Quality versus Price

A subject that has for many years fascinated me and continues to fascinate me the older I get. I can never quite get over how some people value things totally differently to others.

Of course, everything has its relevance to one’s own situation. Water to a thirsty person has far more value than to someone who isn’t thirsty. But the quality and the price of the water doesn’t change. So long as some evil bugger isn’t charging a high price for it.

Let’s take the simple example of a bottle of wine. I’ll narrow it down even more, to a bottle of Catena Malbec, one of my regulars, a delicious full bodied red wine. Read more about My Favourite Wines.

What does a bottle of Catena Malbec cost?


On average, Majestic Wines and Waitrose charge £13.99 for a bottle. It’s definitely worth that price/cost. Did I mention, it’s delicious.

However, both companies often have this wine on sale at £9.99 – I buy it in bulk, when it’s on sale. You can even get another 5% off if you buy 6 or more bottles from Waitrose. I never buy less than 6 bottles of any wine.

So, the same bottle of wine can cost £9.99 or £13.99 – is there a difference in the quality? No, it’s exactly the same wine. So one cannot judge the quality of that wine purely based on its cost. That would be totally illogical

What if I went to a restaurant and bought exactly the same bottle of wine? Well, restaurant markup is apparently in general 200-300% of the trade price. I don’t know what the trade price of Catena Malbec is, but I wouldn’t be surprised to find a bottle of Catena Malbec at a price around £30 in a restaurant.

Now, the restaurant obviously has costs to cover. I’m not saying the price is unfair, not at all. But the same bottle of wine can cost £9.99, £13.99 or £30.

It’s the SAME bottle of wine. One simply cannot equate quality to price or cost of an item. The two things are totally disconnected!

One can always argue, that in general if you pay more for something, you’d expect it to be of better quality. One can also argue, that is something is made with more care and attention, then it will of course cost more. But simply judging the price and saying to yourself, it’s cheap it must be rubbish – or conversely it’s expensive, therefore its good, is clearly deluding yourself and totally missing any consideration of quality and value.

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