When It’s Better to Pay More

I’ve been ordering groceries from Kroger’s Click List so I wouldn’t have to go in (because of coronavirus concerns), but that requires scheduling a few days in advance. Today’s earliest time slot was 4/23 evening. Not bad, really. But I miss being able to go buy whatever I want for dinner. I rarely do that, but I could. But the other day I went shopping at Dorothy Lane Market (upscale grocery) and it was lovely. Totally stocked, not crowded, sparkling clean. Things cost more there, though. Meat prices are crazy. But I kinda want to go shop there next time I need groceries. The produce is gorgeous. They have a “healthy living” department that smells So Good. Great selection of wine and beer... on and on. 

Do I want to pay the extra money for that experience? I am rather frugal, so before I’d never go there for anything besides their salad bar and soup for lunch. 

Well, I started thinking about the “race to the bottom” concept. It’s taken over our culture. We want everything cheap and don’t care why it’s so cheap. Made in China? We grumble but it’s on sale, so... Made in a sweatshop in Bangladesh? Just won’t think about it. Imitation ingredients? Well, it still tastes good and it’s cheaper than the real thing. 

We need to stop. 

If you pay more for something, here’s what you’ll do. You’ll buy less of it. You will use it mindfully and not waste it. You will fix it when it breaks. You will be careful not to wear it out too soon. You’ll also look for alternatives — maybe you don’t really need it. You’ll buy things used instead of new, and sell the things you don’t need. 

That’s what people used to do, as recently (ha ha) as my own childhood years. Remember the TV repairman? Appliance repair shops? Shoe repair? 

Pay people more for their labor. Yes, prices will go up. Maybe we will buy less of it and appreciate it more. Maybe people who are paid more will make better stuff for us to buy. 

I’m not an economist. I don’t know what this will do to the economy long-term, but I do know it’ll do a lot to improve our lifestyles and our environment.


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