Have you ever heard the saying “You get what you pay for”? Well, there's a lot of truth to that expression. If you spend less than ten dollars for a watch, would you expect it to keep perfect time? If you buy a cheap plastic “Made in China” toy at a dollar store, would you really be surprised if your child breaks it in less than a day?
Because I work in retail, I have a front-row seat for observing consumer habits. Of course, I am a consumer myself, so I get both perspectives. The retailer in me appraises products and the consumer in me appreciates a good deal. But I am increasingly finding out that in most cases, you can't “get something for nothing”. Instead, you may find yourself getting nothing for something. You might give half a grand for that car “that needs a little work” and become the proud owner of a vehicle on its last legs (or shall I say 'wheels'). Worse yet, you may get less than nothing. You might lavish repairs on that old car until you realize (a thousand dollars poorer) that it simply isn't worth the effort.
The idea that “you get what you pay for” not only applies to possessions; it also applies to people – more specifically, services rendered by people. A job done right requires time and time requires money. Try putting yourself in the other person's shoes and ask yourself “If I was offering this service, how much would I charge? How much is my time worth to me?”
I have a soft spot for starving artists, maybe in part because I am one myself. I still remember an original realistic-style drawing I did some years back – and a brief appraisal by a potential buyer: “Oh, look at that drawing! It looks just like that famous “Dust Bowl” photo by Dorothea Lange! How much is it...thirty dollars? Oh, it's not worth THAT much to me.”
When we put a low dollar value on a product or service, perhaps we shouldn't be surprised if we end up with lemons. There will always be a cheaper item at such-and-such a store. You can always find someone to do a job for less. Maybe the quote you received from that professional painter seemed a little steep. You might think otherwise when the guy that replaced him does such a poor job that you end up paying twice the money to have someone else fix his mess.