Thursday, July 19, 2007

A Summer Luxury: a Beach Chair with a Canopy

Last summer in Cape May, NJ, one of our two 20-something beach chairs bit the sand. I admired the beach chairs with adjustable canopies. Very clever! They also have arm rests which will hold a drink and a very small paperback or a cellphone. But it was the end of the season and they were sold out. I checked several places and then online when I was home. They seemed very pricey and of course the shipping for a chair is substantial, so I skipped it. End of the story.
This year with friends in Ocean Grove, NJ, I spied these same nifty chairs featured on the walk in front of a nice, old-fashioned True Value Hardware, next to the electric bicycles. The price, $49.95, was a lot for a chair, but I knew it was a reasonable price for this item.
Probably you are not very interested in the details of the chair, but the details of a purchasing decision are relevant for any purchase.
My calculus went like this:
1. That's a lot for a chair!
2. It's imported from China. Ugh.
3. It's made of polyester. Ugh.
4. Will I use it enough to justify it?
And then the positives:
1. Convenience: the chair was right there, not requiring anything other action than paying for it and stashing it in the car.
2. I knew from earlier research that the price was fair, and it's nice to patronize a mom & pop hardware store instead of a big box.
3. It makes sense to splurge on something that will be used on vacation - that's when you want an enhanced experience, after all. When you think of how much is invested in the trip and the accommodations, skimping on the equipment seems foolish.
4. I will only purchase this once, but will enjoy it every time I use it.
5. It is so well-designed I might actually use it in my backyard, not just at the beach!
6. I have been wanting one for a long time. Sometimes one loses interest in purchases when the issue comes up again, but in this case, the impulse was still strong.
True it would have been nicer if it had been locally manufactured out of hemp and recycled aluminum, but hey - sometimes you gotta go with what's there under your nose.

How do you approach buying decisions?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Whenever I've needed beach chairs or lounge chairs for a porch, I've always bought them from tag sales. In most of the New England states on a Saturday morning, you can plan your whole day visiting 10 tag sales and never leaving your town. I've never missed yet buying a good beach chair at one of them. Surprisingly they have all been in great shape and never spent over $5 for one. This is not the norm in making buying decisions for us but for some things you can't beat the tag sale or flea market.