Day #169: Saskatchewan – “Fronting”
During his career, Andy Rooney did at least two segments on 60 Minutes about how consumers have gotten far less bang for their buck over the years. At the end of his commentary on the shrinking size of paper towel rolls back in 1995, Rooney concluded this about consumers: “One of the things in life we’ve all learned to depend on is this — whatever you buy, you can be sure it’ll be smaller, more expensive, and probably not as good as the last time you bought it.” To some, Andy Rooney may have sounded to like a crotchety old man who often complained about change, but he was absolutely right on that point.
Witness! Exhibit A: I wore out a pair of shoes and began the loathsome hunt for a new pair this weekend. I’ve noticed that many name brand shoemakers have gone from producing a quality leather shoe to producing ones from man-made materials (obviously, I wasn’t shopping for sneakers). Shoes from man-made materials (usually, plastic) are cheaper to make, but don’t hold up nearly as well. Unfortunately, none of the savings was passed on to the consumer; the price tag stayed the same. But, what this means is that you can either choose between buying a cheaply made generic brand shoe from a store like Payless or buy a cheaply made name brand shoe from a department store like Macy’s. The only difference is you pay about three times more for a name brand shoe that is about the same quality as the generic brand. In the meantime, I’m still trying to find a well-made shoe.