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While out to lunch with a group of lady friends the other week, we got to talking about restaurants. One friend made the comment that she likes going to a certain place because “the food is decent.” Likewise, “decent” was later used in a favorable way to describe the service where we were.

This bothers me. While I didn’t agree that the certain place mentioned earlier was actually a favorable place to go, I would have also used the phrase “decent” to describe the food. My description, however, would have been more literal: adequate. It’s edible, and okay, but that’s about as far as I would go.

And maybe I’m a bit picky, but if I am going to spend the money on dining out, I am not going someplace where the food and service are “decent.” I am going to go somewhere where the food is “excellent” and the service is “great.” This doesn’t necessarily come with inflated dollar signs. This just means that I won’t settle for mediocrity and perhaps go out less often. The bargain-basement breakfast bistro down the road gets my business practically every other weekend, and I’m only spending $3.95 for a killer breakfast with wonderful service!

But I find that this habit sneaks in to other areas of my life, too. Clothing, for example.  I generally avoid the trendy stores that may have fashionable, yet cheaply made, articles. Instead, I gravitate to buying clothes less frequently, but from stores in which the quality is noticeably better. Why spend $80 on a trendy spring trench coat from the discount store, having to sew buttons back on only a few weeks later or repair a seam, when you can wait a few more months, buy a $250 trench coat marked down to $140 on sale from a higher-end retailer, and have it long enough to pass on to your own daughter when she gets there? I have a couple of items from my mom that are likely 30+ years old, but still look as fantastic as the day she purchased them.

And purses. Same thing goes. Why spend $20 at a purse party for the knock-off that will begin to get threadbare in a few months and the leather with actually peel? I think I would rather wait (years!) until I could buy a real one that will hold up for the next generation.

Have you ever purchased a “cheap” appliance and had it break after only a few uses? Did you wish you spent a little more money and got the better item? I guess the definition of “value” is for each person to determine. For me, value is in quality. But, I am not every shopper. The discount stores exist for a reason, and the cheap articles of clothing are sold in volume. And, from a marketing perspective it makes sense: the sooner you use something up, the sooner you have to replace it! It’s a profit-making venture!

My theory runs along the lines that if I am going to spend money, it’s going to be worth it. But don’t get me wrong: as I’ve mentioned before, very rarely do I ever pay full price! Part of my value is knowing how to get the best deals… everywhere! And, my routine shopping for regular items is always done at the big-box supermarket with plenty of coupons! Happy shopping!

~M

Retro re-post of the day: Women get better with age

3.6.2010. Good morning!

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2 thoughts on “Decent vs. Worth It (or, Value Defined)

  1. I don’t go shopping often, I don’t enjoy the process. I go when I need something for an event of once in a blue moon when I’m having a horrid day and retail therapy actually seems to help.

    Because I don’t shop often, I tend to buy something that cost a little more because it’s going to last me longer than the trendy cheap stuff. Quality over quantity. I’d rather drop the dollars to have something that’ll last me for years and years.

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