Blue ribbon for the best

What is ‘BEST’, anyway?

What is BEST anyway?

If you have a question about almost anything, you can ask ‘Quora’. It’s an online platform for just that, asking questions. Someone will answer it. Probably. I’m one of the people who do the answering, my answers have been read 142,500 times. Which is pretty mindboggling…

 One of the most frequent questions I see is ‘What is the best______ ( fill in the blanks)’. From sheets, to paint, to erasers, to hotel mattresses, to spoons, to places to stay in Katmandu, to — well you name, it. There is an unquenchable thirst for knowing what is the best.

 I answer some of these. Not many because I get so tired of repeating myself. 

But the other day someone in my circle asked me what the best something was and I had to stop. I explained it to her, and she went away. Not happy, particularly, but understanding why the best question is a fat-pants question. You can’t win with any answer. Almost.

So here goes.

Why is yours different?

 Best to you is not necessarily best to me. I think one type of hot sauce is the best, my friend thinks another one is best. Best is subjective.

 So, OK, that’s a personal preference, a taste thing, but what about, well, sheets for example. What are the best sheets? Surely there are some qualifiers that would give one sheet set a blue ribbon?

 Same answer: what is best to me may not be best to you.

 Well, then, how do I find out what is best so I know where to knowledgeably spend my money?

 This is the easy part.


Make a list of all the things you require the item to do for you. Let’s do sheets. 

How to decide what’s best.

Let’s pretend this is your list. 

 1. They must not wrinkle.

2. They must be available in pink.

3. They must cost less than 75.00 for a queen-sized set.

4. They must have a fitted sheet that will fit my 16-inch deep mattress.

This is my list.

1. They must be natural fibers so they are cool in the summer.

2. They must be available in pink.

3. They must cost less than 95.00 for a queen-sized set.

If I get the first set, I’ve probably purchased a micro-fiber or polyester blend sheet (doesn’t wrinkle) but which is most definitely NOT cool in the summer. So this sheet set is not good for me, I may actually think it’s the worst sheet set I’ve ever had. But if YOU bought it, it’s probably your  ‘best’ sheet set.

 All you have to do to get ‘the best’ is buy according to your list.

Are product reviews worth anything?

And this is where product reviews are your best friend. While you may not want to shop at Amazon, it’s a quick, useful place to find out what products fit your list of must-haves.

That’s products. What about services, or teachers, or restaurants? Works exactly the same.

So how does this impact my home?

This is step one in learning how to discern quality in a product or service, too, and what financial impact quality has on our homes. Yes, it’s possible to define the cost of not buying quality items — and here’s the secret: ‘quality’ is probably not what you think it is.

 I’ll delve into that one next column.

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