The bargain £85 shirt

05Nov09

pink ShirtI had to attend a couple of functions and found myself needing a formal shirt.

The man in the Pink shop with the floppy hair who called me Sir a lot was really helpful. No pressure, found me the shirt I wanted and told me a couple of reasons why it was good. “It’s twill, so it doesn’t go see-through like other shirts.” “Sir.”

I loved it till I asked the price.

“£85 Sir.”

Yikes. I decided to take a walk. Surely I could find something as good for half the price. But now I was looking for a non-see-through twill shirt. That fitted me as well as the other one (how many stores imprison their formal shirts in cellophane and all you have to go on is the neck size? – Like buying a car because the seat fits you.)

I started to mourn the shirt. I started to justify the price in my head – surely  I would never need another one.

I went back and paid the £85.

Then I went home, slightly embarrassed at having paid so much.

I’d already tried an identical one on, so I knew it fitted perfectly. I took this one out of the packet to iron it. Oh no. A stain. A grey mark along the crease.

Here’s where it proved to be worth every penny.

I got the girl in the store on the phone.

“Oh that’s terrible. And you need it tonight?”

(She empathised. She knew that shirts matter – especially when you’re going to a function. She also didn’t question for a second that the stain was there. She didn’t even raise the possibility that I might have put it there.)

“We could bike one over, but that might take too long.” (I was leaving in half an hour)

Wow! Did I hear right? She was going to bike one over?

We agreed there wasn’t time. And anyway the stain was hidden by my jacket.

“OK, wear it tonight, bring it in tomorrow and we’ll replace it right away.”

Did this shirt seem expensive now? Not any more. It seemed like a bargain.

What’s more, Pink have just earned themselves a customer for life.

A win-win conclusion that any retailer could copy. But they don’t. Which is why Pink charges £85 a shirt. And they don’t.

 

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