Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Catchpenny – Wordplay Wednesday™ 01/16/2019

Is Cheaper Better?

Competition is a stalwart of American capitalism. Quality once purchased at Lord & Taylor (1826) for those with dollars to spare, eventually gave way to lower priced, but adequate quality versions of its products for the working class at Sears & Roebuck (1893), et al.

Some point along the way between then and now, low cost became just plain cheap, and any real value disintegrated into the desire to save a buck. Meet the monetary moniker of questionable quality …

CATCHPENNY (kachʹpenʹē) adj. – made merely to sell, cheap and flashy; n. a catchpenny commodity.  [WW #199]

In a rare cynical moment, my first thought on spotting catchpenny in the dictionary was, well, that about sums up about 90% of our commodities these days. The flashier and trashier, the better!

A little bling goes a long way, and no one can deny our standard retail fare is lacking in quality. Thinking back, the 1980s probably represent the last good decade* in which catchpenny items were in the minority. *… “49% of 7,000 consumers surveyed in a separate 1981 study said that the quality of U.S. products had declined in the past five years …”

Product knock-off list. Hilarious!
By the 1990s, copycat catchpenny products flooded markets and we wholly succumbed to cheap buying power.

The only ones to win in this scenario are the catchpenny manufacturers and their patent rip-off clients. We consumers are plagued by faulty and short-lived products that twenty-five years ago would have been tossed off the plant floor, as unable to withstand the tests of time and wear. Excellence still mattered.

Cheaper is rarely better … you get what you pay for is an old adage that has become an unwelcome truism.

Word Challenge: CATCHPENNY. Mind your pennies and blind yourself to the bling, as you fit catchpenny into your week of quality writings.

Learning knows no prejudices or boundaries, and it isn’t fattening! Expanding your mind is a no-cost, simple joy. Do you feel that way too? What’s your inspiration? Share your creative genius and Wordplay Wednesday comments below.

Write first for yourself … only then can you write for others. (L.Rochelle) 


LinDee Rochelle is a writer and editor by trade, and an author by way of Rock & Roll. She has published two books (of three) in her Blast from Your Past series about pioneering R&R Radio DJs. The true behind-the-mic tales make GREAT Holiday Gifts available on Amazon (eBook and print): Book 1Rock & Roll Radio DJs: The First Five Years 1954-1959; and Book 2Rock & Roll Radio DJs: The Swinging Sixties. Coming soon … The Psychedelic Seventies!


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