Author Topic: Discerning or Appreciative?  (Read 3439 times)

Debbie M

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Discerning or Appreciative?
« on: March 10, 2013, 02:28:05 PM »
Given almost any category of goods, my boyfriend has an opinion on what the best one is.  So he's good to consult if you're about to buy a camera or something.  On the other hand, he also has picked out the best pizza place, the best bbq place, the best gas station, and he will rarely settle for anything less, which is annoying.

When is it better to find the best (by which I mean the best value given your priorities) and when is it better to just appreciate a wider range of choices?

I think I prefer quality for one-time or otherwise rare purchases of things that will be used indefinitely.  But for things you buy repeatedly, I'm not so sure.  For example, there are several brands of cheddar cheese I will happily buy (the cheapest sharp hormone-free cheese, the cheapest organic, and, when it's on sale i stop resisting the super-cheap super-delicious store-brand aged-18-months cheddar that is probably from cows that are quite mistreated in ways that promote resistant bacteria).  And there are some I won't (the grated stuff with some powder to keep it from sticking together but which also makes it taste bad and not melt properly)--I won't even take that for free anymore.

I think it's dangerous to get too snooty to appreciate basic pleasures, but then I also kind of feel like I'm not appreciating life fully when there are several categories of goods and services that I won't even look into because I don't care--or worse--I don't want to know.  (I don't want to try a maid or a sports car or illegal drugs, even though there's a chance I might enjoy one of these so much that it would be worth the expense and trouble.)

When are you a discerning consumer who goes for quality, and when are you an appreciative consumer who finds satisfaction in whatever's handy?

Nords

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Re: Discerning or Appreciative?
« Reply #1 on: March 10, 2013, 03:16:05 PM »
Given almost any category of goods, my boyfriend has an opinion on what the best one is.  So he's good to consult if you're about to buy a camera or something.  On the other hand, he also has picked out the best pizza place, the best bbq place, the best gas station, and he will rarely settle for anything less, which is annoying.
Perhaps your BF is ready for the blind taste test on pizza, BBQ, beverages, or whatever else he prizes so much... to see whether he can really tell the difference.  Tom Stanley makes a great point of that in "Stop Acting Rich". 

Personally, I've never had a bad pizza.  Spending extra for "the best" would just be casting pearls before swine.  Anytime I can have pizza is an serotonin-releasing event, but getting a whole Costco cheese pizza for just $10.42 is an additional jolt of pleasure...

mobilisinmobili

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Re: Discerning or Appreciative?
« Reply #2 on: March 10, 2013, 04:22:07 PM »

When are you a discerning consumer who goes for quality, and when are you an appreciative consumer who finds satisfaction in whatever's handy?

It depends on what it is. If you're huge cheese fan, having specific cheeses you want could be important, or a certain bath lotion if you're really into that, for example.

This sounds a little like creeping know-it-all-ism though. It's impossible for your bf to be an expert in every area.. and if you don't have a strong knowledge base "the best" really boils down to personal preference.

Think of it like conscious spending.. except spending attention/time instead of money. Is it worth going to the best restaurant for a special anniversary and making special effort to do so, probably yes.

Is is worth going to 4 supermarkets every week to find a specific brand of cheese that your bf rarely ever eats? Probably not.

The reason hearing something like this really bothers me from the standpoint of open communication is basically he's invalidating everything that isn't his opinion. If you prefer Restaurant X to his Restaurant Y .. well his Restaurant Y is 'the best' so why would you even consider your choice of Restaurant X.

From my personal point of view.. if I was dating someone like this it kind of means they're quite inflexible and unwilling to change. So if you want to travel, have fun at a new venue, try an exciting new wine, sounds like you might get shot down.

So many of the things you mentioned boil down to personal preference that personally I'd take umbrage if someone claimed it was "the best" and therefore invaliding my opinion / personal taste.

StarswirlTheMustached

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Re: Discerning or Appreciative?
« Reply #3 on: March 12, 2013, 12:44:52 PM »
I'm with Mobilis; you can't be a connoisseur of everything. It just sounds like snobbery to me.

That said, there's nothing wrong with being discerning in some areas. It's just important not to overdo it, I think.
I've gotten a taste for good tea and so order middling good from a small business I used to live near. Now, there's much, much better tea available for order that I could pay 10, even 100 times as much for. They're not worth it, I'm pretty sure. I can, however, tell the difference in a blind taste test from one of my blends and a slightly-cheaper grocery store tea, so I pay the premium to some folks I happen to like and get a beverage I really enjoy.

One might even be able to make the case that a certain degree of discernment can probably make you more Mustachian by teaching you to truly appreciate things, rather than wantonly consume cheap crap. A certain degree of discernment and know-it-all snobbery are two different things, though. You can be discerning, and appreciate quality, and still go for the cheap stuff day-to-day because that's what makes sense to you-- if you don't let snobbery get in the way. (i.e., "This wine comes in a box! It could never compare to the 200$ wine I sampled last summer at..." --  they're both wine, so yes! It can compare. You might be able to tell the difference [though I've seen some double-blind studies that suggest otherwise] but it's a difference in degree, not in kind. )

tooqk4u22

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Re: Discerning or Appreciative?
« Reply #4 on: March 12, 2013, 01:04:25 PM »
Personally, I've never had a bad pizza. 

That's because pizza is like sex.....even when it is bad, it is still pretty darn good.

NumberJohnny5

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Re: Discerning or Appreciative?
« Reply #5 on: March 12, 2013, 05:30:34 PM »
That's because pizza is like sex.....even when it is bad, it is still pretty darn good.

I'll take a wild guess and assume you haven't been to Chuck E Cheese since being an adult? I don't know an adult who goes there for the pizza; though at the same time I don't know a kid who scoffed at a piece of their pizza.

Oh, to be a kid again, when even the $1 frozen cardboard pizza was something to get excited about.

MsSindy

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Re: Discerning or Appreciative?
« Reply #6 on: March 12, 2013, 06:28:52 PM »
Personally, I've never had a bad pizza. 

That's because pizza is like sex.....even when it is bad, it is still pretty darn good.


+1  :)

sheepstache

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Re: Discerning or Appreciative?
« Reply #7 on: March 12, 2013, 06:54:36 PM »
Oh god.  My spouse doesn't understand or can't accept the concept of diminishing returns.  So if he finds a tool that's seems really solid and has a good reputation, he's willing to spend more.  Good, right?  But if he finds a slightly better tool for twice as much, he rationally knows it's not twice as good and that for his purposes it wouldn't even need to be twice as good, but he wants to buy it anyway because he can't stand the thought of buying the original tool because to his mind it's now second-rate.

Maybe it's related.