My partner and I love to read. Since moving in together, we’ve been unpacking and arranging all our books. We recommend books to each other and laugh over the number of duplicates lining our shelves.
One author I’ve not yet read is Terry Pratchett. My partner HIGHLY recommends his books (as do many, many others). I’ll get around to reading them one day — especially because one of his books, Arms at Play, has a particularly relevant quote. (I was first introduced to this quote on Reddit, where you see it pop up with alarming frequency.)
“The reason that the rich were so rich, Vimes reasoned, was because they managed to spend less money.
Take boots, for example. He earned thirty-eight dollars a month plus allowances. A really good pair of leather boots cost fifty dollars. But an affordable pair of boots, which were sort of OK for a season or two and then leaked like hell when the cardboard gave out, cost about ten dollars. Those were the kind of boots Vimes always bought, and wore until the soles were so thin that he could tell where he was in Ankh-Morpork on a foggy night by the feel of the cobbles.
But the thing was that good boots lasted for years and years. A man who could afford fifty dollars had a pair of boots that’d still be keeping his feet dry in ten years’ time, while the poor man who could only afford cheap boots would have spent a hundred dollars on boots in the same time and would still have wet feet.
This was the Captain Samuel Vimes ‘Boots’ theory of socioeconomic unfairness.”
Y’all — it is expensive to be poor. And while I am far from poor now, I remember what it was like to have to pay more for crappy items. It’s cheaper to buy toilet paper in the big packs — but what if you can’t afford the big package? What if you have no room to store 30 rolls while you work through them? You go buy the smaller packs that cost less upfront, but are more expensive per unit. When I was a kid, we could only afford to get me a pair of off-brand sneakers from Payless which invariably fell apart faster, causing my Mom to fork over more money on another pair of shoes. Other kid’s parents could afford to get them well-constructed shoes that lasted until they grew out of them.
The current version of this dilemma I am facing is with small appliances. Blenders, specifically. In keeping with my roots and the Mustachian community, I try to buy as many things pre-owned as possible. New blenders are horrifically expensive. So, I buy used.
I scored a great deal on a blender last year at the “Midwest’s Largest Outdoor Garage Sale” in the parking lot of Six Flags in March, right before the world shut down from Covid. Great timing, right?! I bought a Wolfgang Puck Commercial blender for $40. What a steal! I enjoyed smoothies galore all year.
But then, I moved. And I didn’t use the blender a whole lot. When I went to use it for a smoothie the first time in the new house, it made a low growling noise and didn’t really blend much of anything. Kale chunks in smoothies are not optimal, btw. My diagnosis after searching on The Google was that the lubrication on the internal mechanisms was gone. But there’s no way to crack open the unit and add more, so it was effectively dead.
$40 for one year of blending.
I went online and searched the Marketplace on Facebook for a different smoothie. This time I found a KitchenAid blender (affiliate link) for $45. (It might’ve been stolen goods, but that’s another story for another time.) Now I have a cool purple blender to make my smoothies. Sorry, it’s “bosenberry”.
But how long is this one going to last? Am I going to be in need of another blender this time next year? At what point should I stop buying pre-loved blenders and fork over the money for a new, quality blender?
I’m like Vimes now. I’ve paid $85 for two blenders. Someone who pays $300 for a Vitamix will have a working blender for years to come, while I’ll be surrounded by a graveyard of broken small appliances. Is it actually less wasteful and cheaper to buy a high-quality blender upfront? Where is the line in blender buying?
(If you’re like me and have questions over when to buy quality items and when to cheap out, I highly recommend the Buy It For Life Subreddit. They have great responses for people like me with questions on optimal blender buying.)
Just for fun, here is my take on his theory:
“The reason that the rich were so rich, Gwen reasoned, was because they managed to spend less money.
Take blenders, for example. She had one hundred dollars leftover in her budget each month. A really good Vitamix blender cost three hundred dollars. But an affordable blender, which worked ok for a year or two before crapping out, cost about forty dollars. That was the kind of blender Gwen always bought, and used until her smoothies became increasingly full of chunks of kale.
But the thing was that a good Vitamix blender lasted for years and years. A person who could afford three hundred dollars had a blender that’d still be effortlessly churning out smoothies in ten years’ time, while the poor person who could only afford used blenders would have spent four hundred dollars on blenders in the same time and would still have smoothies with chunks of kale in them.
This was Gwen’s ‘Blender’ theory of socioeconomic unfairness.”
As always, thanks for reading! What is your “buy it for life” product recommendation! Sound off in the comments below!