Cost, Quality, and the Professional

I recently finished a book called “Spend Shift” (note to self, update Goodreads) in which the basic tenet is in the ‘post recession’ USA spending habits have fundamentally changed. This is not to say that Jon Doe is not spending money on things altogether (like, *cough*, travel), but that he is spending more prudently: he will closely evaluate cost vs. star rating, he will check in the amenities to see who offers free breakfast or spa credit. He will leverage sites like Trip Advisor and Kayak, he will check the hotel photos from Expedia to the hotel’s own site. He will once again evaluate the cost, and then make his decision.  Ultimately what helps him decide is how much he trusts the data that he has based his research off of, because that helps him evaluate the quality (subjective) from the cost (objective).

On Saturday I sat myself in my hairdresser’s chair for the fifth time we’ve ever seen each other. She had 4 hours to do whatever she wanted, period. I gave her no limits on cut, color, style, maintenance, etc. I trusted her to know enough through our history and through her training as to what would be best. 

The latter paragraph looks to be a complete non sequitur, but it is not. Allow me to explain:

There is too often the temptation to do-it-yourself or look to the least expensive option when looking at an expenditure.  Do we really need to hire an electrician to move a lightswitch? Well no probably not. Do we need to hire an electrician to go crawling through our attic and reposition seven can lights and rewire our breaker box? Yes. Do you hire the least expensive electrician you can find? No. Why not? Because you don’t want your house to burn down from a short circuit. You are very likely to NOT pick the cheapest electrician, and you are very likely to use subjective data (referrals, ad space, reviews) to help you determine if the electrician is worth their (objective) cost.

At some point you have to trust in the research you’ve done and the professional to do their job. After four previously successful sessions with Kursten and having her do things to my hair that I asked her to — and I have not been to hair school nor would I be good at cutting/designing hair on anyone — I figured it’s about time to let the professional do her job. I realized the cost having been to her before, and decided the cost was worth it; and I had enough personal (subjective) data to feel comfortable in my decision. (By the bye, it looks fantastic).

In short: good decisions are made with attention to both objective and subjective data. Solely the former you’re narrow (and not as likely to enjoy the results), solely the latter you’re foolish (and likely poorer in the pocket).

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