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You Get What You Pay For

you get what you pay for
Brazilian one Real coin over a wood surface

This happened to me, and it could happen to you, too (plus, a Brazilian saying for you).

As you know, I’m an avid language learner. I need all gadgets that might make my language learning life easier, such as MP3 players and speakers. And once I wanted to buy a kind of special speaker we have your Brazil that you can connect a flash drive to it, and it will play all songs – or tracks – that are stored in the flash drive.

As I was walking down the streets in the downtown area, I glanced at many products that were sitting on tables and stools. All very bright and shiny. Some of them costly, but most of them were pretty cheap.

Price shopping…

Of course, my gaze was drawn to those that displayed to the lower price tags. I’ve always been a language student and college student, and at the time I wasn’t a teacher. So, basically, I was always in a budget.

I went for one of the cheapest devices. The guy who sold it looked fishy, a quite shady type you can find on the streets of my hometown. I knew how to deal with him. I asked him directly.

“How much?”

“Thirty-five bucks.”

Upon hearing this, the guy from the stall right beside this one said he would sell his for 25 bucks. Since both products seemed to be the same, that offer sounded like a great deal.

And it was. I bought it, but as with many pirated products that you buy here in Brazil, it doesn’t come with any guarantee. If you’re lucky, great. If you’re not…

A sudden realization

When I got home, I connected the flash drive to it and it played the songs that were stored in the device. This speaker wasn’t easy to use. You had to press too many buttons, it wasn’t intuitive. But at least it was very, very loud.

I used it until it ran out of battery. Thinking that everything was okay with it, I connected it to a power outlet and…

It didn’t charge.

At first, I thought it was the recharger. I tried switching to a different model, but to no avail. Then I tried to charge it again, and again, and again, and it never did charge.

The joke’s on me. Ha-ha.

I went to the same place and bought a second device, but not from the same guy. I had been had before, so wanted to try it with someone else.

The second one I bought stopped working three days later. It never helped me.

All along, I couldn’t really listen to my MP3 files. I lost precious time.

And with that thought in mind, I decided to give in and went to an electronics store.

I bought a more expensive model – not without a thumping heart – and went home.

It worked, and it did so for the following five years.

Lesson learned

The Portuguese expression is: O barato sai caro. Literally: “the cheap thing goes for a lot of money.” Which is a saying to admonish those against the cheapskate behavior that we have when choosing a product or service solely based on price.


Have you ever done that? Is there any situation you’ve been in that you think this saying applies to perfectly? Leave it in the comments below.

And if you want to learn more vocabulary, be sure to visit our vocabulary page.

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