The Quality Trap – Items Where Quality Is Over-Rated


If I were to ask the average person what makes a Lexus better than a Kia, an outfit from Nordstrom better than one from WalMart or a Coach purse better than a Canyon River Blues one, the most common response I would probably get is “quality.” Now I’ve always been one to try to spend the minimal amount possible on the items I buy. If I can get a shirt for $2.99, I get excited. Friends of mine who spend more on the same item often justify it because their item is higher quality.

I can understand the draw of wanting an item that will last a while and hold up through wear and tear – nobody likes it when their stuff breaks. But at what cost is this “quality&#


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4 Responses to The Quality Trap – Items Where Quality Is Over-Rated

  1. Traciatim says:

    For every item I find there is always a curve of quality and price. Finding it takes some time. For shirts I find 3-5 dollar shirts fall apart and fade and just don’t “feel right”. I usually spend 15-25 on a shirt. I’ve noticed a huge difference between a 3 dollar shirt and a 15 dollar one, but not so huge from a 15 dollar one and a 50 dollar one.

    For cars, I like big comfy cars. I needed to find a cheaper nice mix so I got myself a 2 year old Ford Taurus . . . it’s got 200HP, lots of room, and super comfy seats. It’s just the right size for parking, but big enough to drive across the country in. I guess everyones choice here will be different, but I can’t stand most seats in cars.

    I do buy a tea once in a while, but mostly these days I steep it at home and bring it in a travel mug. My GF spends lots of money on specialty coffee at a local place here. There is a Starbucks here but their coffee tastes like garbage. Kind of like US Beer, I guess US coffee just isn’t good (Canadian here).

    Electronics I wait for sales, buy refurbished gear, and stay just half a step behind. I like top notch stuff, so I just wait until I have the cash. The more you wait, the better the stuff gets and the cheaper. Once you get the urge and see the right deal, you’ll never regret it since you’ve been patient anyway.

    I rarely eat out unless there is no chance of getting home and the family is starving. Then we try to keep it simple. No fancy eating here.

  2. disneysteve says:

    Traciatim wrote: “For every item I find there is always a curve of quality and price.”

    I think that is very true. The cheapest choice is usually cheap for good reason – poor quality. The most expensive option, however, might not be that much better than an in-between choice.

    We alway strive to find the best mix of price and quality. We don’t want stuff that will wear out, fall apart or break too soon, but also feel no need to own the absolute best of everything.

    And sometimes the cheapest option is just fine. Children’s clothing is a perfect example. Why spend anymore than the bare minimum for clothes that my daughter would outgrow within 3 months? We shopped Wal-Mart and Target and clearance racks and thrift shops for most of her clothes when she was younger. The only exception was shoes. Even though we knew she’d outgrow them in no time, we felt the benefits of good support were worth a few extra bucks.

    Now that she is older and not growing so rapidly, we’re willing to spend a bit more on her clothes because she gets more wear out of them and we want them to hold up.

    So how you intend to use an item matters, too. I want a decent car because I drive a lot and keep my cars for the long run. My current car is 10 years old and I have no intention of replacing it anytime soon. But sometimes I need an item that I might use very rarely and quality isn’t such a big concern. I’d rather spend less and get something that will be functional just to serve its purpose.

  3. dan says:

    I think that the author got confused and used the wrong word. What she really means is a “luxury” trap, not a quality trap. Except for possible clothes, it seems she does buy quality, just not luxury – that makes a lot more sense to me.

  4. brian says:

    What a terribly BORING life. I hope you don’t look back in 30 years and count your money all day. There are ways to spend on nice quality items without breaking the bank. You don’t have to have all the latest items but buying them used may be a nice alternative for your lifestyle. Our sole purpose or working is not for retirement.

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