Buy cheap, buy twice

Wednesday 6 July 1664  full diary click here (many business matters)

But the charge of the barge lies heavy upon me, which troubles me, but it is but once, and I may make Pierce do me some courtesy as great.

Buy cheap, buy twice. I really hate to say so, but quality costs. Alas, the market is full of what amounts to counterfeit goods which although they look like the original, do not have the lasting qualities. I have seen Wellington boots on sale for £160 and lookalikes for £25. I have seen four in one garden implements for £500, and apparently the same for £130. There are many ways of cutting costs. The use of inferior metal instead of light alloy, automatic manufacturing with less accurate tolerance,  materials that miraculously fail a few weeks after the end of the year guarantee, the cutting of support services.  I know some companies find it cheaper to have people return items and give a refund than run a full-scale maintenance and support department.  The availability of spares and the ease with which they can be obtained is another factor.

Shoes are a very good example, particularly walking shoes or why it profits to buy good quality items. I know they are not the height of fashion but I regularly meet people here in the country who have worn the same pair of shoes for 20 or 30 years.

Mercifully, we have the Internet and anyone can type in XYZ machine or product review.  The more people give reviews the more accurate will be the perceptions of the buying population and therefore the less of a risk that you will take.

So, as Pepys says, it is but once.

Today I visited a number of potential gardening customers. One was indeed a complete jungle and I could scarcely get into it for the amount of overgrown branches and brambles. I will quote them accordingly. The lady selling the house was a pleasant enough American lady who goes over to look after her farm in the USA twice a year

Another lady who was a carer for Curio who lived with her son in a council house. Her garden was chest high with grass and brambles. She was one of the ‘salt of the earth’ people who loved her work and looking after others. She said she had done everything, wiping peoples’ bottoms, laying them out, ‘you name it I’ve done it’ and she was happy so do.

Her ex-husband lived a few miles away and she said he got on her nerves because as he got older he became more dependent and she wanted to be on her own. She seemed happy enough, full of life, a hard-working person, and the sort of person for whom it is a pleasure to work

The third person was having his wounds dressed by a nurse when I arrived and wanted the back garden done. He did nothing but sit watching the TV all day. You will be surprised about the number of people who are in this situation. This stubborn Somerset man apologised to me about the fact that he could not do the gardening. I offered to do the front garden as well as the hedges in the back but he got quite angry and dismissed the offer. I quoted him for the back garden which he initially said was too much. I very politely suggested that he looked around for other quotes but he finally agreed to accept the quote which was all of £100.

The fourth and final potential new client lived in a miners cottage which they had done for the past 62 years. The husband had died 12 years ago leaving a charming but disabled wife. I was shown around by Tracy the daughter. It was a very long and narrow garden which had been tended by the husband for many years but was in a dreadful condition. Now I had a problem. The access to the house was down a narrow lane little more than a car’s width. I have a Volvo which is very long and wide and there is no way that I can reverse at the bottom of the street. These are the worst access conditions I have had. We have decided that in the event of getting the job we will park about 50 m away and trundle the equipment along a side path.

A patient at St Chads doctors surgery has offered to improve the outlook by the front door. The work does cheer up the entrance somewhat.

lovely Japanese type garden
shot from the street side