Categories: Society & Culture

How Being Cheap Becomes So Expensive

Let me begin with a Contrast.

The first day Ann got into Geo’s taxi he told her it would be X dollars to take her home.  Ann said ‘Okay’.

From then, Ann ‘booked’ Geo to take her to and from work.  For three years Ann paid Geo the fee he charged.

One day she needed to go to the Airport to catch a ‘red eye’ , that is a flight that leaves after mid-night and before 6 am.   Geo took her and charged about half what he’d charge a person who stepped into his cab from far closer.

Nera, who’d seen Geo driving Ann around asked her for his number because she needed to go about five miles away.   She got into Geo’s cab and when they reached it was a problem for her to pay him.  Not that she didn’t have the money, but she didn’t like to pay.

After that, Geo had no use for Nera and if she called him, quote a figure a bit higher than normal, and so if he did take her, she paid premium.

Nera was always complaining that she ‘had no money’ when she had a bag full.  And always tried to get people to work for her or with her for pennies.

If she’d have paid the right price, people would help her, but Nera was always underpaying so people were too busy.  After all, if they sat and watched Television they wouldn’t earn the pennies, but then, the pennies weren’t particularly enticing.

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Nera is in that position where being cheap costs.   Where Ann could have helped her, the mere thought of traveling five miles to do so off set the few dollars she’d get, so it was more sensible to not do it.

Nera reminds me of Mr. Chen.   He once hired a reputable firm to do an addition to his house, and complained bitterly about the cost.  He then hired a guy from ‘down so’ to do it, who charged so much less to do additions. But every addition was crooked or leaked, or detracted from the original design.

At the end of the day, a house which should have sold for xyz  could only get xy because of the need to ‘re-do’ what the guy from ‘down so’ had done.

No matter how many times one tries to explain this, it’s a waste of breath.

Normal people know this; if Geo is charging X dollars for a task and you agree without negotiating, then Geo owes you.   Then Geo will perform his task in a kind of obligatory manner.  He set the price, the price was paid. He can utter no dissatisfaction.

Normal people know that if Geo is charging X and they cut him down to  90% X then Geo will make up that 10% by coming and going as he pleases.  He has no obligation, he has no loyalty.

It doesn’t require analysis, a pie chart, or discussion.   When one pays, one gets what they pay for.




  • kaylar

    View Comments

    • That is true. Ultimately, cheap prizes for a service done or for an item bought, will eventually cost them more. If the cheap item gets damaged, it is usually cannot be repaired anymore and just have to buy a new one. So, gone is the money you saved , but paid more than what you saved in the lung run.

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