was amiss in the store that morning...

The woman's assistant came into the store. "Wow, doubling the price of that turquoise jewelry really made it fly off the shelf!"

The assistant had inadvertently read the 1/2 as a 2 and doubled the price of the jewelry. But what is the meaning of this? You get what you pay for... or so people may think. Expensive = Good... or so people may think. But, alas, this shows that people do not think nearly so much as they should. Is this jewelry valuable? Is it more valuable since the price went up? Who cares!

You get what you pay for, expensive is good.

Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion - Robert Cialdini

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