Monday, June 17, 2013

Minding the Gap

Photo via Earth PM
It would be nice to only ever buy items that are high quality. In the long run, it might mean saving money, because these items would last longer. It would mean supporting companies that only produce quality items, and not supporting companies that are reproducing a style at low quality and low cost. It would mean being responsible for helping sustain only great companies.

Unfortunately, this simply isn’t possible for most people. Most people are only able to be responsible towards their budgets if they buy both expensive good quality, and inexpensive low quality. There are some options where great quality and a low price are found in the same item, like the L.L. Bean tote, which is made in Maine. But not everything one needs is always available in such a perfect unity of quality and price.

So what is one to do? Choose between being a responsible consumer or responsible to one's budget?

I think it’s possible to be responsible toward each goal with a combination of low and high end purchasing habits, taking the best care possible of everything purchased, avoiding the temptation to keep up with the Joneses, and most importantly, never buying an expensive item that is not well made.

Paying a high price point for an item that becomes useless quickly is easy to do, and the least sustainable choice for both one’s budget, and for helping dictate future products made by that company. By simply paying attention the gap between the price and the quality, and always aiming to purchase items that have the smallest gap possible, we are able to be responsible as consumers and to our budgets.

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-Kurt Vonnegut