Sometimes, you just gotta pay more for better service. Here’s a post on five things I’ll pay more in order to receive better “service,” and seven other things that I don’t care too much about.

The Five That I’ll Pay More For…

1. Health care

If I can get cheaper x-rays at the local clinic versus the large regional hospital, or have my friend do some dental cleaning for free, why not? But if I ever have to make a choice between… say, a hospital that cost less versus one that’s more expensive but have better care, I’d pay more for the better care — especially if its for an important procedure.

2. Education

One of the things that I’m slightly happy about is the fact that after decades of college, I still don’t have any student loan debt. Although I haven’t paid too much for my education (state university and community college), I believe I would pay more for a better education if I was given the choice to.

This is especially true if it was for my children. Obviously I haven’t put too much thought into it, but if the insitution (whether it be K-5 or university) can provide a better education and experience for my children, I would opt for the better choice — even if its more expensive.

In short, I wouldn’t want money to be the main reason on why my children can’t attend top-tier insitutions. If anything, it should be because they’re too stupid to get into the school.

3. Auto repair

Mind you, auto repair as in — the car engine went kablooey— not “car repair” as in: a new windshield wiper, oil change, tire rotation, air filter change, brake pad/rotor/drums servicing, or any other kind of preventive maintenance care on your car.

One of my biggest beef are with auto servicing shops that attempt to “diagnose” your car and give you advice on “repairing” your vehicle for ludicrous amount of money. If your car is out of warranty and there’s a problem, take it took a reputable auto repair shop — not an auto servicing shop (especially those chain ones).

When my car has problems that require moderate to serious repair, I take it to Herman’s Expert Automotive in Anaheim. I’ve referred them to friends and family, but some of my friends have complained that the shop is too expensive. The thing is, although their labor charges may be about $10 an hour more than some other auto repair shops in the area, I sincerely believe their price to be extremely fair and competitive, especially when you factor in the “actually-fixes-car” factor.

If I’m going to spend money to fix a car problem — especially if the problem has to do with the safety aspect of the car — I would spend more money to get it done right the first time; and if not, I’ll have the comfort to know that the shop will have a guaranteed on the workmanship and parts.

4. Internet Connection

Including this in my list made me realized how dependent I am on the Internet, and a part of that made me feel sad, but uh… oh well?

I remember back in 1995~1996, we got a separate phone line at home just so we can utilize dial-up Internet without getting interrupted by incoming phone calls. In fact, before the Internet Connection Sharing feature was available in Windows, I was using Sygate Home Network to share a dial-up connection to the rest of the household.

Thinking about it now, I’m not sure how that was tolerable but we endured the slow speed for years.

Finally, around 1999, broadband internet service was available in my area via the cable company and we immediately forked over the extra money for faster Internet. I still distinctively remember the first time I browse the web on broadband: I was downloading some adult material PC game demo at around 600 Kbytes/s. It was heavenly.

So uh… yeah. I’ll continue to pay more for faster Internet. I have to. I think.

5. Hotel for special vacation

Let’s say somehow I tricked some girl into marrying me, I’d most likely spend the extra penny for a nice honeymoon. See, the girl I’ll marry won’t care about these type of things (because you know, she won’t be materialistic), but it’d be a nice treat for the both of us, because it’s a special trip. As for hotels on general trips, read the entry below…

The Seven That I Don’t Care About

1. Cellular phone

I’ve been using a cellular phone for almost a decade now, and all the services seems to be about the same. The cellular service commercials can tout the coverage, support, and features all they want, but as far as I’m concern, they all suck, and they’re all expensive.

2. Restaurants

Some people really care about the service they get from restaurants, and I understand it completely. But for whatever reason, I don’t care too much about the services I get when I frequent dine-in restaurants.

It’s not that I like bad services, or don’t want people to provide good service to me, it’s just I don’t really mind one way or another. Bring the food to me (eventually) and I’ll be happy. If the food is good and hot, my experience is good. If the food taste like crap, then my experience is bad.

And hey, if I get truly get extraordinary bad service? I’ll be saving money on tip.

3. Hotels for general trips

I’ve stayed at numerous types of lodging through the years, and I believe I’m okay with whatever it is as long as I know what to expect. If I’m going on a short trip, or a trip by myself, I won’t spend too much on a hotel with great service or facility. As long as it’s moderately safe and clean, I’ll pick the cheaper one over the fancy one anytime of the day.

As mentioned, I won’t actively seek out crappy hotels with rude staffs, but if I’m paying $40 per night or less, I don’t really expect to be treated like royalty.

4. Air travel

After thousands of miles and numerous international flights, I still haven’t got the chance to try out first or business class air travel. Am I missing out? Probably.

But the wallet says no thanks and my brain says who cares, so unless we’re talking about air travel along with the “hotel for special vacations” listed above, I will be content with economy class, and spend the extra money on other things — like, even faster Internet connection. Heh.

5. Haircuts

I have family and friends that spend $60+ at salons to get their haircut. When my barber raised his price from $8 to $10, I contemplated cutting my own hair. I never understood the whole expensive haircut deal, especially if its for a routine haircut. I can probably understand it if you need to get your haircut done at some fancy place before your wedding, but $60+ every two weeks or every month? Not my cup o’ tea.

6. Oil change

Although an oil change is an important preventive care maintenance for the car, I generally just choose whatever quick-lube place I have a coupon to, at an interval of about 5,000 to 10,000 miles (depending on my driving habit for the period).

Again, I probably won’t choose the place that has been on the local news for scamming people, but I certainly won’t be paying more at some brand name quick-lube place just because they’ll vacuum my floors and do some crazy 30-point “inspection” on my car.

7. Supermarkets

Some supermarkets, their goods aside, do provide better services — such as the cashier check-out lines will actually be faster than the self check out lines. But yeah, I don’t care if I have to bag my own goods or fiddle with a self check out machine (not anymore anyway). When I go to a supermarket, I just want to buy the things I want at a reasonable price.

Yeah, it’ll be nice if the store has a policy of actually staffing the cashier so that you don’t have to wait a year to leave — but it’s just not something I care too much about.

So. Those are mine. What’s yours?