Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Jonathan And Elisa's Field Trip to Neiman Marcus

One of the predictions my extension of the basic Hall-Li model makes is that the price of semi-conspicuous consumption goods should exceed or at least equal the price of conspicuous goods (in the basic model price is exogenous). I've had the hunch that this is true, because I know that only the relatively cheap Polo stuff has the little horsey guy - the cashmere sweaters are horseless. On my step-mother's suggestion, I decided to make my first foray into empirical research by investigating how applicable the prediction is beyond horsey guys.

Moleskine notebook in hand, we began by perusing the wares of the single-brand stores. I had no idea how fancy the Copley Mall is, but it is. We began by comparing a red leather bag with a vaguely similar one, the red one not covered in "LV"'s, and, disappointingly, the logo'd one was more expensive. But we persevered (when we got better at this, we realized that the first comparison was invalid because the bags really weren't very similar), and the results trickled in.

At the Gucci Store, we found 2 shoes indistinguishable except one's design was made up of Gucci G's, and the other was just a random pattern. They both felt the same (they seemed like leather). Logo was $405, no logo was $740. The discrepancy was so large that I felt compelled to ask the nice lady what was so special about the no logo ones. "They're ostrich."

Also at the Gucci Store, we looked at two medium-size duffel-type bags. One was covered in G's, the other was black. They looked otherwise quite similar (though not exactly the same). The G one was $750. Before telling us the price for the black one, the lady warned us that it was "an entirely different animal," and it was, to the tune of an extra $1000.

Here are two picture testimonials, one Coach, the other Fendi. I can't find the ostrich shoes online yet...

Coach $698/$648
Fendi $1410/$965

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