Daniel T. Richards

Daniel T. Richards

Digital Strategist. Rhetorician. All Around Swell Guy.

Don’t Eat Bad Lobster: The Adam Carolla Corollary

Lobster is a luxury food. At least that’s how we see it now. (It wasn’t always that way. It used to be peasant food. After all, who wants to eat giant insects from the sea? Without butter!?)

It’s really no surprise, then, that people want to save a few bucks while enjoying some tasty sea steak.

Enter Red Lobster. Or don’t, actually. At least not according to Adam Carolla, master ranter and king of podcasting. In a recent episode, Carolla spun yarn about the perils of being cheap at the wrong time. I’ll paraphrase here, but if you’re not listening to his show you’re missing out on something special:

Say you’re in the mood for lobster, but you don’t have a lot of money. What do you do? Many people—as evidenced by Red Lobster’s success—choose to find the cheapest lobster around and go for it. But Red Lobster isn’t that good. (This blog is not receiving kickbacks from any Red Lobster competitors that I know of.) Their lobster isn’t fresh, it’s not usually cooked correctly, and the rest of the fixins’ are less than desirable. (Lobsterita? Really?)

And here’s where Carolla’s common sense kicks in: Why not save the money you would spend at Red Lobster, wait a few weeks while you earn a few more bucks, and head to a “high-end” lobster house—to a place that is known for the quality of their seafood? You’ll end up spending $10 or $15 more than you would have at Big Red, but you’ll be more satisfied with your experience. You’ll get a better meal. You’ll be happier. And it’s not like you’re eating lobster everyday!

I call this the Carolla Corollary. It follows from age-old advice about the benefits of delayed gratification and long-term self-interest. The Carolla Corollary has applications outside of clawed Nephropidae, though. Consider hiring someone on contract.

Too often I talk to clients who brag about the money they saved hiring the cheapest contractor they could find—whether it’s branding, marketing, graphic design, etc. “He only cost us $1,000!” they brag, showing me a logo that looks likes a default design from Microsoft Publisher. When I push back that the design doesn’t really express their branding, I invariably get, “Yeah, sure…but only for 1,000 bucks!”

I’m not saying that expensive necessarily means good. But there’s a reason the perception exists—because when it comes to quality work, it’s often the case. Good designers, programmers, consultants, etc. are not inexpensive—though relative to the quality you receive your money goes much further than hiring the cheapest bid for the mere fact that it’s the cheapest.

Why settle for bad lobster? Or bad graphic design? Or bad branding? If you’re going to commit to spending a sizable amount of money, why not save up a few more bucks and hire someone worthy of working for your business? It’ll cost you a little more now, but you’re going to end up more satisfied in the long run.

Mahalo.