Saturday, June 10, 2017

When Good Fortune Feels Bad

Yesterday I bought a dress at a well known retail chain that shall remain nameless because I feel that bad about my good fortune. I bought a dress originally marked $139 for the rock bottom price of $9.67. I mean, that's scraping the bottom. I can sew; I know how much fabric costs. It was a tailored shirt dress with self-piping and buttoned cuffs. A lot of detail. I didn't realize how inexpensive the dress would be as the last markdown wasn't on the ticket, and there was an additional 40% off sale. Instead of rejoicing at such luck, I felt terrible.

In my closet it's not been about need for a very long time. There are reasons there is no room at the "in". The price of clothes has gone down. There are off-price retailers a-plenty, fast fashion to suit every taste, so many sales and %-off-sales we get annoyed if we don't find one. Then there's the internet and that whole kettle of fish— copious options and the eternal promise of fabulous. I also work in retail and am aware of goings on in the marketplace from both perspectives.

I once bought a designer dress for $8, but it was at a deep-discount off-price retailer where such finds are celebrated. While yesterday's cashier did not make me feel any less valued as a customer, I did joke at that price I should buy two.

There is a blog I read called "Effortlessly with Roxy". Just this week the author posted this, and I couldn't agree more:

Time was that people bought new clothes once or maybe twice a year and then held onto that clothing for years. Over time, we’ve been sold the idea of new clothes for more occasions to the point where buying clothes is now a constant, year-round thing. As the USA has opened up to ever more trade and imports, the products we buy have gotten ever cheaper (in price, and yes in quality too one could argue.) Our money could go further and over time we spent ever more. At some point, this cycle had to become too much. Consumers are revolting against the over-consumption ideals being sold to us. It’s too much! No one needs new clothing every week and even those of us who want that (*raises hand*) are realizing that I may as well just light $20s and $50s and $100s on fire because it’s effectively burning money, pouring it down the drain.

Instead of reeling with happiness at my $9.67 dress, I feel  I am both the cause and effect of a retail climate change. It may not be a tsunami, but the tides are shifting. How and what we buy what we do and do not "need" has already changed.  Sooner or later we will wise up, retailers will give up or we will see just how long this little stand-off can last.

In the meantime I should look for a new raincoat to weather the storm.

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