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?

6 comments:

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.

-tasha

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).