Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Value and Price

A friend of mine has for more than five years followed a family rule by which he and his wife never mention the price of anything they purchase. Oscar Wilde said that we know the price of everything and the value of nothing. So the idea behind the family's rule is to counteract the problem that Wilde describes.

How often do we come home to show our partners something we have bought and the first thing we tell them is the price? Why? Is a dress, a pair of shoes or a shirt that cost $25 better if it costs $125, or for that matter, if it costs $5?

If you cut price from your vocabulary for a while you will find that other qualities come to prominence. Soon you start to notice the colour, the cut or the material of a dress or shirt. The sensual aspect of the things we buy is revitalized.

Try it. Of course, it is a challenge that requires both parties to agree. While one agrees not to ask the price the other needs to agree not to brag about a particular "bargain" or about how much they paid. But it's worth it if the reward is a greater sense for the "value" Oscar Wilde so dearly missed and that seems to have all but been lost from contemporary society.

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