The Cheap and the Fast

Each day I speak with people looking for a new computer. They tend to fall into two camps:

  • Those searching for the cheapest
  • Those looking for the fastest (and usually most expensive)

Both groups eventually find what they’re after. But I’m left to wonder if either group is happy with their purchase.

For example, tell a group of coworkers you purchased a new car and wait for the stories to roll in. Someone has a friend who would have found it cheaper. Why didn’t you use Craigslist, eBay, Cheapcarsforsuckers.com? Man, I hope you checked Consumer Reports!  If you didn’t see the invoice, you paid too much.

It’s a race to the bottom. No matter what you paid, someone paid less. Or bargained harder for or had a secret offer code.

But buying the fastest or most expensive isn’t much better. I speak with people who want the most expensive processor or video card. Surely the most expensive golf clubs, vacuum or iPhone case is the best, right?

These people are happy, but only until a newer model arrives. If you equate “best” with “most expensive” any positive feelings towards the product comes with an expiration date.

Today, I spoke with a woman who took an entirely different approach. She explained how she plans to use her computer before asking,  “Can you help me select a model that fits my needs?”

How often do we search for the cheapest? Or the best reviewed? Or the one with the most Amazon comments?

Maybe we should be asking ourselves, “What do I need?” instead.