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Business Decisions and Bargain Buys

Here’s a business tip for you… For months now, I’ve been driving past a small computer shop with signs on the window advertising “up to 70% off” on laser cartridges. I must admit that from time to time, just like anyone else, I like to get a bargain. I thought this could potentially be a one of those great business decisions.

So when I realized the laser cartridge on the fax machine needed replaced, I took the cartridge out of the machine and drove over to the store to see how much money I could save.  An added incentive was the fact the cartridges are recycled. I’ve always believed recycling is good for the world and this would be my green contribution of the day.

The laser cartridge did turn out to be a bargain.  The cartridge I needed was approximately 50% off.  So I bought the cartridge, was all excited that I got a bargain, promptly returned to my office and put it in the fax machine to test it.

Suddenly, the fax machine was making a noise I never heard before.  So I opened the lid of the fax machine and took it out.  Much to my surprise and shock, the contents of the cartridge spilled out and was all over the hardwood floor!  I was so stunned that I stood there for a moment in disbelief!  My initial worry was that I ruined the hardwood floors. Would they be stained forever?!

After regaining my composure, I started thinking about how to clean this black, soot-like mess up.  First, I tried to wipe it up but the dry ink smeared anything it made contact with.  Which only made matters worse.

Then I tried the hand held vacuum and that seemed to work well.  Fortunately, for me, after about 90 minutes I was able to clean everything up with no traces of the powdered ink on the hardwood floor.  Following the clean up in my office, I immediately got back in the car and proceeded to the office supply store to buy the brand name laser cartridge. So instead of saving 50%, it actually cost me 50% more!

The bargain was no longer a bargain.

Moral of the story: Buy quality products and not cheaper products that will, in the end, cost you a great deal more.

There is an additional moral to the story:

Ask yourself:

  • Do I create the best marketing materials possible, hire the best employees, provide the best product or service, and in general, run a quality business or do I look for the easiest, cheapest way possible of running my business? 


One thing I absolutely know for sure is that I will never buy a bargain-priced laser cartridge again! Definitely not one of the smartest office business decisions!

Even when being thrifty can be a smart business move, don’t cut corners where it counts most.  Create marketing materials that best represent your company.  Hire the best employee even if it costs you a little more.  The new employee will pay for him/herself in productivity.   Live up to every commitment you make with your customers.  Think through all your business decisions.

Bottom line:  Never take short cuts that will cost you money or potential business. Or ruin your office hardwood floors! (Note: You’d never know anything spilled on the floors. I credit quick thinking for that.)


To your success!


Howard Lewinter guides – focuses – advises CEOs, presidents and business owners across a wide range of industries across the United States to more success – more profit – less stress and worry. Business problems? Business issues? Talk with Howard! 888-738-1855

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