Thursday, October 4, 2012

NPR Also Says to Check That Tag

Here in the studio, we love us some NPR.   With the exception of the past week or two, when we've been listening to the complete Harry Potter audiobook series to get us through all the patterning we're doing (just started Book 5!) , we listen to hours upon hours of Diane Rehm, Kojo Nnamdi, Ira Flatow, and all those kooky economists at Marketplace.

So I was pretty excited when I stumbled across this gem from Caitlin Kenney at Planet Money.  Here she investigates why her wedding dress cost the amount it did, and she ultimately decides that she was, in her words, "ripped off."  What I think is most important to take away from this, however, is not as she says to shop around and look for cheaper options.  It is to better understand what to look for to find a quality garment for this incredibly special occasion, or to know what you're buying and why.

In Ms. Kenney's case, she ended up buying a dress that had been mass produced with inexpensive fabrics, and while she was never lied to, she also did not know to ask any of the right questions that could have helped her understand what she was getting into.  Some of these questions we have started to outline in our How to Spot Quality series (see Part I and Part II).  Both industry experts she interviewed assumed her dress had a lower price tag.  But as Ms. Kenney says of her dress shopping experience, "In that kind of atmosphere it never occurs to you to say 'What's this made of? This isn't polyester, is it?"  New wedding dresses are expensive, for the most part for good reason, but they are also an investment.  And like when buying a car, you deserve to know what is going into the product in which you are investing.

Now this is not to say that there is anything wrong with polyester.  Polyester can be fairly convincingly rendered to look and move similarly to more expensive fabrics, for a much lower price.  However, it is imperative to know that that is what you are buying, and not fall into any assumptions about where your dress came from and what it is worth.   In the coming weeks, we will be posting some more from our How to Spot Quality series, so look forward to some more insights and advice from our end, but we would love to hear your stories and learning experiences in the comments as well!

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