I recently got into a discussion with a friend about the devaluation of loyalty by the modern-day consumer. We were both in the market for a new set of snow tires and me, being the resourceful computer savvy individual that I am, immediately went to the internet and started shopping around and comparing prices. I knew every tire seller within 20 miles of my house. I knew who charged what for installation, who had the ones I wanted in stock, who would fill my tires with air vs nitrogen and I knew who could get me in quickly. I spent a couple of the following evenings revisiting those sites while I waited to see if there were any sales and procrastinated about getting them later rather than sooner (always a foolish thing to do with snow tires!).
After explaining this to my friend, I asked him how his search was going. He replied, “Didn’t you notice them on my car? You parked right beside me.” I asked him how he got them so quickly. He just said, “It was easy, I just used the guy I always use. You see, I’m loyal to people because they take care of me, you’re not.” He didn’t mean it in a disrespectful way but I was admittedly a bit insulted at first. Then, the more I thought about it, the more I realized that he was right.
During my search I had checked a couple of times for tires for him and had found a couple good deals but hadn’t had the chance to pass them along. I asked him what he paid and it was a good 15% higher than the deals I had found. When I told him this, he was unfazed because of the value he puts on returning to businesses where he knows the people and has built relationships over the years.
The bottom line is, he paid more and got them quickly and was happy with the process whereas I got a great deal on mine but had to wait to get them in, wait to get them put on and then had some complications at the garage that prolonged the process where all I got was a shrug of the shoulders and a “Sorry Buddy”. So who won here? If time is money then my friend won by a long shot but if you are like me and feel that saving money on a quality product is worth waiting for, then its a bit closer of a contest.
His comments about my lack of loyalty continued to bother me because I never really thought of it that way. I looked a little closer at how and where I spend my money and came to the realization that I do still possess some loyalty. I visit the same coffee shop every week with my Dad, I buy my gas from the same place, I have taken my kids for haircuts to the same place for years and I visit a local restaurant enough that some of the waitresses know me and my kids and they greet us by name when we come in. I suppose where I really lack loyalty is with the big purchases. Personally, I feel that using all of today’s resources available will always find me the best and cheapest deal. I’m all about saving money but won’t sacrifice quality on a big-ticket item. Are you like me or like my friend?
My opinion is that today more and more people are becoming money conscious to the point that they only visit certain retailers when there is a sale. They only want to buy something if they are getting a deal. Black Friday, Cyber-Monday and Boxing Week sales that are held over until mid-January are proof of this.