Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Does it Matter?

I can be a total enigma, even to myself.

There are times where I will get the cheapest possible options. I look at a shirt in Target, see that it's $19.99, and determine it's too expensive for me and to wait for clearance. I can't fathom spending triple digits on a haircut and so I'll go to the walk in place with a coupon.

But then, the best shoes I own right now are my Tieks ballet flats, and I just switched from using $2 Suave to an $84 hair system from Monat. There's no mistaking that there's quality in both.

I'm a brand snob when it comes to certain things at the grocery or big box store. Detergent. Crayons. Ketchup. But there are also times when there's no way I'm paying double the price for the logo.

Basically, I don't have a hard line in the sand. I'll go cheap until I'm convinced otherwise, but once I'm convinced, I have a hard time going back.

Then, recently, something got me thinking about these choices.

I went to get an oil change. When I first got my car, I faithfully got all my service done at the dealership. Then, as the car got older and I had kids, I started having a hard time making the appointments in advance and driving a half hour away. My father-in-law sold me the car, and while he worked there, he helped me out by making the appointments. Then he retired, the car was out of warranty, and it just didn't seem worth it. So I started going to a place in town, and then, when I realized I wasn't great at making appointments there either, to quick change places where I could drive in and out.

I actually liked the last place I'd been going. It was cheap. There was a loyalty program. I got the car washed and vacuumed, and I was in and out in less than thirty minutes. We'd chat, just the usual stuff. Yup, back again, my car was old, and the guy knew it leaked oil and I'm hoping to replace it. Totally worth it the cheap price.

Then, last time, I brought the car, the oil change was uneventful, I drove to Target, came back...and the car wouldn't idle. Every time I braked, it stalled. This was particularly fun when I was driving down busy down roads with lots of traffic lights. I'd come to a red light, I'd stall. I'd turn the car off, start when the light turned again, and drive, but it was unbelievably stressful. I started and restarted and panicked all the way back to the garage. I mean, the car ran fine, I had the oil changed, and now it was stalling? That could NOT be a coincidence.

And then I learned the downside of a cheap place. The guy sort of threw his hands up, said "probably time to get that new car", and then said "at least it starts again". The one thing he was certain of is that it had absolutely nothing to do with the oil change. Totally coincidental and not his fault. That part, he was sure of. As for why the car was stalling, he had no idea.

So, yeah. Not so much with the customer service. Not so much with a satisfaction guarantee.

I'll save the details for another day (including why friends you can count on are amazing), but it's safe to say I'll be forking over a few extra dollars to give my car a bit more TLC at the end of its life.

Sometimes, it matters. And when it matters, it's worth it.

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