Purchase For Durability

June 5, 1994

By Michael Jessen

About three weeks ago, I decided to buy a wheelbarrow. I visited the various stores selling wheelbarrows to determine pricing and quality.

At one store, the product looked good, but it was priced slightly higher than another store's wheelbarrow. It looked like I could save five dollars by purchasing the second barrow. I made a decision to buy, paid for it and went to the warehouse to pick it up.

As the warehouse worker handed me the parts to my wheelbarrow, he said "You know this will fall apart in a short while. I advise you to spend $30 more and get the contractor-quality model." I was shocked when he showed me how the body of the barrow only clipped onto the handles instead of being bolted through the handles.

I knew I could fix it if he was right and it fell apart. I took the wheelbarrow parts and drove home, getter madder with each mile. Why did I buy something that was going to fall apart? I realized my purchase price savings were certainly going to be exceeded by the time and effort I would spend to fix the wheelbarrow. Why was a store selling something that would break?

I told myself that landfills are overflowing with inferior-quality products that are unrepairable. When I arrived home my mind was made up. Later, as I got my money back, the cashier said "Another one being returned?" It seems I wasn't the only one who decided to purchase for durability.


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