The Price Is Right
Growing up, days home “sick” from school entailed an initial level of excitement, followed by instant regret of the fun I would be missing at recess with my friends as well as the backlog of homework I would be met with upon return. However, while at home in the midst of my “recovery”, there was always one show, and one show only, that was entertaining enough to justify the circumstances. Bob Barker, the infamous Price Is Right host, “chaperoned” me along with countless others of my generation during these “sick days.” What I took away from those moments could not be fully understood until adulthood. As I crossed that bridge between childhood into adulthood, I applied my opinion about why we do the things we do and what we value most.
My guess is these moments occurred sometime/anywhere between 1998 and 2005. Being a Millennial, I was naturally drawn to material items and the newly-evolving, internet platform that would soon transform society via MySpace, AOL Instant Messenger, Amazon, eBay, Napster, as well asLimeWire, to name a few. Communities, states, countries, and the rest of the world, were quickly globalizing, as everything appeared to become less expensive or completely free. During my “sick days” at home, I recall memories of witnessing, for the first time, a contestant winning a free car! I could hardly believe it! An entire car, just given to someone for simply guessing the price of selected items?! They didn’t even have to be right; they simply had to be the most consistent at guessing the closest price of each item! More often than not, the winners had to have thebasic knowledge of consumer pricing for everyday items. Without that, luck was rarely going to magically grant them a new set of kitchen appliances or a 2002 Ford Taurus. The energy and excitement displayed in that show for the everyday things we use and work to obtain slowly engrained an ideology that I later understood as a false sense of security and success. I quickly learned; the price IS always right, yet not without itsconsequences. Regardless of what that entailed, good or bad, the price is always right in our lives.
I remember one of the first big purchases my parents made when we were young was a big-screen TV. Roughly $2500, that eye-bulging gift should have taken a forklift to get into our house. At that time, it was a HUGE deal. We watched movies, played games, and on my days home “sick” from school, I soaked in America’s most beloved game show. That 1000-poundbehemoth brought with it innumerable memories while also showing me how emotionally drawn to material items we are in our society. The question begs, “How much of those material items do we actually believe in or require to grow as humans?”Don’t get me wrong, I’m here too, pointing the finger at the person in the mirror, admitting to my own submission of this truth. I wanted everything the contestants wanted and not because I had any real idea as to why I should have those things, but because everyone on the show seemed to desperately want everything and so I assumed the same for myself. Throughout the years, I expected everything to be on sale or free-of-charge. This has clearly bled into our everyday lives, whether we are interacting on social media or buying a product online. Even if money is exchanged, we have willingly engaged online platforms without paying a penny. The real question remains: At what cost?
Looking back on these moments and how we’ve evolved, I’ve realized a lost appreciation for the quality of a product and where things are sourced. For the most part, our natural instinctis, “How much can we get for the least amount possible?” If the question isn’t “how much” then we resort to expecting, “How little can I pay for the most I’m legally obligated to?”Regardless of where our products and services come from, and where our money is spent, we just want what we think we need or what our closest associates have to “fit in.” The repercussions of consistently prioritizing price heavily outweigh the benefits of striving for a more quality product and service that provideslongevity in its existence and benefits offered.
As an insurance representative, my mind is constantly assessing the risk of everyday circumstances. I’ve seen these instances play out in both magnificent and tragic ways in people’s lives. I am compelled to continually remind myself that I’m only as valuable as the most honest version of myself. One of the most common questions I am presented is, “Can I get a quote?” My resounding response remains a consistent, “Of course! I would love to provide you with a quote, with a price that is right for you.” However, I’ve realized that while the price is certainly always right, the price can only “be right” to the extent I verifywhere someone wants to go in their life so that the everyday obstacles they have to overcome are truly just temporary. The quality of our choices has direct consequences for our lives and future plans. The $10 per month someone might save by having less liability protection on their auto insurance, could lead to catastrophic, lifelong hardship, if, heaven forbid, somethingactually happens. Everything compounds in our lives; Good and bad habits seem to build upon themselves. Whether we are addressing our health, finances, or relationships, to name a few, eventually, good becomes gloriously magnificent while bad becomes tragically devastating.
As my industry is undergoing drastic changes due to the impacts of natural weather events causing major claims payouts for insurance companies on a consistent basis along with increased cost of materials and labor, I’ve heard several tenured insurance representatives state that this is one of most transformative times they’ve ever experienced in the industry. More specifically, this time is referred to as a “hard market.” We are experiencing excessive rate increases throughout the industry for every company and the timeline for this to normalize is a bit unknown. Although this provides us with struggles and complexities, this is also a time of opportunity to reflect upon how and why we protect ourselves. We have finally drilled down to what insurance actually is: Insurance is a protection plan. How you build your protection plan and who you have guarding that protection plan is what keeps you on track for everything you’ve always dreamed of in this lifetime.
The only way for us to get to a better state, and stay the course, is to engage one another in honest conversations. We simply can’t get to a more authentic state if we don’t take the time to understand one another. I challenge anyone reading this to think about why you’re spending your hard-earned money on the nextitem you’re purchasing and how that will impact you going forward. Is this choice REALLY your best option or in your best interest? Inevitably, for every force in nature, there is an equal and opposite reaction. The price is always right, and right can become whatever we want it to be. I just hope we can get to a place where right, actually feels right.