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Saturday, June 13, 2015

The Price of Buying Cheap Stuff

I stopped at a dollar store yesterday.  I needed some clipboards and some core foam boards.  Each item was around $1 and I figured it was an amazing deal.  Except that…

I needed to decorate the clipboards with scrapbooking paper (which I had purchased previously).  I peeled off the protective plastic wrap to discover that one of the clips was loose from its board.  Fortunately, I had purchased extra clipboards for a later project so I could use some of the extra clipboards for this weekend’s project, return the defective one later, and still have my decorated clipboards ready for Monday.

The foam core boards were something else.  They are normally about $7 at the craft store, so having them for less than $2 was a bargain; or so I thought.  As I starting cutting them with an sharp work knife (I needed to make 6 squares out of each board), the black covering was ungluing itself from the foam AND the foam was breaking instead of cutting.  My squares looked awful. 

So what did I learn from this? Well, cheap is often a synonym of poor quality.  Not always, especially if you find something on sale, but too often I’m disappointed in the poor quality of items I buy.  Most of my clipboards are fine – they are wooden clipboard with a metal clip which is quite robust.  And knowing I was on a time crunch, I made sure I had a couple of extra ones.  And even if I decided to throw out the defective board, my average cost per clipboard is very low.

But what about my frustration level at using poor quality items? What about the angst at trying to solve a problem that should not have been there? What about my panic when looking at my foam squares that are not so good looking and needed in 2 hours?  What is worth it? Possibly not…

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