Saturday 16 April 2022

The unquantified cost of replacement

Price versus value

Nowadays people know the price of everything and the value of nothing.” Oscar Wilde, The Picture of Dorian Gray.

There is a tendency to view the quote above in terms of materialism alone, but I have been thinking for over a year of a perspective of value that some might consider, the cost of replacement.

Whilst this scenario could be extreme in its application, it best represents the discourse I am put on this blog. I bought some wines from South Africa a few years ago, most particularly South African port wine referred to as Cape Ruby. My intention was to present these as gifts to certain important people in my healthcare history, when I next saw them, with the view that the rarity and exclusivity would redound to my greater sense of appreciation and thanks.

Downed and out completely

However, that wine collection was decimated and quaffed down without my permission, the person thought if they left one of each on the wine rack, that would be fine. But, herein is my dilemma, the wine is not available in our shops and not on order. I had to visit the wine estate in South Africa to replace the wine and that was put off by 11 months because of the pandemic. This is considering I was in South Africa four times in 2019.

When I finally got to South Africa in December 2020, the country went into lockdown with an alcohol ban, so that was a missed opportunity. Another 11 months of pandemic restrictions ensued before I jetted off to our rendezvous in Cape Town, we immediately booked a wine tour and on arrival at the muster point, we learnt that our favourite wine estate had been acquired and its inventory was being moved to another location.

Invariably, there is no indication if I would ever again get my hands on the now more exclusive, if not elusive Backsberg Cape Ruby [PDF], which I have now determined has been discontinued. Basically, the replacement cost is now astronomically high, if not impossible to meet due to scarcity and circumstances beyond my control.

An escalating cost

I now appreciate the fuller value of what I have lost, not just based on the nominal cost, but in the passage of two years, the pandemic, and the discontinuation of the wine that the person who drank my wine cannot begin to understand. It breeds resentment and much regret at the kind of access I have granted them.

Even if they paid a premium for the Backsberg Cape Ruby, I cannot replace it, and that is the enduring annoyance in this matter. We may never recognise the full value of acquisition if we do not know the possibly considerable cost of replacement. It is a thieves’ mentality, the penchant for wanting for themselves without any consideration for others to the extent that armed robbers would maim and kill to steal material things as they place no value on life or property for their own ends.

Blog: In Nigeria, we've lost to all of them

To mitigate this, the lesson I took was to make provision for locally available wines whilst prohibiting drinking any of the South African wines though I might have considered putting them in some storage at additional costs to myself.

The cost is that of replacement

In the scheme of things, there are other privations for things I acquired for my personal use that have been squandered and lost to this lack of consideration. As one cannot predict availability, people should think before they use or abuse things, they either do not own or have not received the express permission to take.

The price of everything is easy to know and pay for, the value of that thing can however change due to various situations and circumstances, some not predictable and usually not accessible until the need to replace that thing, and it is not available. Indeed, I feel quite resentful about it.

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