The other day two women stood next to me in the company bus as I was heading home. They greeted each other, and one of them put away the mp3 player that she was using.

The following conversation ensued:

“Oh, I have the exact same mp3 player! Is it the one from Shopping Chain Y?”

“Yes it is.”

“I saw it in an ad and I bought it. I wanted a small iPod … but this is so much cheaper than an iPod!”

“It is, those iPods are so expensive.”

“Maybe you can help me with it?”

“Why, what is the problem?”

“I am having so much trouble copying music to it!”

“Yes, I have too.”

“All that works for me is that shop where you can buy music for it.”

“I use that too. But I find it annoying that I cannot play those songs anywhere else.”

“Yes, that is so bad, and the songs aren’t really cheap either.”

“I tried so many hours to copy my CDs to the player, but it just doesn’t work.”

“I’m having the same problem.”

I refrained from commenting on this. I did get a good look at the mp3 player, and, geek that I am, looked it up Shopping Chain Y’s online catalogue. Lo and behold, the model they bought had a 1 GB store space for 99 Euros. A 2 GB iPod Nano is 149 Euros.

So let’s see. They saved 50 Euros… and got an inferior mp3 player with less storage space, which is horribly difficult to use, locked in by DRM (aka Broken by Design), have to purchase songs from an expensive online shop and needed “hours” to get it to work?

I think those 50 Euros “extra” would have been a wise investement.

And the moral of the story? Paying extra for a quality product is not always a bad idea.