Let's Talk with Maggie Toussaint

You Don’t Get What You Don’t Pay For

May 12, 2022

In the course of real life, a saying I haven’t heard in a while cropped up: “You don’t get what you don’t pay for.” The context for this was in regard to a purchased item. Raise your hand if you’ve ever bought a knockoff brand of something and been dissatisfied. I have, but I’ve also had the good fortune to buy a lookalike purse and been just as satisfied.

So, what does this saying mean? How can it be both true and false?

If you’re like me, there are some foods, goods, and services you want to be top drawer. Take aluminum foil. Over the years, if I was out of foil and the store only had the store brand of foil, I would grudgingly take it, but I always had problems. Usually it ripped too easily or the end was banged up and it wouldn’t unroll properly. During the pandemic and curbside pickup, I occasionally had order substitutions, and one week I got the store brand foil. And it turned out great. The same quality as the name brand I preferred. I was ecstatic.

I feel that way about certain name authors too. I have my favs that I auto buy. In general, I stay too busy to venture out to try many newbies, but there are certain exceptions, and when I “find” a new author that I love, I’m over the moon.

Last year a friend mentioned an author she enjoyed that was new to me. On a whim, I purchased the recommended book, and then greedily went back for more. So far I’ve read five series Lindsay Buroker wrote, and I eagerly look forward to her new releases. Even better, recently I reread two of her series and heartily enjoyed them. The funny parts seemed funnier and the suspenseful parts kept me in the story even though I knew what came next. I savored every moment. Again. That’s a rare treat.

I’m reminded that often in the arts there are twenty-year “overnight successes.” As in, it takes someone a long time to achieve recognition and/or fame from their efforts, though the quality of work is evident all along. The difference seems to be that a certain project is more marketable, for whatever reason. Author examples of this are Steve Berry, Charlaine Harris, J.K. Rowling, and lots more.

You don’t get what you don’t pay for. For a mystery author like me, this saying also means that it’s one thing to play it safe and stay in your comfort zone, but it’s another altogether to step out of that box into the wide world. For me, this directly applies to a new career as author Valona Jones. It’s a departure, sure, but that means the adventure is just beginning.

SNUFFED OUT, the first in Valona Jones’ A Magic Candle Shop Mystery, is available for preorder now. Check it out at https://valonajones.com

For a chance to win GONE AND DONE IT, book one of my Dreamwalker Mystery series, share something you auto buy. This book is in digital format and print, though a print copy is only available for those with a US mailing address.

Also, while you’re here, check out our May Book Vault Giveaway! One winner will select the book of their choice from the vault offerings, with print books only available for US winners, though most books are in ebook format as well. The contest runs from May1-18. ENTER HERE


Posted in Let's Talk, with Maggie Toussaint • Tags: , , , , |  15 Comments


15 thoughts on “You Don’t Get What You Don’t Pay For

  1. Hey Maggie, we have certain items at the grocery store that we’ll auto-buy. In fact, foil is one of them. For most of my life, I was like you and bought the national brand, then ventured out with a brand called Simply Done. Wow. Thicker, sturdier, etc. We’ve found other items of that brand are also excellent. They’re also far cheaper than the big brand. One big item I’ll auto-buy is an iPhone. I’ll be coming up for a replacement later this year and will look no further than Apple.

    1. Hi Terry, we share similar preferences in foil and phones! I’ve had several phones through the years and one of my kids that lives far away encouraged me to get an iPhone so that we could Facetime and I could see the grandkids. I did so and have never looked back. Anything for the grands, you know? It’s interesting how our preferences develop, and how they can change over time.

  2. I’m not much into designer purses. I go for function rather than a statement, but my latest Kate Spade is so perfect, that I may never buy another brand. I don’t have many books that are an automatic buy for me, but I can’t wait for SNUFFED OUT, so I pre-ordered it. Congratulations!

