I've rarely found that you get what you pay for.
People generally research which product is most convenient for their needs, and price is part of convenience. Sometimes after doing long hours of research we find out that one product is superior to the other even though it has also a lower cost.
Case 1: Sale Priced Items
I overheard someone in a store arguing sarcastically that as soon as an item goes on sale, it must lose value since "you get what you pay for".. i.e. an item that is $110.00 at the store goes on sale for $85.00 so it must have lost value since it went on sale, right? Wrong! Just because it went on sale doesn't mean it has magically lost value compared to when it was not on sale.
Case 2 - Software
This is obvious.. everyone knows that software is not always about payment of money. Some of the best software in the world, such as Apache, is good software. If Apache is free, then how can you get what you pay for? If it's free it should be garbage. Research whether or not Apache is good software, don't just assume that if Apache is free to download, it must be bad software. The "you get what you pay for" theory implies that Apache is garbage. That is just not true.
Another case is MIT or BSD licensed software code that is free. All BSD and MIT licensed software code must be garbage since you get what you pay for, right? Actually some BSD and MIT software is the best software out there.
Case 3: Hardware Business
I know about product quality and what one has to pay to get it and what one has to sell at in order to have fun. If a business is having enough fun, they can charge less money for the product because they don't treat it like work - they treat it like fun. Many expensive businesses are very cocky businesses - and they end up making less money because they are so cocky about their rates and charges.
I have dealt with the business men who charged a lot for distributing their goods - I was promised much higher quality products because their price was higher. I wasn't a walnut though - after doing research I simply found out that there were plenty of other factories offering the same item for a lesser price with more payment options, faster shipping, and better customer service. The guys who charged a little were the factories - direct from the factory. The guys who charged a lot, were the folks running middleman broker companies - the middle men who connected to the factories through several other middle men.
The more middle men, the higher the cost - not the higher the quality! Hear that? Just because there are more middle men, does not mean the quality automatically goes up - in fact the shipping time and quality of service actually can go down quite a lot with a highly priced item.
Recently I received a network crimper from ebay that was $10.00 and had more features than the one at a local store for $29.99. It does both phone cables and network cables.. the one at the store only does network cables. I didn't get what I paid for - I got a good deal. A good deal is when you don't get what you pay for - you get more than what you paid for. People get good deals every day. Proof that you don't get what you pay for.
Case 4: Mom and Pop Don't Accept Unconditional Returns
Take the typical mom and pop store who sells items at higher prices than the big store. At the big store I can take my item back within 30-60 days or sometimes even longer with the package torn up and packaging missing and many times they will even accept it even if the shrink wrap has ridiculous amounts of tape on it. Try taking something back to a higher priced mom and pop store where supposedly customer service is better - they will not accept your return because they are very tight with the money and they are very closely knit with their accounting - they know that if they lose this one sale and the product is missing packaging, they have no choice but to reject the return. Now - some mom and pop stores aren't like this.
From my research, the big chains are more likely to take returns back than smaller stores that have higher pricing - there is a reason those smaller stores have higher pricing - because they aren't as efficient or profitable as the big stores. Now, it is true that some big chains are not very nice with returns and some mom and pop stores are really good with returns - it depends on the circumstances. But the point is that just because mom and pop have a higher price than the big chain, this does not automatically mean their service is better. Research must be done first - to determine the situation - hence my law: I get what I research, not what I pay for. If it happens to be a higher price paid for better customer service, it was out of research that I should have paid this higher price - not out of an assumption that more payment equals more quality.
There are many times I've gone to a big chain store to buy a product because I know very well that the return desk is not tight - they are easy going - so if I am to have any problem with my purchase being incompatible with what I have at home,I know i have flexibility.
There are cases where mom and pop stores do offer better service, and in some cases even at better prices than the big stores - so do we really get what we pay for, or do we get what we research? If you research that mom and pop have a bettter price and better customer service - you are much better off than if you simply assume that you get what you pay for.
Assuming that higher price means higher quality is absolutely ludicrous.
Case 5: Mac, iPod, and Apple
One who assumes that he gets what he pays for is often of the same delusional type that thinks that since he paid a high price for his iPod, surely no cheap labor was involved in the making of the iPod.
