June 13, 2010
Book Club: Priceless
But maybe that's just not the kind of fashionista I am meant to be!
This week, I've been working through William Poundstone's book, Priceless: The Myth of Fair Value (And How to Take Advantage of It), and trying to see the ways in which his findings and research apply to my fashion practice as a stylist, consumer of manufactured goods, and sometimes editor.
Some very interesting claims so far (I'm just a third of the way through the book):
1. In practice, we understand prices really in terms of the product's "relativity" to it's previous price (or what we think it should be priced at), and the prices of competitors rather than what a certain dollar amount is "worth" or "means." Which certainly explains why we feel like a discounted $500 pair of shoes can be a "bargain" even though we may not have paid $300 for the same pair at retail "on principle."
2. After a certain point price stops being an objective marker of value to the buyer - for example, a $1000 watch would not bring you 100 times more happiness (or tell time that much better) than a $10 watch, but regardless you might want to buy the much more expensive timepiece...
I'm just now trying to figure out what these findings mean for my personal shopping habits...