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Short Term Gain, Long Term Pain

It only hurts for a little while

It only hurts for a little while

I had one of those moments this weekend that vividly reminded me of something salespeople know is true but often don’t do a good enough job of reminding their customers.

I rolled out the bottom section of our dishwasher to load some dishes but didn’t pay close attention to what I was doing, because I was startled by a loud crash as the whole section jumped its tracks and rolled onto the floor.

My wife came running into the kitchen attracted by the first noise, which was of course immediately followed by some forcefully expressed choice words. My first coherent sentence was “This thing is a piece of crap! That’s what I get for not spending a little more for the next level up.”

Then the thought hit me that if I had paid a premium for the dishwasher when I bought it, the pain of the higher price might have lasted until I paid the credit card bill, but that’s the last time I ever would have thought about it. Yet, because I made the cheap decision, I’m reminded of it almost every day. The pain lingers in the form of dissatisfaction, frustration and workarounds. I didn’t know it at the time, but paying a lower price once continues to cost me now.

It’s obviously a simple point, but one that we need to constantly remind our customers (and ourselves) every time they’re tempted to try to save a little in the short run by compromising on the things that will cost them much more in the long run. Short term gain, long term pain.

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