The subjective nature of value explained by my tractor


If you’ve listened to the last episode of the podcast, you know that I’ve recently bought a tractor.  I think it’s the greatest thing in the world and I’ve been telling everyone about it.  It is exactly like when a little kid gets a new toy.  He wants to tell everyone about it.

So today I was telling some coworkers about my tractor.  Their response was: “Why in the world would you get a tractor?  That makes no sense.”

Well, to me, it makes perfect sense.  I own an acre of land and have a lot of trees and brush that require tending to.  I like being outside and doing yard work and my ride-on mower just wasn’t going to be enogh for what I wanted to do.

That didn’t convince them although I think that is fair since I would have had similar thoughts until the past few years.  But what really put them over the edge was when they found out how much I paid for it.  I hold that I got a great deal on it.  People whom I’ve talked to who know a little bit about tractors have agreed with me.  My coworkers, however, could not fathom how I could pay such a price for a tractor.

I told them to go ahead and look at how much tractors cost.  They went onto Craigslist and eBay and upon seeing the price of each of the tractors (new and used) for sale, would say one of the following:



“Are you kidding me?!”

“That much?!”

“Why would anyone pay that?!”

Value is subjective.  To them, they would never spend the money it would take to purchase a tractor.  Tractors do not interest them.  A tractor would not satisfy a want or a need that they have.  That’s why the prices seemed so absurd to them.

One of my coworkers has some tattoos.  If he told me how much they cost, it would probably seem pretty high to me.  If he told me that he got a good deal, I would have to take his work for it because I know nothing about tattoos and how much they cost because I never had any interest in getting one.  That certainly doesn’t mean that he shouldn’t get one.

Perhaps my coworker has spent as much on tattoos as I just spent on the tractor.  Who spent their money more wisely?  To me, I did; but to him, he did.  In other words, there is no correct answer.  We are all individuals with our own individual desires.  Our interactions with others aimed at satisfying these desires are what set the prices for the things that bring us satisfaction.  And ultimately it is what makes the world go round.

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I think it would have more value with sparkle paint.