Robot lawn mover
If you’re holiday shopping on a budget this year, put your dollars towards the best-quality products possible. Buy the nicest version of something inexpensive, rather than a lower-quality version of something pricey.
As Seth Godin explains, on his blog:
If you want to please someone with a gift, it’s unlikely that you’ll succeed by buying them a pretty good version of the item in question, even if it’s a great value.
Better, the research suggests that you’ll do better to overpay for something in a cheaper category, where it’s obviously the best in the world.
This is why a really good pair of socks—or multiple pairs of high-quality socks, if you can swing it—is a better gift than a cheapo, knock-off tech product. (It’s a better gift than a cheapo, knock-off anything, really.)
The wool socks that keep feet warm at 20 below will be much more fondly remembered than, say, the kind of “affordable” cleaning robot that doesn’t even pick up pet hair.
There are obviously exceptions to this rule—kids, for example, tend to value low-quality toys and tech over high-quality socks (though kids are also sensitive to brands, and might prefer receiving one coveted brand-name item instead of multiple off-brand items).
Likewise, if the fourth-best version of something is the only way your family will get that very-much-needed something this year, don’t let me dissuade you from buying it. This advice isn’t intended to keep people from purchasing inexpensive laptops or winter coats when there are better options available.
It’s for the person who’s thinking about gifting someone a cheap smart display but might be better served by spending the same amount of money (or even less money) on high-quality wine or chocolates.
If you shop on a budget, do you support this gift-giving strategy? And if you’re on the receiving end, what type of gifts do you tend to value more: the ones that are the best version of their particular item, or the ones that are a less-good version of an existing product?