Archive for June 25th, 2008

Getting Our Money’s Worth (By Paying MORE)

Wednesday, June 25th, 2008

Although I’m not usually acrophobic (afraid of heights) or claustrophobic (fearful of enclosed spaces), I found myself suffering from both yesterday when a traffic jam pinned me like a butterfly at precisely the top of “The High 5″ – our town’s biggest highway overpass. Sitting there, unable to go forward or back, and swaying in the wind (which – no matter what the structural engineers say – just feels wrong atop a concrete and steel structure), I couldn’t help but think: “Wow – this overpass was built by the lowest bidder!”

I’m as fond of making a shrewd financial deal as the next guy (and the next guy – the one in the Prius – didn’t look any more thrilled up on top of the High 5 than I did). But I will gladly pay a premium for certain vendors’ services, just because those particular folks are so completely reliable that they reduce my stress level to almost zero.

When the stakes are high (like at a wedding, for instance), you want caterers, florists, bands, and photographers who get everything right the first time. You don’t want your budget camera guy (Cousin Phil’s son-in-law Hermie) to run out of film at a critical juncture in the proceedings. At those moments, you might wish you hadn’t tried to save a couple of bucks. (Hiring “Harry’s House Of Day-Old Flowers” could possibly come back to kick you, too.)

Besides, there is usually not all that much difference in the actual price (as opposed to the advertised one) of a part-time, semi-pro vendor and a full-time, full-service professional.

Given the choice of saving a few bucks on someone whose lack of experience or work ethic may send my blood pressure into the Mt. St. Helen’s range at an event I’m hosting, or of being a little bit poorer but a whole lot calmer – I usually go for broke (so to speak.) I can always make more money, but I’ve only got one heart. I want to keep it ticking as long as possible.

Which – come to think of it – is also a good reason to avoid the High 5, every time I can.