posted by: HerberWellss in Shoe Product Reviews on July 24th, 2009
I just finished a book called Cheap: The High Cost of Discount Culture by Ellen Ruppel Shell.
It is based on the premise that in our discount culture, bad money has driven out good. How many times have we purchased something with the thought, “It is so cheap that when it breaks I won’t feel bad.” How many times have we looked at a beautiful, well made but expensive pair of shoes and purchased a cheaper version, only to have them not fit well and end up in the back of the closet? All the time. These are the issues that Ellen Ruppert Shell addresses in this book.
Within this book author Rupert Shell gives an extensive marketing history and it’s larger-than-life characters in the pursuit of cheap products. She also takes Walmart, IKEA, agriculture, and the import-export practices of governments to task.
I was discussing this book with an Australian friend and he made the observation that when an American looks at a pair of boots, they ask “How much does it cost?” Non-Americans will ask, “Who made it?” I think that is even the wrong question. “How is it made?” should be the question. When you look at a pair of Payless flats and a pair of Cydwoq flats, we can see which one has the better craftsmanship. We will also pay over 10 times the price. Consider which will ultimately be the most costly?
Intern $294 at Cydwoq.com BTW I am saving up for a pair of Cydwoqs. I am quite intrigued by them.
Ms. Ruppert Shell is not telling us to stop bargain shopping, she is telling us that we have the power to set a standard for quality and stick to it. We can get reacquainted with craftsmanship and quality. We can support businesses that offer quality and service over price – usually independent small businesses. This will keep them in business, keep our craftsmen employed, and contribute to a healthier global economy.
This is not a beach book. I don’t usually read books, I inhale them. This took me a little longer to read, for a couple of reasons. First, I am as politically conservative, and probably as annoying as your Aunt Edna from Iowa . The author’s worldview is left-leaning. Sometimes I would be so frosted with what she said, I had to put it down and calm down. Secondly, this is an economics, marketing book. There was a lot of information in this book. Ms Ruppert Shell was able articulate what I had been thinking about for a while.
Who would I recommend this book to? Someone who is interested in marketing history, global economics, marketing, purchasing, or those concerned about the quality of products available to us.