Thursday, 29 August 2013

There is no reconciliation to exercising options as an end customer

I find myself increasingly in situations whereby I engage in some form of discussion about the price of goods, particularly, in light of the recent factory collapse in Bangladesh.

I would readily admit that given the choice, combined with my currently limited fund availability, I would go for the cheaper option, provided that the quality is on par with the more expensive option. It is not that I do not want to pay for something more expensive, it is more like, I want to stretch the buying power of my money. This is what happens when your funds are limited. You constantly come up with ways to stretch the value of your dollars.

If the options are between two exact same goods, one is sold at the mall for $100 and the other is sold err.. at a store that's not in the mall, and that's not at the CBD for a smaller sum of $70, then of course I would go to the store that's not in the mall, even when it entails a trip out of the CBD (yes, time is also a factor, but let's just assume that you do a mini-excursion at the same time).

Because when this happens, it is because the difference in price goes towards financing the store-at-the-mall's overhead. Yes, I like the mall, it's mostly pretty and I quite like it, especially in summer whereby it is like blasting hot outside. And yes, I probably should buy from the mall as a way to show my support.

But point is this: more expensive does not mean that the end workers are better off. In fact, as an end customer, there is no way for us to ascertain whether clothes (and other shitte) that are sold from one particular retailer were produced more ethically than the other. And we are not just talking about human issues here, we are also talking about environmental issues. (Yes, I do find it rather ironic that the environmental impact of stuff has been discussed for years and never quite leave the spotlight, whereas it is only recently that human impact of stuff takes centre stage again.)

As an end customer, I can only take the business' words. And if they don't say anything, does that mean I get a free pass to assume the worst about them? What if, what these businesses are incapable of doing, is actually communicating? So they have good ethical standards, high quality goods, but they are hopeless at communicating - and subsequently they generate lower turn over. While the businesses that are relatively more dodgy in practices but are better at communicating gets all the customers.

The older I get, the more I realise that nothing is what it seems. First impression is everything, and the whole fashion industry is predicated upon making first impressions after first impressions. Why? Because people forget easily. In order to stay relevant, you have to impress continuously. No, it is not enough that you conform to industry standards. You have to exceed the bloody thing, and you have to appear to do so effortlessly (and make sure people know about it).

Sometimes I ask myself if I would behave differently if, say, I had unlimited funds. I would love to say yes, but the honest answer is that I don't know any better because I have never had a way to compare the two situations. My guess is that the answer would be yes, simply because people change, and I am not immune to this phenomenon. But the curious discovery would be how different would it be.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Put your real names to your voices. Anonymity is so overrated.

Note: only a member of this blog may post a comment.