Does this automatically mean that all fake copycat iPods are better than original Apple iPods? Absolutely not - please research first, and you may or may not find a cheaper priced iPod which is more suited to your needs - but not manufactered, or not distributed by apples - in fact depending on your research you may find out that apple does not even manufacture the iPod - they simply market it and all iPods are made in - you guessed it, a cheap labor factory in Asia. Does this mean that all fake iPods are made in the same factories as the real iPods? Absolutely not - do your research. Does this mean that the iPod may use that same brand of memory that the fake iPod does, and some internal parts of the iPod may be of low quality - possibly lower quality than the fake iPods? Possibly - it depends on what your research shows.
A similar delusional person will assume that since he paid a high price for his Macintosh computer, surely the macintosh is some how more environmentally friendly than other computer brands - since generally environmental products cost more than non-environmental products. In fact, if one does his research, and stops making assumptions, he will find out that Macintosh is the least environmentaly friendly computer around - due to the plastics they use in making their computers. Dell is actually one of the highest environmentally friendly brands. I'm not trying to bash mac here - if I researched that the environment wasn't my highest priority, and if I researched that Mac offered a certain product that with research proved to be more beneficial than a Sun or a Dell, then I would purchase that mac (especially for its BSD capabilities.. and also, Apple is working on the environment issue).
Just because a price tag is higher does not automatically qualify that Mac to be better quality for my unresearched situation. For one who does not research is delusional.
Case 6: Consultants
Consultant in affordable area of town may offer low pricing and higher quality than one in a big expensive area of town (New York apartment, $7000 rent per month versus a similar skillful person that lives in a house at $700 rent in another town). A good consultant may charge lower rates than a similar good consultant. I am not talking about outsourcing to another side of the world - that is not fair comparison. Compare a highly skilled consultant (or doctor) in the same country to another similarly skilled one who lives in a less affordable area.
In most cases, the consultants who love their jobs are able to charge less since they love what they do. Those who charge higher hourly wages generally want to retire earlier because they don't like their job that much - or they want to live in a high class area where they have to charge higher hourly wages - their priorities are living in a high class area - their priorities are not consulting!
Some consultants are born into an expensive cocky city and wish to stay there because of convenience (family ties, etc.) It is even possible for some guy living in the most expensive part of New York to offer lower total cost and better customer service than a person living in India or China. However, no assumption should be made - one must always do the research - never make an assumption that higher cost must equals higher quality!
Do not Assume
No assumptions should be made though, until research is done. The "get what you pay for" is a dangerous assumption. We can make generalizations.. but this is a dangerous one.
Those so called prestige 1980's Porsches have dashes that are terribly engineered which crack easily - compared to the cheaper 1980's japanese cars which I've seen plenty of in scrap yards without cracked dashes.
Honda Civics were cheap reliable cars - if you get what you pay for, why is the civic a cheap car if it is so reliable? Many expensive luxury cars are unreliable. Get what you pay for? Hogwash.
You don't pay your mate to have children, and you don't get better children by paying the child or your wife. (well... maybe... nevermind!)
City Costs More, Must Be Better
Is living in New York better than living in Montana or Alberta or Spain or Nova Scotia because New York costs more? It depends how much research you do. If you research that one location is better than the other, then it is better than the other because of good research you did - not because of large payments that you made. Maybe that expensive apartment is right on the street that Fire Trucks roar down, and maybe that cheap house is in the middle of quiet peaceful land right near the city but far enough away that it isn't bothersome.
They are convenient. Prices are high. Product quality isn't better there.. the prices are higher because they are open longer hours. But your fridge in your home is open even longer hours and is even closer to you. Simply pay the lower price and put items in the fridge during the day time. No need to drive out at 3:00am in the morning to a high priced convenience store. Simply walk over to your fridge and find an item that you paid a lower price for. Some of the package sizes in convenience stores make me laugh.. 10 gram chip bags for $2.00. I must be getting what I'm paying for! Someone will argue that what you are paying for is "convenience". That's nonsense. Walmart stores are "convenient" and they don't charge high prices. Not that I'm advocating Walmart - I am just using it as an example of why one must research the item they are purchasing, instead of making assumptions that since walmart is convenient, it must be expensive.
No where do we assume that higher price automatically relates to higher quality.
That ficticous linear relationship called "you get what you pay for" shall be ridiculed by those in the know.
Take that quotation: "you get what you pay for", and shove it up the person (who said it)'s ass. It means nothing.
Researching what you are getting, or what you are going to get, is far more important than paying for what you may get.