Thursday, May 9, 2013

Pour Quality

New York City saw pouring rains yesterday and again this morning. When it rains, I grab my trusty “duck boots” and my not-so-trusty umbrella, and find another instance where cost does not reflect quality.

The boots may look more “country” than “town,” but I assure you, they are more than perfect for the uneven sidewalks, flash flooding gutters, and deceptively deep puddles one encounters here. I’ve had this particular pair since my pre-teen years, and they are holding up quite well; I only recently noticed that the treads are beginning to wear which, luckily, hasn’t become a problem yet.

I got them in Maine, where L.L. Bean still sews their Rubber Mocs, and I originally wore them primarily in the mud, wet grass, and early season light snow of New England. They were, and are, necessary, and fall into the category of things I don’t find fun to spend my money on, but will use for a long time. When it’s time to finally replace them, a new pair will cost me just $79, and L.L. Bean has a well-known policy of replacing items that do not hold up.

The Burberry umbrella, on the other hand, falls into the category of something I would consider fun to spend my money on. While I could easily purchase an umbrella for less than the current price of this one at $325, the patterned inner layer and discreet black outer layer on this umbrella is exactly my taste. As expected from an expensive umbrella, it also has a nice large size, and when the wind kicks up, it feels sturdy and unlikely to flip inside out.

To my great disappointment, however, just months after receiving this umbrella, the workmanship proved to be poor, and the runner became loose, occasionally sliding up to the top of the stem when the umbrella is closed. Burberry declined to replace it. Being practical, I make do, and plan to as long as possible.

The extremely high price of an item which can be easily obtained elsewhere is worth paying for only one reason: quality. Quality is what makes for a brand’s status, and should not to be confused with personal status, or who wears a particular label to flaunt that she can afford it. It is always disappointing to note a brand's change from a quality retailer to one which seems to put more weight on the second definition.

L.L. Bean Women's Rubber Mocs
Burberry Check-Lined Walking Umbrella

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