I hear this statement a lot, or one like it, from various walks of life. For example, I hear it from clients. I hear it from people who want a new car. But I’d like to address this from a strictly programming perspective here.
I don’t know why it bothers me when another programmer says this. It’s not like they are taking anything away from me. In fact, the more programmers who have this attitude, the better off I am.
Because this statement is normally in response to a suggestion that they purchase a high-priced programming tool like the MSDN subscription, a better computer, a new version of Visual Studio, or even a book that might help them learn how to program better.
Imagine if your doctor were to not buy a device that could diagnose you more efficiently or more accurately because he didn’t have the money hanging around? Would you still go to that doctor?
If you hired an architect to design a house for you, would you hire the guy who was still using paper and pencil, or would you hire the guy who was using a CAD program?
How about the guy who was doing the trim on the house? Would you hire the guy who was still using a hand saw or the guy who was using the latest high-accuracy power saw?
It is clear that most of us would prefer the professional who was using the latest tools because those newer tools are going to produce a better product.
There is normally no question that the newer tool will help them. In fact, this statement implies that they do see at least some value in purchasing the recommended item. They just don’t think the value is equal to, or exceeds, the price.
And we normally aren’t talking about people who don’t have any money. No, these same people will, in the very next breath, tell you about some trip they went on that you know must have cost them at least as much money as the item you’ve suggested.
The fact of the matter is, they DO have random $$$ hanging about, they just don’t choose to spend it on the item that has been suggested to them.
So, why not say so?
Wouldn’t, “I see the value in that, but that isn’t a priority for me right now” be a much more honest answer?
Sure it would, but it would also leave room for discussion. “I don’t have the money” Pretty well shuts down the conversation. I mean, who can argue with my finances?
I think the next time someone says, “I don’t have the money,” I’ll call them out on it with, “Well, that pretty well ends the discussion right there, doesn’t it?”
Come on people, let’s be honest with each other. The question isn’t money. The question is value.