Sunday, April 13, 2014

The right hardware for the right purpose

When it comes to hardware, the price variation between similar products of different brands surprises me. I needed a new spike-buster (surge protector) for my computer and went searching for it at around 9:30pm. Most of the shops were closed, but one shop had one of Cona for Rs.185. Bargaining brought it down to Rs.165, but on carefully examining it, I noticed one socket was jutting out a little. One thing I always look for in a product, is the care that they take to make it. This one was lacking, even though it seemed to be made of good material. Although the shopkeeper was trying hard to make a sales pitch, I excused myself and reached another shop farther away, which had more known brands (of better quality), but the prices were Rs.650 (Frontech) and Rs.1000 (Belkin). Although bargaining brought the price of the Frontech spike-buster to Rs.500, it seemed odd that it was almost double the price of Cona. The only extra feature it had was individual switches for every socket. I decided not to buy.

The next day, I started hunting a bit early, reached a shop where another Cona spike-buster was available for Rs.250. Here, the metal in one socket was a bit twisted and the hologram had a piece 'bitten' off it. Didn't buy. Further on, at a small shop, I found a smaller, neat, carefully crafted spike buster for just Rs.145. The brand was "Allen" (a local brand), which I hadn't even heard of, but the material quality was good enough and the shopkeeper obliged in allowing me to stick a few plugs into the sockets to test if it was held in position well. Turned out to be exactly what I needed, at a fraction of the price of the other spike-busters.

If I were purchasing a computer processor, I'd definitely be conscious about the brand. I'd buy only from a reputed brand. But when I already have a UPS which protects from power surges, a spike buster with a fuse and four sockets were more than enough for an un-complex hardware requirement perspective. In this case, not going for a known brand, but looking for a good quality product at a reasonable price was a wise decision.

In the same way, I see so many people (sometimes I do too) purchasing shoes, sandals, burgers, movies, pizza's and fried chicken from brands that are clearly charging them anything from three to five times what they actually needed to make a profit (likely due to splurging on advertising). Sometimes, it's worth the money because of the 'experience' and 'ambiance', but it would be a wise decision for a person to consider from time to time, whether it really is worth the money, when what really brings us happiness, is not the amount of money we spend, but the people we spend our time with. Searching for what makes you happy, is important.

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