Wed 15 May 2013
So I walk into a retail place called “The Men’s Warehouse” looking for a tuxedo. I wasn’t trying to rent one but rather buy one that was somewhat “disposable” for an upcoming event. The sales woman quickly measured my size and grabbed a tux and asked me to try it on. It was a Calvin Klein Tux and it fit nicely and looked great. The moniker, “you’re going to like how you look” seemed to be a great fit for the store. That was until I saw the price tag for the tux which came in at a whopping $649. This was the cost for just the tux not the shirts, shoes, cufflinks or other items.
While I wouldn’t have thought twice about plunking down $649 for a tux, the fact that I needed a more “disposable” one weighed on me so I decided to do a quick price check on Amazon.com. I typed “Calvin Klein Tux” on Amazon and lo and behold…..the exact same
After the sales clerk came back, she asked me how I liked the suit….I said I loved it but didn’t love the price and did a price check on Amazon and saw I could get the exact same suit for 1/2 off! She said she couldn’t lower the price but offered me a two for one option. Buy the tux and get another suit for $100. I laughed and told her the exact same suit is on Amazon for $349 and another sales clerk overheard me and said, “yeah everything is cheaper on Amazon.”
So it became clear that I would be probably not be taking the tux and order it from Amazon, she went off and came back with a nearly identical clone of the tux with a different brand name for the low cost of $249. I really couldn’t tell the difference except that the Calvin Klein tux had a brighter sheen to it than the clone but paying $400 extra for some sheen didn’t make too much sense to me so I told her I’d take it. The price point was lower than Amazon and I could get the needed alterations there to ensure a perfect fit.
Next, the sales clerk took me to try on some shirts then began to pull out cummerbunds, cufflinks and other stuff. I quickly looked at the prices of everything (usually $49.99) for just about every item and did a price check on Amazon. Sure enough, Amazon had every single item for half of the cost. I did feel bad for the clerk because she spent a great deal of time getting items for me to try on so I went ahead and ordered two overpriced shirts ($120 for two) where I could have purchased them at Amazon for about $30 a piece. But spending $60 extra for whatever tiny commissions or kudos she might get from the store seemed fair to me.
So the lessons learned here is that the Men’s Warehouse is a great place to go get measured, try out some brands and pick the one that fits best then go to Amazon.com and order your merchandise at half the price! I wonder how long it is going to take for retail stores to ban cell phones and instant price checks.