You get what you pay for

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Updated Dec 16, 2014

Sharks with laser beamsThe older I get the more I find this statement applies mostly to cowboy boots and dental work, and not much else. It’s no longer a given that because you pay more, you’re getting better quality. People don’t mind paying for a name brand, regardless of the junk it may be attached to, simply because they want the name brand plastered somewhere on their body or car, or purse, or whatever.

I’m not a name brand shopper and haven’t been since junior high school. Don’t get me wrong, if I find a Christian Dior purse in Goodwill, I will most certainly push someone out of the way to buy it, but I wouldn’t even consider spending more than $30 on a purse – new, used or otherwise. We hauled a load of jeans that wasn’t even a full and considered a high-value load because they retailed for $150 a pair.

Are you serious with this? Who the hell is spending $150 on a pair of jeans? Can they adopt my family, please? We’re cool with $29 jeans – we ain’t greedy. Honestly, I can’t remember the last time I paid full price for a pair of jeans – I prefer mine beat the hell up, so I buy them at Goodwill. It’s like having someone else do the work for me and getting an awesomely broke-in pair of jeans for $3.49. Double score on that one.

I’m not saying I haven’t been burned buying cheap things. It’s easy to be drawn into the dollar store for cheapskates like myself, but sometimes, there’s no choice in the matter. You just have to spend more to get more.

Never was this choice more apparent as when the options for obliterating George’s kidney stone were laid out by the urologist.

We’re blessed with health and don’t spend much on doctors, which is great until you have to meet a deductible, and it looks like you’re pretty much going to be paying out of pocket for most of the emergency procedure you have to have. Our doctor was aware of this, and had the courtesy to offer an alternative suggestion to the $7,700 it would cost for the use of the lithotripsy machine, on top of his fees to direct it.

He first explained that the lithotripsy mat is a cushion you lay on and it produces sound waves direct and forceful enough into your body to smash things like kidney stones. It’s like a pillow with a tiny Krieger stack inside of it, and a blue million Jimi Hendrix guitar licks amplified directly into the innards – only you can’t hear it and it’s relatively painless, non-invasive and extremely effective. It is also expensive, because the hospital rarely owns the machine – they rent it for each procedure, and this increases the demand, which raises the cost. (I may have ad-libbed here — I don’t think he mentioned Krieger stacks, but you get the general idea.)

The alternative, which was about a third the cost of lithotripsy, was to run a wire up into his penis, through the ureter and possibly into his kidney and shoot a laser beam into the stone, IF he could find it. He kind of made a “snaking” movement with his hands as he was explaining this procedure to George and I could sense the extreme amount of distress these movements were causing for my poor husband. I had to force myself from grabbing the doctor’s hands to make him stop winding them back and forth like a mesmerized cobra and screaming, “Are you kidding me??? Shooting a laser beam into his penis is cheaper than laying on a Krieger stack for five minutes??!!!”

So the choice was obvious. We’ll gladly make a monthly payment for the next year for the benefit of George not having to have laser beams shot into his junk. We were out of debt once, it was the most uneventful 10 minutes of our lives, so why not? The procedure was a success, by the way, and he’s healed up physically, which is the most important thing anyway. I’m fairly certain we made the right choice with spending more money this time, and I’m sure he agrees.

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