“The bitterness of poor quality remains long after the sweetness of low price is forgotten.”

Ben Franklin

Imagine for a moment that you’re strolling through your favorite discount megastore, your cart teetering precariously under the weight of bargain-brand toilet paper and a toaster that was on sale for the price of a fancy coffee. The thrill of the deal courses through your veins like cheap champagne—bubbly, exhilarating, and slightly headache-inducing.

Now fast forward a few weeks. The toilet paper feels like sandpaper, a cruel reminder with every use that you, indeed, got what you paid for. The toaster, with a sense of irony only inanimate objects can possess, refuses to toast. It warms, it chars, but it does not toast. And as you gnaw on your unevenly heated breakfast, you’re struck by a profound realization—a realization so deep and unsettling that it could only come from the depths of a poorly toasted slice of bread.

The realization is this: cheap thrills come with expensive consequences. The allure of a low price tag is a siren song, luring unsuspecting shoppers onto the rocky shores of Regret and Disappointment. And as you sit there, contemplating the existential implications of your toaster’s betrayal, you can’t help but think that perhaps, just perhaps, there’s a lesson to be learned.

This lesson, dear reader, is about value. Not the kind measured in dollars and cents, but the kind that’s woven into the fabric of the things we hold dear. It’s about craftsmanship, durability, and the kind of quality that makes an item not just a purchase, but a companion through the ups and downs of daily life.

But let’s not get too carried away. After all, we’re talking about toasters and toilet paper, not the meaning of life. However, the principle remains the same. Whether it’s appliances, relationships, or the quest for the perfect pair of jeans, the true cost of something isn’t just in the price tag. It’s in the joy it brings, the problems it solves, and the way it stands by you when the going gets tough.

So the next time you’re faced with the tantalizing promise of a bargain, take a moment to consider the long-term relationship you’re about to enter into with that item. Will it be a fleeting romance, full of excitement but ultimately unfulfilling? Or will it be a lasting partnership, built on a foundation of quality and mutual respect?

Choose wisely, for as the ancient shopping adage goes, “You might forget the price, but you’ll always remember the time you spent trapped in an elevator with a malfunctioning vacuum cleaner you bought on clearance.”

And in the end, isn’t life too short for bad toasters and sandpaper toilet paper? Let’s invest in the good stuff—not just in what we buy, but in what we do, who we’re with, and how we live. After all, the sweetest deals are the ones that bring real, lasting happiness. And that, my friends, is priceless.

Stephen Boudreau serves as VP of Brand & Community at Virtuous Software. For over two decades, he has helped nonprofits leverage the digital space to grow their impact. To that end, Stephen co-founded RaiseDonors, a platform that provides nonprofits with technology and experiences that remove barriers to successful online fundraising. He is an avid (but aging) soccer player, audiobook enthusiast, and the heavily-disputed UNO champion of his household.

Copyright ©2024 Stephen Boudreau.