I have no use for Vox generally, but this fun article by Rebecca Jennings is worth pointing out. Jennings:
The premise was this: I would surround myself with the products whose entire raison d’être was being the best. The stuff that claimed it was “the only one you’ll ever need,” or “the last one you’ll ever have to buy.” These are companies that set out with the intention of disrupting entire retail categories through direct-to-consumer business models or millions of dollars in venture capital funding or flashy ads on public transportation (or all three), and who together have created an entirely new retail environment in which everything ends up looking exactly the same.
I’m going to take Jennings’ word on this: all these “best” products aren’t going to change your life or make your life noticeably better. I really like our Casper bed, but aside from the money saved, I fully believe a range of other mattresses would leave us with the same sleep quality.
I think it’s a given: experiences are worth your dollars more than any individual product.
But some products are better than others, and I think there are qualitative factors that are both difficult to measure and difficult to pinpoint in this conversation.
I think shoes are a great product to point at. You can spend $100 on a pair of dress shoes and have them in tatters after 20 or 30 wearings. Spend $250-$300 and you’ll be able to wear that pair of shoes for years — I just replaced the insoles of a pair of Boss shoes I bought 3 years ago, polished everything up, replaced the laces, and I felt like I was wearing a new pair of shoes. This doesn’t mention the ergonomic impact of wearing a well-made pair of shoes.
There are also factors like confidence, polish, impression, and more that impact your quality of life. You will notice the difference between a $600 sport coat and a $200 sport coat. And if not properly fitted, one will leave you with a headache at the end of the day and the other could leave you with a new acquaintance because of your dapper style.
I may be comparing apples to oranges — Jennings is clearly testing millennial-targeted products within a specific set of parameters.
But stuff can improve your life. Picking the right stuff and spending the right amount of money is what matters.