I believe there is truth in the adage, you get what you pay for, but now I have evidence that it may not always be true.
I know it’s the exception rather than the rule but I feel I struck a real bargain. I don’t want to be too specific about the whereabouts of my bargain purchase, or I might start a modern-day gold rush.
All I will tell you is that I bought it in the supermarket at Waipawa, Central Hawke’s Bay. I’m not revealing which aisle.
The product was shaving foam [but I’m still not telling you which aisle] and the brand was Value. Now, normally that brand name would ring alarm bells but in this case it was a winner.
I knew I needed shaving foam and it was easier to take advantage of the parking right outside the store in a town I was driving through rather than driving home and searching for a park in a bigger, more typical supermarket.
There were, from memory, four brands of shaving foam on offer. I can’t remember the exact prices as this was some time ago and the longevity of the product has caused the passage of time to cloud over it all.
But for the purposes of my story, these figures will do the job and I can assure you they will be very close to the actual prices. They were something like $12.99, $11.99, $9.99 and … no, I won’t tell you yet. I’ll create suspense.
Oh, all right, it was $2.49. The huge price difference and the brand name made the old adage ring clear in my head. I did more mental debating than I would normally do in a cosmetics/toiletries aisle [oops!].
The most expensive option might have carried the name of an international sports superstar or similar and that would help explain the price. I was tempted to steer a middle course so I wouldn’t look too miserly but in the end, I decided to gamble and go with the $2.49 one.
It has turned out to be one of the best purchases of my life. It must be coming up to a year old now and it still provides me with lashings of creamy foam every time. And the weight doesn’t appear to have diminished. There could be another year
– even years – of foam to come.
It reminds me of a book [a Dr Seuss book, I think] that I had in childhood. A character wore a hat but every time he removed it there was another one in its place. It was the only case of non-stop millinery I remember reading about in a book. Perhaps my shaving foam was created by Dr Seuss.
The opposite can happen, of course.
Some years ago in another country, I paid top dollar for a brand new car. The list of faults/problems was as constantly-growing as the storybook hats. Things didn’t work or, if they did, they eventually fell off. I kept a running list of the issues and when it all became too much, I took my list on a flight to the city where the car was manufactured.
I took a taxi to the HQ and asked to see the most important person in the building. I was told he wasn’t available so I said I would wait. And wait I did. Resolutely.
Eventually, he gave in and saw me and, though he wouldn’t offer a refund, he reluctantly offered a new replacement vehicle. If the original car still exists, the list of issues could still be growing.
At today’s prices that car might be a high five figures. That’s for endless troubles.
For $2.49 I bought seemingly endless, trouble-free shaving foam.
- Wyn Drabble is a teacher of English, a writer, musician and public speaker.