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Everyone loves a bargain. Discovering designer sweaters for just a few dollars, fixing and flipping falling-down houses and stealth bidding for online auctions are the modern day equivalent of hunting and gathering.

What makes a bargain a bargain? Is it the price? No doubt about it, price is an important factor in determining a bargain. But there’s more. Value is equal to the price minus the personal experience, expressed like this:

Price – Personal Experience = Value
P – PE = V

Is a fifty-cent loaf of bread a “value” if you have to wait in line for 30 minutes?

Is your new used car a “value” if you find out it was dredged out of New Orleans? If your new sofa takes four months to come in and no one calls you and then it’s the wrong fabric, is $499 still a “value”? When the personal experience is lousy, any price is too high.

Can you remember a time when you were disappointed by something you thought was going to be a value? How about a time when you were so blown away by your experience that the price was a non-issue?

Would Ms. Jones rate you as a value?

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