Value for your money: those who do and those who don't
We all like to get value for the money which disappears from our pockets. Some, it is said, know the price of everything and the value of nothing. I believe that most of us have an instinct of whether or not we are getting value for money (VFM). We know when we are being had and we don't appreciate it.
VFM may not necessarily be the same as cheapness. Cheap goods or services can turn out to be mightily expensive in the long run. A pricey restaurant will tempt you back if the fare is good enough but not so if the chef is dodgy. Or, as in my own case, if the helpings are too small. An inefficient low cost operator can turn out to be the dearest of all.
During the bubble we lost the run of ourselves and VFM went out the door. One of the few benefits from the recession is that some goods and services are again becoming more competitive. This process is vital to economic recovery. However, the change back to reality is patchy. Bad habits still remain, especially in the professions.
Farming simply did not share in the bubble so VFM has always been foremost in our make-up. It hurts to see hard earned euro being gobbled up by the greedy and the wasters.
Within farming there are those whom I regard as giving VFM and those who are not. As a body of people I regard contractors as delivering VFM. They work long hours under pressure. Their gear is expensive. They often give long credit and after all that many have gone bust. Undoubtedly contractors are some of the good guys that make Irish farming work.
A close second are the maintenance people who service the machines in the field and those who keep milking parlours functioning. They too cannot be clock-watchers or nine to five people. I'd also reserve special mention for sheep shearers. Contrast the €2 charge per head for the back breaking job of shearing a sheep with the €10 for the human haircut in terms of VFM. I won't even venture into the cost of highlights and perms!
I'd be less enthusiastic about VFM given by general plumbers, mechanics and electricians especially those on the fringe of farming. Rather than repair sick fridges/cookers/TVs/washing machines it is often better to throw them out and buy the new one.
When I see all the splendour of the modern car showrooms I think: "My bill will be inflated to pay for this."