You Get What You Pay, and Pay, and Pay For
©2012 by Pat Wray
“You get what you pay for, so buy the best you can afford.”
It’s great advice but I can remember many times when the best I could afford simply wasn’t very good. Unfortunately, my marginal financial situation usually didn’t keep me from buying. As a result I ended up with things that didn’t work properly, broke, or simply wore out too early. I was the target demographic for the people who brought us planned obsolescence.
I bought a pair of waders once that didn’t even last one season. The boots pulled loose of the legs as I was slogging through a muddy bog. I sure saved money on them…until I had to buy another pair.
I did the same thing with fishing rods. There were always cheap ones on sale that worked just fine…until I tried to use them. They had the feel of a broomstick but didn’t cast quite as well. I finally saved up and bought a wonderful spinning rod. It would have lasted a lifetime…if I hadn’t leaned it inside a car door just before the wind picked up. For just a short time, the concept of buying cheap things you are not afraid to lose didn’t seem quite so foolish.
Rain gear was my next big mistake. The description sounded great and the price was an absolute steal, but wearing it was like carrying around my own personal sauna; it should have been marketed to wrestlers trying to make weight. After a few days of use, the material became dry and crinkly. I sounded like a large piece of newsprint being crunched up as fire starter. It’s not easy for fire starters to sneak up on critters. Unfortunately, but unsurprisingly, a crinkly rain suit is usually not a waterproof rain suit.
My biggest outdoor purchase mistake was a shotgun. An inexpensive 20-gauge pump when it was made, it was hard used when I bought it from my barber. What can I say? He had a great sales pitch; he also had a razor very close to my throat. The main reason for my purchase, if you don’t count the razor, was the simple presence of an extra $50 in my pocket. Ever since, my wife has gone to great lengths to make sure I have adequate spending money for a candy bar…but no more.
I walked out of his shop with a great haircut and a piece of junk shotgun. Not only was it undependable in feeding and firing, but because the stock was too long for my arms it ruined my shooting for three years. Luckily I was able to sell it to some sucker I met at a boat launch. It hardly cost me anything to convince him to take it.
As time went on our financial situation became a bit more stable. It helped that my wife and I were promoted and got paid a little more but our biggest raise occurred when the human garbage disposal we called a son moved out of the house. I bought a nice drift boat with the money we saved just on milk he drank.
As we became more solvent I became more selective about the things I bought. I was no longer scrounging for the least expensive items; now I could hold out for high quality gear…though I still tried to find it on sale.
I bought lightweight aluminum poles for the wall tent instead of the less expensive steel. I bought very nice boots and didn’t even feel bad. But my transition toward quality went too far recently when I started shopping for a meat grinder. The small one just didn’t seem adequate. It would take too long to make hamburger of the deer and elk I intend to kill this year. I mean, if you can’t handle 300 pounds of meat an hour it’s hardly worth having a grinder at all. And the homeowner style had plastic gears. I hate plastic gears.
It should be noted that I did not purchase a commercial grinder. Not truly commercial. But it will not wear out in my lifetime…or my grandchildren’s. Which is good, because they may have to finish paying for it.