Close-up looking through pivoting louvers of Pergola X with fan attached to beam and blue sky and hint of tree leaves beyond

We’ve all been tempted by, if not surrendered to, purchasing cheap items over those of higher quality and price. Perhaps we didn’t have the money for the quality item, but were convinced we needed it immediately. Maybe we wanted to test out a new fad before fully investing in it? After all, what’s the harm in buying a knock-off or low quality “inspired by” version of the real thing? If it’s the exception and not the rule, it may not be an issue. But today’s consumers are so prone to the fast-cheap-now mindset that it’s become the norm, which carries a host of problems, the greatest being waste: wasted money and wasted materials when the product soon falls apart and is quickly discarded for the next fast purchase. 


There is a lack of connection to products purchased in this way. Since the investment was relatively low to begin with, instead of finding ways to maintain your low quality product, you are much more willing to throw it away and buy another, probably with an equally low price tag. This vicious cycle of buying quantity (and quickly) over quality has played out most prominently in the fashion industry. Fast fashion—inexpensive clothing produced rapidly by mass-market retailers in response to the latest trends—is the easiest target when thinking about how we settle for poorly made goods. However, even products with bigger price tags – mattresses, tires, home improvements – are being purchased on a whim. We need to ask ourselves how we can break this risky cycle. 


Psych 101

What compels us to buy cheap products in the first place? While there is plenty of research available about what makes consumers shop (sensory cues, advertising, packaging, etc.), we hear less about what happens after our purchases. Sure, there is often initial satisfaction, but that can be followed by regret or concern. “Will this product fall apart on the first use, or even before I even get to try it out?” “Is the product toxic to me or the environment?” Despite a tinge of buyer’s remorse, however, once we’ve made a questionable purchase, our minds immediate start to rationalize our actions. “It’s a great substitute for what I really wanted.” “If it doesn’t last / work I’m not out that much money.” The point is, when you haven’t made an investedpurchase (mentally or monetarily), you aren’t as likely to care when that purchase fails you. And thus begins the cycle of wasted resources and money. To stop the cycle, it is best to take ample to time to consider each purchase. Don’t just think about your temporary satisfaction, but ponder the long-term impacts of your purchase. Is it a sustainable purchase, both in its durability and in terms of the environment? Will it be worth fixing if it breaks down or shows signs of wear and tear?


Price Per Use

Think about how often you can and will use your purchase. In the case of a mattress, you will use it daily, so buying the highest quality mattress you can afford makes a whole lot of sense. In the case of tires, something also used frequently, there is another factor to consider: safety. Whether or not you drive daily, when you take your vehicle out on the roads, you want to be safe, so purchasing cheap or used tires may be ill advised. 


Even home improvements can be subject to a consumer’s poor decision-making, if he is eager to finish and make use of his project. For instance, if the summer is shaping up to be the hottest on record, perhaps the quick purchase of an above-ground pool, the one you saw on sale, seems like a good immediate solution. But if additional research shows that saving for an in-ground pool would be the wiser investment, even if you have to postpone the purchase, are you prepared to wait until you can afford it? Similarly, adding a shade structure to your home may seem like a one-size fits all solution will suffice. Do you choose the cheapest option, for the sake of instant gratification, or do you make a more informed decision in favor of products that are built to last? Think of it this way, if you buy the lowest priced product, but it only lasts one season, was it really worth making the purchase at all?


Quality is Key

In the shade structure scenario, it’s easy to see how quality could be a critical factor. Will the structure stand up to all types of weather? Can it be used year-round? Are the materials virtually maintenance free and sustainable? Will it increase the value of my home? If a product doesn’t offer affirmative answers to all of these questions, then it probably is of questionable quality, and, should be reconsidered. StruXure Outdoor offers products that check all of these boxes and more. And with trending colors and extras, like lights, fans, and heaters, their award-winning products are worth investigating.


Quality should matter. It’s the basis upon which many great and lasting companies have been built. It’s time to move away from the fad of purchasing fast, cheap, and low quality items just because they exist. Let’s look deeper into our motivation behind purchases before handing over our hard-earned cash. And remember, if a product fails you immediately, you have not only wasted money, but you’ve wasted our planet’s resources.