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I am too poor to afford cheap s h i t

Posted by Victoria S Dennis on July 17, 2008 at 09:13

In Reply to: I am too poor to afford cheap s h i t posted by Carl Waddington on July 12, 2008 at 19:39:

: My boss always quoted the following "I am too poor to afford cheap s h i t". After 20 or so years it has become one of my favourite sayings and I am trying to find the origin of it. The search of the web has given me nothing except a few comments that it is an "old saying", and a proverb, but nothing of substance.

: Can you help?

The saying occurs in any number of variants - "cheap s h i t", "cheap stuff", "cheap goods", "cheap [specific type of goods]", etc. I doubt if it has an origin, as such. The insight that buying cheap tacky goods costs more in the long term than buying good-quality ones is many centuries old; I shouldn't be surprised if it crops up in Classical Greek and Roman literature. That being so, the paradox "I'm to poor to buy cheap goods" probably occurred independently to many different people, and even if you could produce an "earliest known use" of the phrase, that would not necessarily mean that everybody who has used the phrase subsequently has been "quoting" that earliest use. Your boss may have thought he was being stunningly witty and original. (VSD)