Simple Living Works!

Perceived Value

Posted on: February 14, 2014

biblische Grafik GemeindebriefEarly in my career, when I worked as Public Relations Director for a small Midwestern college, I naively asked a senior staffer why the college’s tuition went up each year.

“Perceived value,” he said. “If we don’t cost as much as our competition, people will think we’re lower quality.”

I was flabbergasted then and I still am. The cost wasn’t tied to inflation or expenses but to image. No surprise that college tuition and expenses continue to rise, and student debt as well.

Competition is supposed to drive prices down. At the same time we have perceived value that keeps prices of luxury cars high cars (besides CEO’s inflated salaries, that is) because they wouldn’t want to be confused with economy cars.

If we’re consumers that can see beyond our desire for status, then we have several strategies to deal with this tyranny of appearances.

1. We can refuse to buy, refuse to be drawn in by “perceived value.” Ask the salesperson to relay our distain for perceived value to the business owner.

2. We can decline to compliment friends who do buy, even if we’re invited to stroke their egos. We don’t have to be mean. We can let our real values be known in a friendly way.

3. We can model alternative behavior. For example, wear Fair Trade clothes from other countries, and when complimented, briefly tell the story of the craftspeople who made it. Tell your friend where they can get Fair Trade items too. In this case, the value is not only in the beauty but also in the relationship with the artisan.

4. We could wear a T-shirt or display a bumper sticker: Perceived Value ≠ Real Value. Be prepared to explain.

5. Devise your strategy to confront/counteract/disarm perceived value and to promote/encourage real value.

I find the best way to define REAL VALUE is to use the Five Life Standards of Living More with Less. (You may choose another, such as the Ten Commandments.)

For example, since the resources and services of Simple Living Works! are free, they have no perceived value, though they have immense real value.

What’s NOW with SLW!

  • Presidents’ Day, Mon., Feb. 17 | Washington’s Birthday, Feb. 22

The Presidents’ Days offer an opportunity to remember two great Presidents and, in the process, to consider important qualities of political leadership. READ MORE

Remember the story of Japanese-American internment during World War II.  READ MORE

Simple Living 101 Social Media Supplement: Blog #1 – Intro  |  My personal experience and preferences… READ MORE

Valentine’s Day  (art & text can be used as bulletin inserts) | 3-A537–Death Penalty | 3-A539–Human Rights: An Affair of the Heart | 3-A542–First Valentine (above) | 3-A549–Prisoners of Conscience

  • Simple Living 101: Tools for Activists (shy or bold) + Jerry’s Excellent Adventure – Feb. 1 SLW! Podcast | Sharing the Joy of a Simpler Lifestyle Through Speeches, Workshops, Events, Study/Action Groups, Simplicity Circles and Social Media

What’s Coming

What’s Happened

What Others Are Doing

More Resources

Check out a few of these thought-provoking, timely resources that might meet your personal, family or congregational/group needs. They’re all FREE.

Podcast Reminder

You can access all SLW! podcast audio and the show notes either at or at (then click window #3). Listen through your computer, iPod, iPad, iPhone (or equivalent). SUBSCRIBE through or your favorite podcast service.

Access individual episodes: #1-3: Getting Acquainted | #4-5: Beyond a Consumer Lifestyle | #6-11: Whose Birthday Is It, Anyway? | #12: Living More with Less UPDATED | #13 – Let’s Get Ready for a Simpler Lent & Easter  | #14 – Simple Living 101: Tools for Activists (shy or bold) + new Social Media Supplement | #15 – Author Cecile Andrews, Champion of Simplicity/Community Conversation Circles

Do your friends a favor. Share this blog and podcast.

Peace, Gerald “Jerry” Iversen, Chief SLW! Activist

Like SLW! on Facebook. | Follow us on Twitter. | Follow us on Pinterest.

*GRAPHIC: Spirit of Simplicity: #7-A830

We do not solicit or accept donations, nor do we sell anything. All our resources and services are free of charge. We’re an all-volunteer organization.

*Treasury of Celebrations: published by Northstone, a division of Wood Lake Publications, BC, Canada, best known for its Seasons of the Spirit curriculum.

Through social media, we extend the mission and resources of the non-profit organization Alternatives, 1973-2011. Simple Living Works! web site home page | Theme/Seasons Index

To learn more about SLW! – our MISSION, for example — please listen to our getting-acquainted episodes, especially #1 and 2. We produce a half-hour podcast twice a month, hopefully educational and inspiring for you, your family and your congregation or group. We blog several times a week.

Copyright: Creative Commons non-commercial attribution share-alike license.

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