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Friday, January 6, 2017

Who Buys This Stuff!?

I figured out why someone would buy a $198 sweater... and to my surprise, it makes sense now!

Today I was walking around the mall, mostly for exercise.  The windchill was below zero at noon, and I didn't feel like walking outside.  For some people, spending time in the mall would be a risky venture due to the risk of spending money, but it is pretty safe for me.

One of the few things I am at risk of buying is the clearance winter clothes that go on sale in the spring for up to 90% off, and maybe another clearance hat for my collection.

Clearance Hats Are A Weakness For Me!
Clearance Hats Are A Weakness For Me!

I wandered into a nice store that I have only gone into a few times before.  I looked around just for fun, and saw a friendly sign inviting me to "Please touch the merchandise..."

Please touch the merchandise... you'll love it!
Please touch the merchandise... you'll love it!

I have read that you are much more likely to buy something if you touch it.  I guess that makes sense... there is no way you can buy something if you don't touch it-how can you carry it to the checkout!  So naturally the only way you are going to buy something is if you touch it at some point.

I decided to take my chances and touch some nice sweaters they had on sale.  Very nice indeed.  But wait a minute, how much is that sweater!

This is what a $198 sweater looks like!
This is what a $198 sweater looks like!
The sweater was originally priced at $198, marked down to $133.  While I do appreciate a good markdown, the price had too many digits in it for me either way!

It was a fine sweater, but what about it would make someone pay 5 to 10 times more for that sweater than a different one?

(Awkward silence)

Oh, you were expecting me to answer the question...  Well, I don't really have a solid answer since I really don't know who buys this stuff.   Here are my best guesses:

  • Maybe the brand (which I didn't recognize) carries a lot of value to fans of that brand.  
  • Maybe people see shopping at a fancy store as a form of entertainment that is more exciting than shopping at less expensive places.
  • Maybe people are willing to pay a lot for something expensive to impress other people with their affluence or to make themselves feel better than other people.
  • Maybe the sweater was made out of some sort of expensive material like cashmere (I didn't touch the sweater that much to check).

As I read my list of reasons I thought someone might buy a really expensive sweater, I realized something funny.  There are people who wouldn't understand some of the things I buy.

I recently bought a "golf jacket" on clearance for $41.  It is really sharp looking and I plan to wear it to work a lot instead of the cheap clearance fleece I used to wear that my family is so embarrased of.

I am sure some people would not be able to understand why I would spend $41 on a new jacket.  Why not just keep wearing the $13 clearance fleece (even though it is chartreuse green and people at work thought I could win the ugly sweater contest wearing it)?

  • Did I buy my new jacket because of its fancy brand?  I can say no to that one, I don't even remember what brand it is.
  • Did I buy my new jacket as a form of entertainment?  I would say maybe a little bit to this one.  It was fun trying it on with my family encouraging me to buy it.  OK, so I am probably guilty of this one.
  • Did I buy my new jacket to impress other people or make me feel better about myself?  OK, you got me there too.  Yes.    The main reason I bought it was so I would look more expensive and less like a homeless person when I went to work.
  • And for the last one, did I spend a lot on my new jacket because it was made from an expensive material?  Nope- 100% polyester!

My point here is that people buy really expensive stuff for mostly the same reasons as you buy the stuff that you buy.  The only difference really is the number of digits in the price tag.

So that stuff that you buy and think is "normal" may seem really fancy to someone else who would struggle to understand why you buy it.


Enough deep thoughts for today.  Now it's time to leave the mall and go out in the cold to my car.  Good thing I'm wearing my really warm new jacket!


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