There are a number of things I didn’t expect when I started moving towards minimalism. One of those is spending more money. Not just spending more money in general, but specifically, spending more money to buy higher quality items. And, I’m not alone as today’s article tells us – The Rise of Buy Me Once Shopping.
I want to share a couple of examples from my life, and then I’ll jump into some discussion on the article.
The first item on which I spent more money to get better quality was a trash can (or rubbish bin). It seems like an odd choice, but this thing has lasted us 4 years now, and looks and works just as good as the day we bought it. A trash can lasting a long time might not be unusual, so what makes this one so unusual is the ease of use and the beauty of it. It’s super easy to change bags, you can prop open the lid for those times when you are cooking or cleaning and need to use it frequently, it has a soft close lid with gas dampers, and it has a very nice stainless steel finish. I wrote a post about this a while back, so you can pop over to this link if you want to read more about it. Would you pay 100 dollars for a trash can?
Another item, on which I recently spent more for better quality, is a pair of khaki pants. I was looking for something that would work in a casual setting and also at work. I wanted something to replace my tight fitting and less-than-comfortable jeans. I did a lot of internet research to find something that would fit the bill. I ended up finding a good review of several different brands. In Search of the Best Travel Pants for Men. From there I dug a little deeper on a pair that looked promising. Bluffworks Chinos are Even Better than the Originals. I decided to go for it and ordered a pair of Bluffworks Chino Tailored Fit in Khaki fro $125 plus shipping.
These are, hands-down, the best pants I have ever owned. They are super comfortable, nearly competing with my pajama pants in terms of comfort. They look great, much better than the Old Navy khakis I had been wearing to work. I wasn’t sure how I’d feel about the zipper front pockets, but I actually love that feature for keeping my phone secure in my front pocket.
These are basically the only pants I wear now, meaning I was able to replace three pairs of Old Navy Khakis and two pairs of jeans with one pair of Bluffworks Chinos. I typically wear them for two or three days in a row and then wash them and hang them to dry overnight. They can go in the dryer, but I find that most clothes last longer if I hang dry instead, and since they dry quickly, they are ready to go by the next morning. The only downside is that my wife doesn’t love the color. I like it, but she doesn’t. She says it’s fine for work, but she doesn’t like it as much when I’m dressed casually, combining them with a t-shirt. I’d love it if they made these pant’s in a jean-color for the times when jeans look/work better than khakis. Something that looks like jeans, but with the same cut, style, and material as the chinos.
Now that we have my examples out there, lets dig into today’s feature article. The core message in the article is that a growing number of people are looking to buy things that last longer. Tara Burton, featured heavily in this article, started a website called Buy Me Once. I had seen reference to this website a few months ago, and the number of items featured has grown since then. The idea behind this website is to sell items that are high quality and have lifetime warranty. Tara started with kitchen items and has since expanded into other areas like clothing and tools.
One item that caught my attention was the Darn Tough socks. Better quality, longer lasting socks has been on my wish list, as I currently burn through socks and need to replace them once a year. The Darn Tough brand socks have a lifetime warranty, so if they wear out, you can mail them to the company and they will send you a new pair.
I also found this really interesting:
A new government decree in France that came into force in March 2015 is aimed at fighting this business practice in the appliances industry and is part of a larger movement against planned obsolescence across the European Union.
Planned obsolescence is a scourge on this planet, and it would be nice to see it done away with.
The article mentions that some in the fashion industry are getting on board with this. I wonder if people have an easier time spending more for quality clothing than on other categories of purchases. I didn’t at first, but I’m moving in that direction, and my experience so far has been good.
Still, I question how many people are ready to start spending more for better quality, longer lasting items. As an answer to this question, this quote from the article:
As for consumers, a nationally representative survey by Wrap, who campaign for a sustainable resource-efficient economy, showed that half of all consumers would be willing to pay extra for products that are advertised to last longer.
That statistic sounded a bit high to me, so I searched for a link to the source (which they conveniently left out of the article, maybe because it’s a .pdf that gets download instead of a webpage.) It turns out the source is slightly misinterpreted in the article. Here is the quote from the source.
Regarding paying more for clothes that are made to look good and last longer, there is an appetite for more durable clothing. 52% of survey participants acknowledged they could do more to buy items that are made to last for longer while continuing to look good and would like to do so.
“Would like to pay more” for quality and “being willing to pay more” is not the same. “Would like to” can have different contexts like – I’d like to if I had more money to spend on clothes. Whereas “willing to” tends to mean I am likely to do it if I can find clothes that meet my needs.
If 52% of the population were actually willing to pay more for higher quality clothing, you would see a lot more manufactures and retails selling them. Instead it’s more of a niche market at this point. I hope the concept catches on among more people and across more industries.
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