    1. thanks for that pre-order, Cheryl. Much appreciated. I am hoping it will be the first of many books with my new publisher. I am so not into brand name purses either, but there was a time that Vera Bradshaw had the perfect crossbody bag for me. I received one for a gift and grew to love it. Then I bought more or similar looking bags through sales or eBay. However, I started needing to carry more stuff around with me so I needed something bigger and lighter. Found it on Etsy and put it on my Christmas list. It was love at first sight! Should probably order another because then I’d have one to use while one was in the wash…

  3. Maggie, another similar saying is, “You get what you pay for.” Many years ago, I splurged on a Coach handbag. Prior to that, I’d bought inexpensive handbags. They never lasted more than a year before I’d have to toss them and buy a new one. Seams would split, zippers would break, etc. I still have that original Coach bag, which is now about 35 yrs. old, and several others. Those expensive bags have actually saved me money over the years since I no longer have to replace a cheap handbag every year.

    Best of luck on your new pen name and new series!

    1. Lois, I’ve heard the “you get what you pay for” phrase before, though this twist on it fascinates me. I’m sure grammarians are appalled at the double negative, but it sure catches my eye! Glad that you’ve had good luck with brand name bags. I need to clean all of the dainty small “everyday” sort of bags out of my closet as I carry more than that around with me now. Juggling three pairs of glasses, facemasks, sanitizer, and all the regular purse stuff isn’t dainty at all! Thanks for weighing in!

  4. Hi Maggie, geez I had to really think about things I might auto buy! I finally settled on my dog’s flea and tick medicine. A fabulous Vet once told me they used Pet Armour on all eight of their dogs and I’ve used that since. I have my favorite authors, but have enjoyed discovering new ones. I entered one of your contests and won Shrimply Dead. I loved it. The wandering alligator storyline was one of my favorite aspects of the book. Thanks

    1. Hey Darlene, So glad to hear that you enjoyed my wandering alligators in SHRIMPLY DEAD. I had a lot of fun writing that story! I think if we still owned pets I would have a tendency to stick with a highly recommended/effective flea and tick product too. Best wishes for your pets and good luck in the contest!

  5. In the writing biz, I think that translates to paying your dues. Lightning does strike, but it’s random, just as in real life, so sometimes the only path is that looong slog. I prefer the expression “a rising tide lifts all boats.” If it’s good for you it’s good for me. 🙂 As far as buys, I’m a firm believer in store brands over name brands just because they’re usually made by the brand name company. I’ve learned over the years not to go cheap with shoes. Spend more up front and almost always those pricey shoes will last longer than the cheapies which split and fall apart after a year. As for books, I’m open to all sorts of authors and have been pleasantly surprised stumbling across a random series that I fall in love with.

    1. Hi Diane, I am enjoying reading what people mention here as auto-buys or essentials. As someone with a nautical heritage, I also love the philosophy of a rising tide floats all boats. Here if someone is stuck on a sandbar others help out! Love how you read so widely!

  6. I tend to favor Kate Spade crossbody purses these days. I had a non-brand in a similar design, and it didn’t last. The edges got frayed. Meanwhile, I’ve been using my black Kate Spade purse for years. I bought another one with a similar design but a bit smaller and in a different color. So in this case, brand name equals quality, at least to me. Good luck with your new series. The concept is great!

    1. Nancy, You and Cheryl share the same taste in those bags. How fun! Thanks for your kind words about my new series. I am looking forward to it coming out. January seems a long time from today, but the days will zoom past.

  7. I am trying to lose some weight by eating more healthy so auto buys lately have been salad, veggies, yogurts, and lean meats

    1. What a great answer, Cherie! I think there are many of us that got a bit rounder with the pandemic and food so readily available. I know I need to put healthy eating auto-buys on my list to keep me out of the crackers.

  8. My winner is Cherie J. Congratulations, Cherie! Please contact me with your choice of format for Gone and Done It.

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