On doing the math…

Bumfuzzle makes a good point about doing your math and it’s well worth a quick read…

Face it, being a person of the VolksCruiser non-consumerist ilk means what things cost is always an important factor whether it’s the price of oil, what a depth sounder costs, or the damage a few gallons of epoxy is going to do to your bank account. The bad part is that the deck, so to speak, is stacked against us.

Firstly, there is the pervasive old wives’ tale/urban legend that you always get what you pay for and the more you spend the better something is. It is just plain stupid because the price of something these days has bugger all to do with what an item actually costs and everything to do with what someone has decided they want to sell it to you for.

Secondly, there is the stigma element. No one wants to be seen as unable to afford stuff and the disdain/abuse you get can be brutal when asking if, perhaps just maybe, there is a less over-priced alternative to the product in question. I might also add that it is often quite ironic as the salesman giving you attitude is, more than likely, making such a minimal wage that he/she could never afford most of the stuff they sell…

Then there is the sad fact that a great many consumers have been conditioned to not do simple math when it comes to buying stuff as in the gallon of oil for  $26.99 versus the four quarts at $6.41 that Bumfuzzle ran into.

Throw in the fact that people who make and sell stuff play very fast and loose with the ethical side of things with inflated list prices, confusing specs, and any number of minor cons to keep you from actually looking too close at the actual product that it is nearly impossible to make an informed choice.

The yachting press used to do real reviews of gear and suchlike but these days, mostly what you get is simply regurgitated press releases from the companies morphed into a “review”. That said, for those looking for real reviews that will open your eyes, you might want to check out the British and French sailing magazines who still do real tests and seem not to care if they might offend/piss off their advertisers.

The real trick to surviving in the VolksCruiser world is to do the math on what you need, what you can afford, and figure out how to make those numbers work together happily. The good news is it’s not very hard as long as you can cut out the hype because rampant consumerism is a two-edged sword that cuts both ways… but more about that next time.

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