Monday, October 09, 2006

Monday Musings

You get what you pay for .... and sometimes a lot more!

There is always a lot of discussion going around about the value of a good bargain. Is it better to buy cheap? Shop till you drop for that perfect discount (and spend more on petrol in the process) Buy the bargain brand because it's such a great saving? This article isn't really about whether you should buy on the cheap - my thoughts on that can be summed up very briefly: If it's good and on sale, grab it. If it's just cheap, turn around and walk out the door: you will always regret it.

But what about things you don't actually have to pay for. What are they worth? Are they worth less because there is no fixed price asked? Should you pay what someone else in the same market would ask or give yourself a discount or even a freebie?

About three weeks ago I discovered podcasts and Cast-On. In the first episode I listened to Brenda mentioned the difficulty of making a fair quid at what she does. Luckily, she is able to apply for grants which cover costs and maybe pay some of her bills. But there is also a donation button - available for those who would like to contribute to the continued efforts of Cast-On.

... Before you click away - I am NOT having a go at people who are unable to donate or choose not to. I just want to explore the idea of how we place a value on something without a price tag. Please hear me out ...

This dilemma made me think a bit of those street performers you see sometimes. You know, the ones with the great unicycle/flaming torches/sword swallowing/houdini tricks. They draw a huge crowd, everyone cheers and says ooooooohhhh then as soon as the hat comes out the crowd melts away like snow in Sydney. I would pay £5 for a magazine and get about the same amount of enjoyment out of it as I do from Cast-On. The last theatre tickets we bought were £7 (which I thought was a bargain).

Should we do a direct comparison and say 'Ok, Cast-On is worth £5 an episode, where's the donation button!' I don't think it's quite that simple. A podcast or street performance does not have the same overheads attached and who knows, the artist in question may prefer to be on the street (so to speak) and poohpooh the idea of a fixed rate.

I think it is important that we recognise and encourage writers and artists who have chosen the alternative route to fame. If that is through a donation then all well and good, but you can show support simply by saying hello or telling a friend. Creativity from street artists, bloggers and podcasters improves our world and gives us access to ideas and entertainment we may never have been able to reach or afford. A bargain, yes, but definitely not cheap.

Ciao, Diane

Last week's Monday Musings



At 4:55 pm, Anonymous amanda cathleen said...

You bring up a very good point, it is hard to put a price on things. Espcially when its for a donation.

At 2:20 am, Blogger Heather said...

A very thought-provoking post. Very often the benefits of something that is more expensive are not obvious - eg Free Trade coffee and chocolate and the benefits to the growers involved, and organic farming - we need those little critters under the ground, be nice to them.
And do we really need something that is cheap because it is produced by slave or child labour?
examples abound....

At 2:34 am, Anonymous Margaret said...

Try being a farmer there is no donation button. we live off what we make from the farm which these days can be a bit but then most of it can go into the bills and the Government. yes it is a great job and i enjoy it, but farmers will soon be heritage listed. i could not live anywhere else but on a farm.

At 12:39 am, Blogger Christine said...

What I always find interesting is the number of people that donate to Cast-on, but don't make a donation to any of the other podcasts they listen to. Every time I contemplate asking why, I figure I am going to sound like a whiner - so I don't ask. There are two podcasts that I know of that regularly get donations, and the rest of us don't.

At the same time, I don't push the donate button in my show, because I've had people say first hand that it really puts them off. Interesting to think about all the way around.


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