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Don’t Be Cheap: It’s Never, Ever Worth It

Everyone gets tempted to save money sometimes—and with all the slick advertising constantly flooding our senses these days, who wouldn’t? You’ve got to curb that impulse, though. Cut it back—way back—before it’s too late.

“I’m not rich enough to buy cheap” -Old Proverb

I’m driving my car deep in thought. As my hand unconsciously caresses the hand crafted German wooden steering wheel and the smell of perfectly designed leather fills my nostrils I look outside at a deteriorating infrastructure. Small potholes don’t affect my air suspension. Exhaust fumes are blocked by my carbon filter and the quiet compressor blows cool scented air on my face. Sharp crisp beats from my American iphone effortlessly pump out of my Japanese sound system as if by magic; amazing Bluetooth technology developed in some distant land.

Crumbling buildings and rusty lights on my right. A playground with a horse missing from one side of the animal seesaw, and a swing set with no swings mock two children trying to play. They end up chasing each other around abandoned rusting equipment. I step on the gas and the Bavarian engine effortlessly takes me from 40 to 100 km/h with a gentle purr. On my right, I see patches of yellow grass with some lone green survivors trying to make it through the week with no water. The public building behind them gave up already and shed its full coat of paint: The exposed drab grey shell peers sadly at me through dusty windows begging for attention. Inside leaky faucets mimic its tears as they quietly drip unnoticed into the drain, wasting thousands of gallons of water. Underneath a faded sticker says “made in China”.

As I look at buildings, malls, lights, and public bathrooms all over Bahrain I notice a dangerous drop in quality. Fresh signs are burnt brown by the sun within months. New buildings have rusty pipes on the outside and their wall paint cracking. Even new street lights installed by the government show signs of yellowing covers and rust, as they stand next to their 70’s counterparts who are still standing tall and strong and silver.

There’s a new shift in the mentality brought about by the surge of Chinese products flooding the market. Now all we care about is price. We want the cheapest, and we want it NOW. Quality is a distant afterthought. It’s about a quick buck in a quick world where there’s a new product every second that promises to perform the same:  But it doesn’t. Neither does a team of cheap imported labor who claim they can build a wall the same as a crew of certified professional masons. 

LOW PRICES ARE A TRAP FOR THE WEAK, AND THIS IS A TRAP WE MUST BE VERY CAREFUL NOT TO FALL INTO.

We may save a few hundred fils buying cheaper paint or screws. But that paint won’t last long and those screws will rust. Small things like that affect the total quality of a project and before you know it you’re paying hundreds if not thousands of Dinars to renovate the item again. We should also stop to consider the time and effort wasted on maintenance instead of progress. I find myself shopping for equipment for my business at unrealistic prices. “Too good to be true deals” are very often too good to be true, and I have found myself replacing them way earlier than their original lifespan is meant to end. I have personally lost a lot of money buying cheap items. Government tenders have sadly also shifted towards price more than specifications.

GOVERNMENT AGENTS AND PRIVATE FIRMS ALIKE: ALWAYS BUY QUALITY. NEVER BUY CHEAP, YOU WILL ALWAYS REGRET IT.

And since Bahrain is undergoing austerity measures spending less isn’t necessarily saving us money, because I am sure we will eventually either have a crumbling infrastructure (with no funds to maintain it) or we will spend much more on maintenance and end up spending more than we initially saved. So don’t be cheap, we’re not rich enough.

This is also available in Arabic if you'd like.

Hamed Fakhro

Hamed is a contributor, writer, inventor, and speaker. He is also the founder of Fakhro Properties, Seef Business Center, A’Ali Views Compound, Hack Arabia, and Wudu. Follow him at @fakhro1