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Hypocrisy_Central's avatar

How important is the value of something if someone finds no worth in it?

Asked by Hypocrisy_Central (26821points) August 25th, 2016

Over the past weeks a reoccurring idea keeps popping up about value vs worth, if something has a perceived value but not to he/she who possesses it, does it have any worth? Say Larry Lunchmeat buys a lien sale storage locker because he seen many tools from through the open door at the viewing before the storage units were auctioned off. He has the winning bid and as he is clearing the locker comes across a ton of Civil War artifacts. He knows they are old, reads papers and such that says it is from the Civil War, but he doesn’t care, to him it is old junk. Another person clearing a nearby unit sees him tossing the artifacts in a pile with trash. She/he tells Larry Lunchmeat he was very lucky that his unit had all that hidden in his unit. Larry Lunchmeat is unimpressed and says is just a bunch of old junk he will toss out. If the woman/man offers him $60 dollars for all of the artifacts and Larry Lunchmeat accepts, then she goes and sells them making a huge profit, because Larry Lunchmeat saw no worth in it to him, did he somehow suffer loss? To sell something of apparent value for far less because it has no worth the possessor did they cheat themselves or did the person who knew the value and worth it was to others cheat him? Can someone have something of value but because to them it is not anything to be desired, it is worthless to them?

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9 Answers

MrGrimm888's avatar

Sounds like Larry L. made out. He was just going to throw the items away. Now he has money for his ‘trash.’

The woman /buyer thinks she made out too.

Such things as ‘value’ are in the eye of the beholder.

To me, both hypothetical people won,in this scenario.

Value is determined by circumstances. For instance, ice is of little value to an Eskimo. But it is rare and valuable to someone living on the Equator.

msh's avatar

You’ve been tuning in to the very essence of eBay. Everyone has an affinity about something- no matter the item. They see that type of item and they click into the zone. From the smallest campaign buttons, or antique train signal laterns. “To each their own.” Good luck to those who wish to acquire ships like the QEII however, storage would be a pain.

LostInParadise's avatar

I pity people like Larry, who can only perceive value in utilitarian things. He has an artistic deficiency and is limited in the extent to which he can feel pleasure. If everyone were like him, we could do away with art and the study of history. That leaves two ways we could live our lives. We could all be hedonists or we could deny ourselves even simple sensory pleasures and spend our lives asking God for forgiveness every time we experienced them. Fortunately, most of us are not like Larry. Are you?

rojo's avatar

In the past, I have had this very conversation with my mom. She loved garage sales and would visit many over the course of a weekend. She also sold items she purchased in a small craft mall. She was convinced that an item was worth whatever value it had listed in “a book” while I maintained it was only worth whatever the customer was willing to pay for it. We are still disposing of all her “bargains” that never sold or she thought were worth too much to sell.

rojo's avatar

In my genealogical research I often find that things that, while not necessarily worth a lot of money, have value because of their history within the context of the family; old letters, photos, handmade items and the like. Many people disagree. When a loved one dies so much is lost because no one takes the time to actually go through their belongings and see what was important to them, the mementos of their life. If it isn’t jewelry or tiffanny lamps it ends up in the dump. But these people were real, they lived, they loved, they lost other family members and kept up with each others lives by maintaining those little things to remind them. To me, that is priceless.

I suppose I am not really surprised, after one generation, no one even cares where their family is buried. How many out there know where their grandparents graves are let alone have visited them since they were perhaps taken out there with their parents once or twice? Not faulting anyone here. I visit my dads whenever I get to Alabama but after I am gone my children will not and I know this.

Coloma's avatar

Value like purpose, is in the eye of the beholder.
The old, ” ones mans trash is another mans treasure”.
Most people would not see the value in my 18 yr. old pet goose that I raised from a 10 day old gosling. To many others he would be seen as nothing more than a stupid bird, maybe a dinner entree, or a down comforter, or a slab of Pate to be spread on a cracker. To me, he is the animal love of my life, a friend, buddy, companion and an experience in bonding with an incredible animal that most will never have.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Well, here is an example: When I owned the mower shop we would order parts from our distributors / manufacturers. What they charged us for the parts were based on the time and materials it took to make the part, plus a bit of a mark up for profit, but probably not much.
They would suggest a list price of 20% over cost, for us to sell the part to our customer.
I tried that for the first few weeks, and quickly realized 20% was just not cutting it. We were drowning, so I started marking up the prices on the things I thought customers might find more valuable. I raised them slowly until the customer squeaked, then I’d back off the price a bit and we were set. Some things had a 100% markup, but no one complained, number one because they didn’t know, but #2, what ever it was they felt was worth the money.
Spindle assemblies come to mind first. They’re relatively easy and cheap for the manufactures to make, but they’re heavy and solid and look impotent. I got 100%+ on those, with nary a peep form the customers, because they sure looked like they were worth $39.99. (Our cost was $15.)
Same with blades, belts and carb kits, among other things.
Due to this, and other changes I implemented, our gross steadily increased from $125,000 at the end of our first full year, to $575,000 our final year. (Never mind the net! I don’t even want to discuss it.)

Hypocrisy_Central's avatar

@rojo In my genealogical research I often find that things that, while not necessarily worth a lot of money, have value because of their history within the context of the family; old letters, photos, handmade items and the like.
That brings to mind a conversation of a woman I was moving on a job, she had all this stuff she had from friends who have passed away. One she ended up with was a dear friend she knew since 3rd grade. When her father came to take care of her remains all he cared about (that the surviving friend said), was stuff of apparent value, the photos, letters, keepsakes, etc. the father (OK he was a stepfather, the natural father had already passed) was going to just toss in the dumpster, and she felt that was tantamount to saying she (the departed) had no worth and had no importance, so she preserved some of her belongings to show, (in her mind at least) that her friend was valued and important to someone.

I suppose I am not really surprised, after one generation, no one even cares where their family is buried.
Families use to be more tightly knitted. When I was a kid families often lived in the same city or in cities nearby. Now people want to ditch the day to day contact with families and leave them to those occasional times of their choosing, add in the Internet and cell phones, people might see the need for actual face time to be much less than it used to be when you had no choice.

@Dutchess_III Spindle assemblies come to mind first. They’re relatively easy and cheap for the manufactures to make, but they’re heavy and solid and look impotent. I got 100%+ on those, with nary a peep form the customers, because they sure looked like they were worth $39.99. (Our cost was $15.)
Same with blades, belts and carb kits, among other things.
If something had a perceived value, similar to the MSRP, but something happens where the widget is in short supply but develop into higher demand, at what point would assigning a price to the widget becomes excessive, greedy, or unethical? People spoke of price gauging when it came to wood after a disaster or when one was imminent. If the item, the planks, plywood, etc. is needed, and become more valuable based on the changing situations, so long as the buyer doesn’t complain about the price, it is all good, but if they complain about the price even though the need becomes more urgent they are being cheated, or the seller being greedy?

Dutchess_III's avatar

That’s my point. I didn’t set prices to the point where they complained @Hypocrisy_Central. They felt prices were fair. Sometimes they expressed surprise, thinking it would cost much more.

I was just trying to keep us afloat. And I did, for 4 years. Survival is not greed.

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