Two for a Quarter

When I was growing up there was an awesome bakery not far from our house. I swear to this day I can still smell the incredible aroma of all the fresh baked goods. There were donuts, cakes of all kinds, breads, and brownies. Brownies! I love brownies and my addiction started at that little neighborhood bakery. 

 

They were big brownies with frosting on top. I’d bet a brownie like that would be a couple of bucks these days. But back then they were only 10 cents and better yet, you could get two for a quarter. 

 

And that began at a very young age my introduction to marketing. 

 

I remember trying to take advantage of that “special” pricing but the wife half of the husband and wife team who owned the bakery said I was such an important customer that I could have both brownies for a dime. I was very proud of that!

 

As I grew older (and wiser) I became aware of exactly how “un-special” that two for a quarter deal was. But I also became aware of how little attention was paid to the real cost of “deals” offered by businesses to their customers. 

 

I saw lots of people take the two for a quarter special without stopping for even a second to consider the value of this so called deal. They might have figured it out eventually, I’d imagine most of them did. Some might have gotten mad about it but I’m hoping most laughed, especially at themselves. 

 

The bakery was around for many years and the “special pricing” was well known by the locals in the neighborhood. But every now and then you would see an unsuspecting outsider walk in and more times than not they “bit” on the two for a quarter deal. 

 

What I still find interesting was when the price of the brownies went up to fifteen cents the “deal” became two for thirty-five cents. Virtually no one took the deal. Every customer instinctively knew that 35 was more than 30. Apparently something in our brains makes us think that one quarter is worth less than two dimes. 

 

Today many people are still fooled by pricing schemes meant to hide the lack of value in a product. My Grandfather used to always say that price without quality is waste. That’s as true today as it was back then.

 

There is a reason some things cost more than other things that seem to be the same. That reason is most often the quality that’s included in the things that cost more. 

 

Most everyone has been fooled by a low price or a “good deal” from time to time. That happens to me when I focus too much on the purchase price of the product and not the value, hopefully long-term value, I’ll receive in return. 

 

If you’re in the buying mode make sure to consider whether or not two for a quarter is indeed a better deal than 20 cents. That old saying is still true today….if it seems too good to be true, it most likely isn’t true. Make sure you look past the price to determine if the value you’ll receive over the life of whatever you’re buying is really a deal or not.

 

If you’re in a selling mode make sure to explain the value of what you’re selling in a way that even people looking for the best price can see the real cost of what they are buying. If you’re a professional salesperson then you owe that to your customer.


One old beat up well worn quarter is still worth more than two brand new shiny dimes. Don’t get fooled into believing otherwise. 

Price and Value Are Not the Same

My Grandfather used to say “Price without quality is waste.” What he meant by that of course was that getting a good price on a bad or wrong product was not a good deal.

 

He ran a small grocery store for nearly 50 years. He started when all grocery stores were small and it was his philosophy on price vs value that allowed him to survive when the “corner stores” were being devoured by the Supermarkets. 

 

He knew that “price” was simply what people paid and that “value” was what they received in return. When people were convinced that there was additional value to be had they would willingly pay an additional price. 

 

Good organizations and great salespeople know that same thing. They do not sell on price, they instead sell the value that their product or service offers their customer. 

 

To be sure there are some people who buy almost solely on price. Most often these buyers won’t be tempted by value because they are relatively short-term thinkers. A common refrain is “I can buy two of these for what I’d pay for one of those.” That could be true but what they fail to see is that the “one” will perhaps last 4 times longer than the “two.” 

 

But here’s another reason so many people seem to buy on price: poor salespeople cause them to make that mistake. 

 

Poor salespeople do not have the ability to communicate the value their product provides the customer. When a poor salesperson, or more likely, a poorly prepared salesperson hears their price is too high they immediately begin thinking they need to discount their price to earn the business. What they don’t understand is that they aren’t “earning” anything by accepting less for their product or service, they are merely buying a sale. 

 

When a salesperson buys a sale it’s likely everybody loses. The salesperson and their company obviously loses; they have built value into the product and they are not receiving the money they need to sustain that value. 

 

But here’s a surprise; the customer likely loses too. They lose because the product or service that they want will eventually go away. If it doesn’t go away the service that came with it will decline and they will really need the service because the value and quality in that product will almost certainly decrease over time. 

 

When I was just a kid I’d be at the Farmer’s Market at 4:00am on Saturday morning with my Grandfather to hand select only the finest, freshest fruits and vegetables that our customers would buy later that day. 

 

I suppose that most people don’t remember those days but when I walk into the produce area of my local supermarket today all I see is the stuff we wouldn’t touch back then. Today if you want truly high quality fruits and vegetables you either go to a speciality market or you go directly to the Farmer’s Market yourself…and you pay more, especially at the specialty markets,…because you see value in the quality. 

 

It turns out, price without quality IS waste, maybe not a complete waste but you’re certainly not getting what you pay for.

 

If you’re a salesperson today then learn the difference between price and value. Understand that you’re doing your customer a disservice by not explaining the value your product or service provides to them.

 

They may feel lucky getting a good price today but the sting of poor quality far outlasts that lucky feeling. 


Your customers, and most every bit of research supports this, your customers would rather pay a fair price for true quality than receive a low price on an inferior product. When you understand that absolute fact then you understand what you need to know to actually earn a customer’s business.

Price Without Quality

My grandfather owned a small grocery store back in the day when all grocery stores were small. His business survived long after the much bigger supermarkets came on the scene.

His successful business was built on one simply philosophy: price without quality is waste.

I’ve always kept that philosophy in mind whenever I was considering a major purchase. It was in mind a few weeks ago as my wife and I were looking for a new bed for our guest room. My always bargain hunting bride spotted a “going out of business” sale at a furniture store near our house.

We found a bed that suited our needs and began talking with the friendly salesperson. One of the first things he told us about was the 10 year warranty on the frame and springs. My hard to fool wife asked who would honor the warranty if the store was out of business. 

The salesperson assured us we didn’t really need a warranty anyway because the beds were so well made. He then told us to decide about the purchase soon because “when they are gone they are gone for good.” We told him we would let him know and he almost immediately said that if they ran out they could make more after all. 

We left. A salesperson who tells one lie will almost certainly tell another.

Price without quality is waste. 

It’s entirely possible that the bed was the best bed ever made but “quality” isn’t only about the product you buy, it’s about the person you buy it from and the company they represent. 

The product itself is at most a third to maybe half of what is known as the “value proposition.” Good salespeople have the ability to explain the full value proposition to their customers. The challenge is that there are not enough good salespeople to go around. So when we’re a buyer we usually have to figure out the real value proposition ourselves. 

When considering the real value of your next big purchase remember that there is more to value than meets the eye. Real value comes from the expertise of the person selling you the product and the company that supports your purchase decision in the event that something goes wrong. 

If the salesperson sells you a product that doesn’t meet your needs and there is no support after the sale then even the best price can quickly turn into a really bad deal.

Remember no price is a good price if the product doesn’t do want you need it to for as long as you expect it to do it. 

Said another way… price without quality is waste.