Who doesn’t love a ‘good deal’? There’s something innately satisfying about getting something at a price that you didn’t expect to pay. Slowly, though, our understanding of what makes something a ‘good deal’ is changing, as we become more and more aware that a ‘good deal’ doesn’t always (and very seldom) means ‘good value’.
The poor man pays twice…
In the age of mass production, ‘cheap’ products are everywhere – but now more than ever, we understand the unspoken costs that can be associated with buying something at a low price: was it made sustainably? Will it last a long time? Was it made in safe and fair working conditions? Is this something I would feel proud and happy to own; in short – do I like the story behind the thing I’m buying – and can I be sure that no-one (or nothing) else has paid a price for me owning it?
Mass production – and consumption – has led to many cheap goods performing poorly against this scorecard, with very low prices often acting as a signal for low quality. But that doesn’t necessarily mean that the opposite is true.
…while others overpay
Expensive products often just have large mark-ups, and don’t really warrant their exorbitant price tags. Many companies charge huge premiums for their name alone, even if the product itself doesn’t fulfil the things that we’d expect.
As the possibility that ‘both cheap and expensive products can be bad value’ has more of an impact on our buying habits, consumers and companies alike are assigning more importance to where and how a product is made.
And this is driving a collective shift towards a different understanding of what value actually means.
The great value shift: why we don’t judge books by their covers (or their names)
Before, the ‘value’ of products was limited to the cost of the product plus the ‘brand value’ of the company that was selling it. Today, factors such as origin, transparency, sustainability, customer experience and longevity have a much higher priority than just price and brand name. So much so, that many brands are now building these concepts into their image in order to stay relevant in the modern market.
A cheap product doesn’t necessarily reflect a good deal, nor does an expensive product necessarily mean it’s good quality. Because of this, ‘good value’ takes on a new, more dynamic dimension. In short, we want affordable quality.
Want better, not more
It’s obvious why we shouldn’t buy ‘bad value’ items. But the benefits of buying something that’s truly good value are evident over time (you know, like an investment).
By investing in quality, you’re buying a little bit of pleasure that you can experience every day. The experience of feeling and using natural materials. The enjoyment you get when you use something that works exactly the way it should. That has been made with time-proven craftsmanship and thoughtful design.
It’s these very pieces that make the memories we cherish (your favourite blanket as a kid), and that we hand down to be appreciated and loved by others (your grandmother’s best china). Our lives aren’t made with disposable objects. Stories aren’t made with ‘good deals’. Affordability means investing in things that last forever – and that’s something that we can definitely buy into.