Quality costs. The problem is, the bad guys know this and will often price a poor quality product at a high price in order to benefit from “You get what you pay for” psychology. Like anything else in life, Steve’s Third Axiom applies: “You can’t protect yourself part-time, from people committed to taking advantage of you full-time”. So what’s one to do? There are several scenarios:

  1. It is very unlikely that you wil get good quality at a low price. Accept it. Move on.
  2. A high price doesn’t guarantee quality for the reason mentioned above.
  3. The higher the quality goes, the more the Law of Diminishing Returns kicks in: You pay proportionally more the higher the quality, because it takes more effort to squeeze out excellence.

Here are some solutions:

  1. Educate yourself. Become a profound expert in those things that matter to you. There will always be even more profound experts who will still be able to screw you, but the chances are smaller the more you know about a subject matter.
  2. Ask tons of questions. If the answers sound spurious, walk away. Understand why you’re doing what you’re doing; it’s called intellectual integrity.
  3. Surround yourself with people you trust, but don’t trust them too much. Trust isn’t a substitute for knowledge and intellectual integrity.
  4. Want less. Stay focused on the stuff that really matters.

Here’s an example of intellectual integrity: Yesterday I wrote about my favorite olive oil, RAVIDA. I commented that the price was very high, not as a complaint, just a statement of fact. The GM of RAVIDA, Natalia Ravida immediately emailed me to clarify the reasons for the high (relative to inferior products) cost. I didn’t even have to ask the question. That’s how you build trust.

“I would like to point out why RAVIDA is more expensive than many other oils [she writes]:

– We only press top quality local olives. RAVIDA is not cut with cheaper Mediterranean olive oils.

– We press immediately after picking at low temperatures and BRIEF malaxing (long malaxing and high temperatures kill the antioxidants and burn many of the delicate volatile flavors but give a higher yield). Our average extraction ratio  olives:oil produced is around 13% (average 18-24%).

– Once extracted the oil has no contact with oxygen and is stored until bottled in small 1000 Lt containers (oil is usually stocked in 5-20,000 litres containers) in a special vacuum packaging, under controlled temperatures (16 C°) throughout the year.

– To guarantee extra freshness, RAVIDA is bottled only as orders arrive at the warehouse. Therefore we do not have a big bottling line.

–  Our careful selection of only the best olives together with our dedicated production and storage procedures, produces an olive oil with excellent values: low acidity (0,1% av.), low peroxides and high polyphenols (antioxidants). These guarantee the stability of RAVIDA over time.

– Our aim is to produce olive oil like a glass of Gran Cru Wine: allowing us all to enjoy the full definite aroma of freshly mown grass with notes of lemon zest, its distinctive personality (RAVIDA is a natural blend of three Sicilian varieties), with balanced pepper and bitterness and especially clean finish in the mouth. Enjoy RAVIDA for its total lack of greasiness in the mouth.

Most of all, WE love our olive oil and are the most demanding consumers of RAVIDA. Thank you for understanding the passion we put in our production. Enjoy it!”.

ME: I do enjoy it and just ordered a case of 6 from the new Canadian distributor.