Ok, my apologies to those of you who are over 40 and now have this image in their head, but it was too easy to pass up. A couple of weeks ago I had a good buying experience at Costco. One of my friends commented that the end result was I spent $100 MORE than I had any intention of. Which got me to thinking about what it actually takes to get me to spend money. I am the guy with a 32″ tv that is probably 32″ deep as well. Old tube style and given the option, I have no intention of upgrading. Which probably means I will have some kind of converter box soon. Flip side, I have a 13′ plastic boat with downward looking sonar, sideward looking sonar, color fishfinder with built in GPS, programmable with Navionics for every reef and sunken structure in the world, VHF radio, redundant GPS, and on it goes. I am all set to assault the beaches at Bimini. The mouse to my laptop was $80 at the time because I wanted side scroll but did not want to have to plug something into a USB port. It still remains the only one on the market with this capability. I can obviously be both cheap and extravagant so here is a list of what it takes to get my money:
- Clear, unambiguous saving me money. It also has to be a conclusion I arrive at myself. Don’t try to sell me. I can smell sales tactics like a lion can smell fear-and my response is very similar. As was the example above in the tires, it turned out they were all worn to within about 8-10,000 miles. Or in our case, 6-9 months. Which meant if I only bought two as I had planned, I would be back in a few months. This time paying full retail instead of the 41% discount rate I was getting that day. Which brings me to point 2.
- Safety. Again back to the tires. When it comes to the idea of sending my wife around in marginal tires headed into the rainy season in Florida, not a chance. Also, when paddling a 13′ kayak 3-5 miles out into the Atlantic, or deep into the Everglades, it is best to have systems in place “just in case”.
- Save me hassle. Do it today, be done with it. Another example is oil changes. If I can get my oil changed for less than $20-why wouldn’t I? $2 each for a quart of oil, another $5 for a filter. By the time I get started, get it done, get everything including me cleaned up I lose and hour to an hour and a half of my Saturday. All for less than $5 in savings? Not worth it. The fact that the local quick lube isn’t running those specials anymore and a regular oil change is $35 however, looks like I will be changing it myself.
- Coolness. Ok, there is a gadget side to everybody. Right now I am craving an external hard drive with mirrored terabyte drives. I am not sure why…
- Long term reliability. If I have to buy something anyway, if you can demonstrate that a different model will provide longer life, I am probably going to bite. But you better be iron clad in your argument or you will wind up baking in the Serengeti sun.
- My terms. Where I work is supposed to be slow in the summer. I have been contemplating replacing a server. There is nothing wrong with it. On the contrary, it hasn’t gone down in years. Years. That is the problem. It is six years old and running Windows NT. I pray over it regularly, but I think I am getting close to this. It has some occasional login issues with one of our Vista machines. I would rather go through the process on my terms than scramble trying to get it done while my staff play solitaire because they are dead in the water. But I am still going to wait on this one based on:
- Recommendation. This will go either way. In the case of the server, a friend of mine who is way smarter than I, convinced me that it would be easy if something bad happens so I would be ok to wait. It is still early in the year for me to sink so much of my budget. However, if the same person, who had nothing to gain, said “Dude, if it was me, I would be twitching” There would be a new box in there. So, I have made a contingency plan in case the unfortunate happens to minimize downtime. If you are going to play with risks, you better have done your due diligence.
So, these are just some of criteria for opening up my wallet, or the wallets I am a steward for. It all boils down to Perceived Value and Cost-Benefit. But sometimes the cost benefit ratio still doesn’t work out. There is a software package that I really want and am sure it will make life easier in a lot of ways, but the price is just too far out of reach. Sometimes, no matter how you slice it, the answer still has to be “No”.