Sometimes I buy expensive things, when there are cheaper alternatives. My Apple laptops, my Aeron chair, my KitchenAid Professional mixer, etc… In addition to the added quality/enjoyment/productivity I get out of these things, there is also the quality of service around them.

For instance, a few years ago, I had the motherboard or display inverter on my Apple laptop at the time die, leaving the screen unusable. Apple overnighted me a box, which I put the laptop in, it was picked up that same afternoon, overnighted to Apple, fixed that day, and overnighted back to me. Returning, working, after having been away less than 48 hours. With no charge, no packing, no leaving the house. That is one of many reasons why I still buy Apple products.

I’ve had my Aeron chair for about ten years now. I’ve had it in about 7 different apartments and houses and taken it from Boston to Seattle. I’ve sat in it every day. The back lumbar support pad broke, and the piston started to get a little wobbly. Meaning that there was some side to side movement available, in contrast to the solid German-Engineering-feel it had new. I finally looked into it, and found that Herman Miller provides a 12 year warrantee on Aeron chairs. I called ChairMD, one of their service providers, and a few days later (today) I got a brand new, never been used, never opened, identically sized and configured Aeron chair as my “loaner”. I packed my chair into the box, and called FedEx. They’ll come pick it up tomorrow and ship it off to ChairMD. Who will replace the piston and assembly, the lumbar pad, and anything else that needs fixing, clean it up, and send it back to me. All while I sit here on the brand new Aeron loaner, working in comfort. Then I’ll swap chairs, call FedEx, and get on about my day. All for free. All without leaving the house. Ten years after I purchased the chair. At this rate I’ll get another 10 years out of it. You won’t get that kind of service 10 years after you purchase a $300 Office Depot chair. Nor will your back be as happy.

Finding the cheapest thing isn’t always good. Quality is worth the extra money up front, and often saves you a ton of money (and stress) in the long run.