It has been said that to buy cheap is to buy often. There is much wisdom in this, as well as the opposite. Buy quality and you will find yourself not having to repeat the process. And quality items not only endure, but they also endear.
Think of a tool you’re fond of. What is it that brings about the feelings of endearment? Does it perform a function exceptionally well? Does the quality of the build make the task more enjoyable? Does it feel solid?
There are several factors that lead to our attachment to material things.
A tool that works as expected, or performs a job well, lends itself to being valued. Anyone who has used a quality knife understands this concept.
We have a handful of paring knives in our drawer, but I have one I prefer and will use every time if possible. Made from good German steel, it never seems to be dull and it just … feels right in my hand. If you own quality items, you know that feeling.
With physical objects, this feeling is easily identifiable. Less so with digital tools, but the idea is still the same. The application that enables you to perform a job with less friction than an alternative is worth your time–and money!
I was given a Poulan chainsaw for Christmas one year. As our home runs on wood heat, this is an important tool for me. And while my Poulan gets the job done, no one would mistake it for being the Cadillac of the chainsaw world. This was driven home for me recently when I was without my saw for several weeks while waiting for parts. I borrowed by dad’s old Stihl; the one he’d been using since as long as I can remember. At least some 30 years.
The feeling I had as that old saw powered through the first log was amazing. The quality stood out immediately — this was a superior product to the tool I use every week. Longevity speaks for itself.
Nostalgia is a fascinating concept. An object can evoke emotions because of the experiences we build with it. This is true for Christmas ornaments and mix tapes. It can be even more noticeable for tools that have helped us get a job done, year after year. Only an effective, quality tool that lasts will have this effect on us.
Some years back I needed a new winter coat (a vital item in this part of the world). Having been through several coats of shoddy quality, I expressed to my wife that I wanted to spend a decent amount on a quality item this time around. The coat I ended up with, from North Face, is in much the same shape now as it was the day I bought it. 9 years later. It’s kept me warm on many a night as I clear the snow from our driveway and yard.
The job I have to do in the cold and the dark is more enjoyable because I invested in a superior jacket that has been tested time and again.
Last, quality is the final ingredient in the recipe of a good product. Although rare, there are some objects that can both help us do a job (efficacy) and last for a long time (longevity), but still manage to not be endearing because the quality is lacking.
Luggage is a great testament to this truth. It can last for a long time, while getting the job done, simply because it’s an item that is used infrequently. I’ve got an old beat up suitcase that I’ve had for 15–20 years, but it is clearly not a luxury item.
In contrast, I recently purchased a GR2 from Goruck. Although I’ve only had it for a couple of weeks, the quality stands out immediately. It has the feeling of solidity described earlier. My research indicated that Goruck makes items that last. And the design of this bag is maximized to get the job done: pack everything you need in one durable bag.
I have no doubt that I’ve just made an investment in an item that will perform well and do so for a long period of time — because it’s a quality item.
What does all of the above have to do with a site dedicated to helping people find awesome tools, toys, gadgets, and other paraphernalia? Simply this: we understand that wise, discerning consumption is an honorable ideal.
The fact that our culture attempts to identify humans as consumers is a terrible reality. But if we all make conscious choices to buy quality items — ones we will use and ones that will last — and for which the human beings who are involved in the creation process are paid and treated appropriately, we’ll make this world a little better.
And if we focus more on our craft than we do on our tools, we’ll do well. The aim of the refresh of this site has this target in mind. Tools are important; let’s make sure we put in time and effort to find the ones that will enable us to do our best, that will last, and will help us enjoy what we do.
There is one other vital fact not addressed so far in this article: peace. When we buy stuff, the end result is we have to take care of it. Store it. Clean it. Back it up. The more stuff we have, the more work is involved and the more stressed we can become because of it. This fact is magnified when the stuff we buy is junk.
Mindful purchases can lead to a more peaceful existence. Partly because we make less purchases when cognizant of all of the above, but also because quality items do what they’re expected to do, time and again, and you begin to put trust in the item. Dustin Curtis explains this well:
[…] when you have trust in everything you own, you don’t have to worry about anything. It’s liberating and an amazing feeling. My life was markedly better because of it.
Tools & Toys is not an encouragement to spend a lot of money (especially money you don’t have), but when you have a need and you’re in the market, or you’re looking for the coolest gifts, we hope this is the place you’ll come to first. We know what the word on the street is — we’ve got an eye for quality — and we do a good job highlighting both the best and latest gear.