This I Believe

Reade - Raleigh, North Carolina
Entered on December 10, 2007
Age Group: 18 - 30
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I believe that just because something is more expensive, it is better. From a gallon of milk to “me Lucky Charms” overpricing is over-common. For example, when I was a kid, Frosted Flakes and fruit was the norm. Now that I am spending my own money, I have recently discovered that the store brand tastes the same for a fraction of the cost. Not only does Kroger’s “Big-K” soda stretch the dollar, but also offers more options, such as peach flavor, that other streamline brands do not offer. The same principle can be applied to cleaning products. Do you really think that name-brand Clorox bleach is going to clean your clothes more than the store-brand? Bleach is bleach. No matter the bottle, it makes your clothes white no matter what. This can easily be compared to shopping. When we, as youths, go to the mall, we are confronted with the latest and greatest fashions at all of the name-brand stores. Hollister, American Eagle, Abercrombie and Fitch- everyone wants to be a part of the latest fashion trend, but at the expense of “Daddy’s” credit card. A pair of jeans, at any of these stores, will cost as much as eighty dollars! I buy mine for twenty dollars a pop. There aint a freaking difference between one and the other. They are both denim, the same size, have pockets, belt loops, and zip. Are you thinking twice yet? I sure did. When I had to buy this stuff myself, I figured it out; crap is expensive.

Let’s move on to bigger things. A monumental moment in any teenager’s life is the day the DMV slaps that sexy smile onto their driver’s license. Cars these days make fashion statements all on their own. From the color, to the rims, to the model of car itself, it is a status symbol in our society. Take a look at the soccer mom who driving the typical, spacious mini-van versus the one in the obnoxiously, gigantic Hummer. What is the difference other than the bill? They both move people and their things from point A to point B and provide a comfortable and enjoyable ride. Aside from the payments and the gas bills, to drive a car, you must also pay for insurance. I’ve saved 48% by switching to Geico, no lie. As cliché as this sounds, it is the absolute truth. I have better coverage and more dependable service at nearly half the price. Shopping around for quotes does have its benefits. Again, through this experience, I have figured out, crap is still expensive.

Here’s the problem: PC versus Mac- which can I afford? Oh, wait, they are both overpriced. Computers being my section of expertise, I have encountered this problem many times. Let’s look at, for example, a PC. Just because it is shiny and says “Dell” on the outside, doesn’t mean it is any better than the one your neighbor built in his garage for a quarter of the price. While more features obviously cost more no matter what source you use, opting to shop around will get you the best deal. While shopping for those technology gadgets it is important not to be blinded by the stylish logos and catchy ads, and to be observant of the difficult user interfaces and poorly written software. Because falling into this expensive habit could cause you more stress and effort than the simple, cheaper, more viable option.

In my hometown of Raleigh, housing in what is known as the “inner-beltline” or intercity is more expensive than those houses outside the beltline. But all that extra money seems to pay for old and deteriated foundations, no driveways, smaller yards, and neighbors who can spit in your window. Cheaper living seems all the more appealing.

Expensive isn’t always better. I see that in everyday life. In a world of flashy logos and catchy jingles, so often we tend to overlook the actual quality and experience of a product. Whether we’re dealing with cars, clothes, or condominiums; It pays to shop around.