WHAT A POTATO PEELER REMINDED ME ABOUT VALUE

Do you use a potato peeler for your potatoes, or just a sharp knife? Personally, I prefer a specific peeler, and it can also work great on carrots to prepare your healthy mid-morning snack.

Marketing has given us at least 5 Ps (Product, Price, Promotion, Place and People). Convenience is associated with price, and is an important factor in choice when we decide to buy something; and that’s one of the key reasons for the success on online shopping outlets such as Amazon.

Price is also a key factor, and when I needed to buy the aforementioned kitchen utensil, the Chinese store less than 100 metres from my flat sprang to mind. I chose one that seemed up to its important culinary function, and it was cheap. After 3 months and about 20 potatoes, the blade became lose and then last week, it just broke. There were signs of rust at the joint. I decided to take it back to the shop.

For better or worse, the owner’s teenage son and daughter were behind the counter and set about blaming me for not taking care of it and “What did I expect for what I paid for it.” They didn’t even address me as usted! As my parting shot, I told them I was never coming back there again.

Once I’d calmed down and overcome my indignation, it made me think about what I’d learned from my little crappy potato peeler. Despite the textbook “how not to deal with a customer complaint” treatment, in some ways they were right. If you pay 2 duros for an item, you should go into a transaction knowing what you are buying and lowering your expectations. Your complaint should be based on the price-quality ratio.

Many people still expect to find the utopian quality product at a bargain price. When you buy a low-cost, low-quality product (your perception) you get an immediate feeling of satisfaction, and then later on disappointment. When you buy a more expensive product that you know is good quality, you may feel disappointed in yourself or even guilty at spending so much, but later on, you’re more likely to feel satisfaction. This is obviously a simplification of a topic that hides complex psychology impulses, rationalisations and marketing strategies.

However, your potatoes should provide food for thought, and avoid anger at the friend who smugly reminds you  “I told you so.”  

If you’re learning English, the following phrases may come in handy next time you rationalise your low-cost purchase.

Buy cheap, pay dear (expensive).

You get what you pay for.

Buying cheap is a false economy.

If you pay peanuts, you get monkeys.

En fin, lo barato sale caro.

What do you think?

TALK/XERRADA A L’ESCOLA OFICIAL D’IDIOMES RUBÍ

THE SECRETS OF LEARNING A LANGUAGE according to Polyglots

It was a pleasure to give the talk on THE SECRETS OF LEARNING A LANGUAGE at the EOI in Rubí on Wednesday 27th April. I’d like to thank Lucia Bonet for organizing and coordinating the talk so efficiently, and all the students and teachers from the school for their warm reception and being so receptive and interactive.

Gràcies a tots i totes per l’interès i la càlida acollida. Fins la propera! I’m looking forward to coming back soon.

Polyglots and successful language learners are notoriously good at learning languages and in an equal measure bad at really expressing how they do it.

 I summed it all up in 5 points along with a couple of bizarre secrets, quotes and stories in Catalan with slides in English!

I’d like to publish the main points of my speech here, but as you can see in the title, they’re “secrets”!

If you’d like to book me for a talk on a variety of topics related to language learning, bilingualism or improving your voice in English, please get in touch! Posa´t en contacte.