I’ve recently been thinking about the value of “things” – physical items, business decisions, career choices and whatnot. I’ve come to a sort of conclusion that is probably stating the obvious : determining the value of something is not only personally (or socially) subjective, but can also be the catalyst of an extreme fanaticism which sometimes approaches religious fervor.
sidebar: No real gaming content in this post. I’ve been wrapped up in a myriad of “real life” situations which have – unfortunately – precluded me from getting much gaming in. I have been remiss in not posting anything in such a long time – but could not come to any convergence on the “right” thing to post and still keep the content relevant. I’m not sure how relevant this post is – but at least I’ve got pen-to-paper (so to speak). TL;DR : Josh waxes on philosophical about making priority decisions in the day-to-day life of a human being.
So the situation which got me thinking about the subject of value and worth came right from my family life. I have a teenage son who has become enamored with “limited edition” basketball shoes (primarily produced by Nike). Supposedly these things can fetch large sums of money in the secondary market due to their rarity (and desirability). Each style has a story along with some crazy color schemes and occasional esoteric materials. Frankly it strikes me as marketing genius – but these kids (my son included) – find them extremely desirable and are willing to part with large sums of money to procure them.
This makes absolutely no sense to me. Why someone would save up hundreds of dollars to buy a pair of shoes that they are then too worried about wearing lest they get stained, scratched or even wet is beyond me. This opinion of mine flew completely perpendicular to that of my number-one-son; hence causing familial tension.
I had to swallow my (what I consider) well-developed common sense and allow him to spend some serious cash (money he had saved) for a pair of these wundershoes. Both his mom and I took a big step back – sucked it up – and “let” him spend his money on this endeavor. The shoes came and he coveted them as expected. In fact, he is wearing them today (after dutifully cleaning them and making sure they shone like the sunrise). I then got to thinking about “how crazy it is” that he spent hard-earned money on something so….frivolous.
Somehow I began equating this to the things in my life that I feel are “worth it” to spend that cash on; and realized – pretty quickly – that value is, without a doubt, in the eye of the beholder. I look at what I choose to spend my disposable income on and compare them to my wife’s choices, or my boys, and it quickly becomes apparent that we cannot expect to understand how someone places a value on a particular product, idea or concept any more than we can expect to understand any abstract, highly personal emotion. Explaining to Amy why I consider routinely spending double-digit sums for comic books is the mirror-image discussion to her explaining to me why she needs another shade of nail polish or lipstick when she “already has a billion of them” (my opinion mind you!).
Value is intangible; emotional; personal. It is decidedly not a simple math equation – which is where we often resort to in arguments. Justifying our “value” of something boils down to a personal opinion – and we should take it as such. “Dad, I want the shoes…because” is as valid an argument as any ( even more than the somewhat lame attempt at convincing me they are a good “investment” because they can be resold later).
Now – bringing this back to a somewhat relevant post regarding Fair Game- the term value can (and often is) applied to our store. In fact “valuing” our business is a concept done quite frequently – banks and investors do it all the time in order to determine if it is a good idea to loan money or invest in a business. The fact of the matter is, many (MANY) people we discussed the concept of Fair Game to before opening our doors did not see how we could make it work. “How do you compete with online sales? Big Box stores? How many people will you really attract?”
And my answer now – as it was 3 years ago – is simply “we don’t compete on price, we compete on service”; which given my realization above could be rewritten as “We at Fair Game do not compete on price, we compete on value.” Value – that intangible immeasurable term which loan officers, investors and accountants have a hard time grasping with because it cannot be quantified.
But we feel that we do offer value. In as many different ways as we have customers. That – in turn – makes Fair Game a success no matter how you measure.
Before concluding (and I apologize for the length of this – congrats if you have stay tuned for so long!) I wanted to kind of come forward and explain my lack of presence at the store as of late. I recently took a new position in my “real” job which has me doing some wildly different things than I had been doing for the last 15 years. It is very exciting – and something I went into willingly – however it has meant that I have been traveling a lot and getting familiar with my new position. Luckily Eric, Amy and Richard keep the store running smoothly; Amy keeps our family running at peak efficiency; and everyone involved seems to deal with my (OMG – AS_OWNER_I_NEED_TO____) panic attacks in a laissez-faire way.
I’m looking forward to seeing where my new position takes me – as well as how Fair Game grows. We have some exciting stuff in the works for the store – including bringing in some new lines. It should be a great summer for all of us.
When things are a little less hectic I might even get to play a game or two!