The mark of good craftsmanship is strong. In an age of Ikea kitchens, online shopping and instant gratification it can be easy to forget the value of quality craftsmanship. But handcrafted value is not forgotten. We still recognize work done well, we can feel it in the product. We can taste the difference between the gas station coffee and the one brewed at home with freshly ground beans. We notice when sitting at a table from Target it feels flimsy compared to the solid wood table we wanted.
What’s more is so often we equate the dollar cost of goods with value. When we say words like quality and custom, that often translates to more money. For some people, the process will go no further. However with a little research all of the options are out there. There are quality products made to last, that are also easy on your wallet. It may require some digging to find these products, and they may take a little longer to get. I would rather spend a little longer doing the research and waiting, than having to go through the whole process again when the door I got because “I need it and I need it now,” fails.
It seems important to remember these ideas as the holidays come around again. The holidays are about giving, an idea that hasn’t been lost but perhaps muddled. So often we find ourselves giving for the sake of giving. Not pausing to wonder whether your brother really wants the 3 foot statue of Yogi the Bear. Hopefully he does. Not only since Yogi the Bear is awesome, but because giving a gift that you know will be valued is one of the best feelings.
The true cost of thing is not a solitary one-time transaction. The true cost of good is in the parts and its whole. It is how it’s made and who makes it. It is where it’s sold, who sells it and what those people will be able to get you in the future. The true cost of a thing comes throughout its lifetime. A pan that’s is 10 times more money than another, but lasts twenty times longer, is not more expensive. A door that is 20% now, but will help better insulate your home to save you money every month, is not more expensive.
You can buy stock cabinetry made of particleboard and replace them in 5-10 years, depending on what happens in the kitchen or room. Or you can invest in quality wood built cabinets that will endure for the lifetime of your home. You can buy the stock vinyl windows without insulating glass and spend more on your heating bill. Or you can invest in a quality window that will keep your heating bill down in the cold months, and your ac bill down in the hot ones. These windows will last and save you money for at least a decade. Is that really more expensive?
As we invest in our homes and our holidays remember: quality over quantity.
The following is a true story, adapted from a 1921 edition of the American Journal of Ophthalmology...