What is the idiom or proverb for what John is saying in the dialog below :

Jim: The neighborhood garage estimated 200$ for the car's AC repair, so I went to the garage market's locality and found many garages charging 100$ for the same job.

John: Of course the nearest guy will cost you more and the farthermost the garage is the cheaper he will be.

This could be a theory in accountancy or commerce or economics studies too.

  • 2
    Proverbs usually refer to universal truths, but there is nothing to suggest that searching further afield within the same city or locality means spending less. Although it's true that urban businesses have higher expenditures and overheads compared to rural businesses. However, if you do live in the inner city it means you have to travel further out, so you waste more time, which means you spend more money getting there,... swings and roundabouts.
    – Mari-Lou A
    Sep 11, 2018 at 11:22

4 Answers 4


Based on "a theory in accountancy or commerce or economics studies," what you're talking about is related to the idea of supply and demand.

The more somebody needs something, the more they will be willing to pay for it. (And the more sellers will take advantage of the fact.)

For instance, you can charge $20 for a bottle of water and people who are in the middle of a heat wave are more likely to pay for it than those who are not hot or desperately thirsty.

In your scenario, the sellers who are closest to a needed commodity will charge more for it—because they know people will pay the higher price. (The convenience of having their air conditioning repaired at a location close to them is worth the extra price.)

A few idioms or expressions related to this are:

  1. What the market will bear.

From Business Economics: Theory and Application by Neil Harris:

In the business economist's perception of price determination is this phrase—what the market will bear. It means that a business should charge the highest price it can, consistent with not affecting demand for the products.

  1. Necessity knows no law.

From Proverb Hunter:

The proverb could be used to justify the behaviour of a man who steals food to keep his wife and family from starving. As Cervantes wrote in Don Quixote: ‘Necessity urges desperate measures.’

In this case, necessity urges paying a higher cost to get your air conditioning repaired as quickly as possible—even if patience and travel might cost less money.

A more general idiom is simply desperate times call for desperate measures (from the Definitions website). But I would say that is less applicable to a recurring economic theory than to a one-off emergency.


If Jim goes to the neighborhood garage he is paying for convenience. After all, it would be easier and take less time to go somewhere nearby.

It's not really an idiom or proverb. However, its meaning is transparent and it can be applied to many different situations where people pay more to save time and effort:

Are You Willing to Pay for Convenience?

[...] That same convenience factor is why we often pay $50 more for plane tickets that leave at more desirable times, and why we pay $1.50 to buy movie tickets online. I’ve also been know to — gasp — buy shampoo and household cleaners at the grocery store, rather than taking the time to go somewhere else and save a couple bucks on the items.
Do You Pay for Convenience?

Another article (from 2010 when the economy was still bad) also mentions this expression and another good one, time-value trade-off:

In fact, we all have [paid our fair share of convenience fees]: fees to use ATMs, charges for printing tickets on the Web, $5 extra to cut the line at a buffet. The list, it seems, goes on and on. However, as University of Kansas marketing professor Dennis Rosen points out, convenience fees are hardly new.

“Consumers have always paid for convenience,” Rosen, who also runs consulting website WinfluenceSolutions.com, says, citing a person’s inclination to hire someone to trim their lawn or pick up packaged, pre-made foods at a grocery store. “The question now is ‘why are people continuing to pay these fees while the economy is bad?’”

The answer, while complicated, ultimately comes down to this: Consumers aren’t only pressed for cash, they’re also pressed for time. As such, there’s an inherent value associated with anything that saves a few minutes. Adrian Ott, author of The 24-Hour Customer, calls this correlation a time-value trade-off. She points out that some existing companies have built very profitable businesses around this concept. Take FedEx, for example, who essentially sells overnight delivery.
Why We Pay for Convenience


John isn't trying to convey a fact - simple observation would show that the furthest garage isn't always the cheapest. Instead, he is trying to express empathy by asserting that it is common for the 'worst case' to happen.

This is often called Murphy’s Law (or sometimes sod's law), and as you seem to have already noted, it has broad applicability. There’s a whole website full of adaptations, using the following formulation for the generic version:

If anything can go wrong, it will. - Murphys-laws.com

Here's one that relates (tangentially) to driving:

The later you are running, the greater the chance of hitting every red light in your path.

Here are a few related to "accountancy or commerce or economics studies", per the closing sentence in your question.

  • Never ask two questions in a business letter. The reply will discuss the one you are least interested in, and say nothing about the other.
  • Important letters that contain no errors will develop errors in the mail.
  • The more complicated the job is the less time and useful information you will be given.

As far as I know, there isn't a specific proverb or idiom for the situation described.

The closest I could think of to express "the farther you go" is:

However, you would need to modify the idiom by saying something like

You'll be rewarded if you venture/go off the beaten track/path

TFD has various definitions for the expression which fits the situation described

If a place is off the beaten track, it is far away from places where most people live or go.

  • The house is sufficiently off the beaten track to deter all but a few tourists.

  • Rents at these malls, which are generally off the beaten path, are lower than at most suburban shopping centers.

An unusual route or destination, as in

  • We found a great vacation spot, off the beaten track.

This term alludes to a well-worn path trodden down by many feet and was first recorded in 1860, although the phrase beaten track was recorded in 1638 in reference to the usual, unoriginal way of doing something.

The expression is usually used in a travel context, and the opportunity to save money. For example

25 Awesome And Cheap Backpacking Destinations Across The World

  • It’s off the beaten track, and it’s undiscovered side equates to plenty of cheap places to stay and things to do.

Off The Beaten Path: 10 Best Budget Travel Destinations For 2017

  • Traveling can take a toll on your wallet, but we've found some fantastic and affordable destinations that will offer you the best bang for your buck in 2017

8 Affordable Off-the-Beaten-Path Beach Vacations

  • ... for most travelers, it’s not relaxing to spend a fortune on your getaway. Luckily, there are plenty of off-the-beaten-path beach vacations that won’t cost you an arm and a leg. Check out these lesser-known beach destinations that go easy on your wallet.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.