Can You Disassociate Quality from Price?

We are all idiots.

I know I am guilty of thinking the more expensive option is probably the better option. There are places I have overcome this bias and others where the bias still controls my purchasing decisions.

I think that most people would agree that the more expensive option isn’t necessarily the better option. There are also places where we might argue that more expensive does typically equal better.

Men’s Suits
I think there is a difference in a cheap suit and an inexpensive suit. Just last weekend I bought a 100% wool suit from Jos A Bank for $275 (~$350 out the door after taxes, alterations, etc). I passed on a poly-blend suit from Men’s Wearhouse (though I have bought great suits there before). Even Macy’s seemed to have some pretty great suits for about $350. Meanwhile, I could go to Nordstrom’s a buy a suit for $2,000 and still not buy their “best” suit. I honestly don’t think one would make me look more successful or capable than the other.

I drink boxed wine. We used to buy sub-$10 bottles of wine but have found several boxed brands that are just as good an much cheaper. I have bought expensive wine plenty of times. I used to never order the cheapest wine on the menu when dining out and have asked for the “reserve list.” Maybe your tastes are much more refined than mine, but I honestly can’t taste the difference.

I used to never consider buying generics of either food nor medicine. Then I made the switch to generics for prescriptions. For some reason it was a much harder jump for over-the-counter drugs. I could buy Tylenol for $10 or acetaminophen for $5. Same number of pills of the same dose with the same active ingredient. Now you will never find Tylenol, Aleve, Advil, etc in our house.

Confession: those last two are the direct result of my better half. Without her leadership I would probably still buy “brand name” drugs and expensive wines. There are also some areas where I still struggle.

Android is probably just as good. It is definitely cheaper. I have even tried (I have bought two Android phones to play with / develop on and also have a Nexus 7 tablet). I am stuck in the Apple ecosystem and can’t make the jump out. History will probably prove me wrong eventually and I may be a slow learner on this one.

What a silly thing to be hung up on, but I only buy Moleskine notebooks. I have bought 4 in the past month. There are definitely cheaper options and I am sure they would be just as effective.

Running shoes, dress shoes, boots, casual shoes – I like shoes and I buy expensive shoes. Allen Edmonds, Cole Haan, Newton running shoes ($175 for a running shoe?!?). Now, I have a lot of running shoes and some of them were less expensive (I love my Karhus which were less than $100). I will admit it, I think expensive shoes are better. Show me two shoes and I will probably prefer the more expensive one.

What about you? Have you been able to disassociate price from quality? Do you still have some hangups?


  1. You had me up until that part about Androids. ; )

  2. I agree about shoes. I realized long ago that I far preferred a few expensive pairs of shoes to lots of cheap ones. I will buy LifeStride heels and flats for everyday wear — $40-$70 at Off Broadway — and they last pretty well. But for nice dress shoes, I’m a fan of Fluevog [don’t even check their prices; embarrassing] and for sandals, I cannot stop buying Jack Rodgers sandals [$140]. However, one pair lasts me two years, and I wear them ~150 days a year, maybe more. So that’s not bad.

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