Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Customized, at a Cost

Ok, yesterday's post was indeed an April Fool's joke: much as I'd like my blog to make more money, I don't plan on getting into the merchandise business. But to those of you who are disappointed by that, I'll just point out that the 3 items I mentioned are all things that can really be bought online!

You can go to the Converse website and create your own customized shoes, with a variety of materials and colors. You select your options, they're displayed on screen, and then 2-4 weeks after you order, your unique Chucks arrive! I am seriously tempted to get a pair of suede ones, though perhaps not quite in the colors I displayed below. Actually, what's dangerous is that when you play around on the website, you have too much choice! I came up with about a dozen color combinations I could imagine wearing! But $75 is kind of a lot of money for such simple shoes. (The regular canvas ones tend to retail for $42 or less. Even that seems like a lot when I remember buying my first pair at an Army/Navy store for about $16, back when I was in high school and they were considered kind of punk!) It's still cheap compared to many other sneakers, though, and I do like the idea of having a pair that looks exactly the way I want them to. Do you think it's worth the money?

How about the Kleenex? Again, you really can buy these at the Kleenex website. I know some people can't stand to have their decor thrown off by a clashing Kleenex box. When my mother was visiting last year and wanted to help me decorate, a tissue box cover was one of the first things she wanted to buy for me. My own opinion was that it was the last thing I needed! It's not like looks don't matter to me-- they do. But I'm just not extreme enough about it to want to spend $15 or more on a tissue box cover, and I really don't see why anyone would want to pay $5 for a customized Kleenex box that is totally disposable. Sure it makes a fun wedding favor, but for everyday use, I would never spend the money. Even the regular oval boxes they have in the store come at a big markup compared to the usual ugly square and rectangular boxes, so I won't buy them, despite their cooler looks.

In any case, it's fascinating that we now have the technology to produce such things cheaply enough for them to be a mass-market item. It used to be that customization was only for things like tailor-made suits and shirts that were going to be really expensive anyway. And to me, something like a suit or shoes being custom-made is more worthwhile anyway-- if I made a bit more money, I would much rather spend the big bucks on a few perfect-fitting items of clothing than on off-the-rack stuff.

What's your opinion? Do you think customized items like this are worth the money? Have you ever purchased this type of item?


Sentient Money said...

Custom suit ok.

Custom Kleenex box...lame.

Do people try and find ways to give their money away? If so, I will gladly take it before it is wasted on a custom Kleenex box.

Anonymous said...

M&M's will customize your candy.

Anonymous said...

I bought one monogrammed sweater. It's not like Laverne's, but it will do. It was worth the extra money.


Bitty said...

I bought one of those personalized books for a grandson once. Ten bucks. Does that count?

"Future Millionaire" said...

I agree custom kleenex box is lame but I do have custom tennis shoes. Not customized for color or style but to fit my foot for running and I have to say it was the best $250 I've ever spent and since then I've shelled out the same two more times. There's somethings where quality and customization is far worth the price.

H said...

I just assumed things like customized kleenex would be for weddings or joke gifts. I mean would anyone really get them for their own everyday use? So my answer is of course that I don't think they're worth the money (unless for a special occasion).