I don’t have to tell you that your $350 Gucci belt isn’t worth the steep price tag. You already know that. But, beyond your flashy Gucci belt—which, btw I want, so hmu if you’re feeling generous—most retail items, particularly fashion pieces, are grossly marked up. As a girl who not only lovvvvves to shop but also lovvvvves a good brand name, discovering this inconvenient truth has been extremely tough. I mean, if you’re buying something designer then you already know that you’re overpaying in exchange for the designer name. Yes, the quality is often better, but not always to the extent that would validate such a severe markup.
At the end of the day, retailers marking up product is nothing new. In fact, it is an essential element of business that is probably never going to change. Regardless, by being more knowledgeable about which specific retail items tend to have the highest markup percentage, you can become a more informed and strategic consumer. (Whoa, who knew this fashion article would end up sounding so adult? Lol.)
To my own surprise, denim is one of the top culprits of insane markup prices. I figured that, of all the categories, denim would be the most justified because it’s genuinely made using more expensive, higher quality materials. (Hence my own justification for spending $200 on a pair of Citizens over a $50 pair from Topshop.) However, it’s not just designer denim that is severely marked up, but all denim in general. Apparently, designer jeans can often be marked up around 250%, and even mid-level retailers will mark them up around 100%. Although, let’s be clear that even though a mid-level retailer, such as Kohl’s, “only” has a markup of 100% it’s still not okay to shop there. Instead, try somewhere like Nordstrom Rack or TJ Maxx where you can still get high quality designer jeans but at a much more reasonable price. Or, try shopping the sale section of a high-end retailer, because there will probably be a few discounted pairs.
You know all those times you’ve spent, say, $50 on a necklace just to have it break the first time you wore it? Yeah, that’s because the necklace that you paid $40 for actually only cost the store $1 to purchase and $0.01 for the manufacturer to make. Ok, that’s a bit dramatic, but it’s just to get my point across. Pretty much all jewelry has a steep markup. Even worse, fine jewelry, especially diamonds, are aggressively marked up to an even greater extent. This is because jewelry sellers profit off of a buyer’s lack of jewelry expertise. BUT, if my future husband is reading this rn, please don’t take that as your go-ahead to cheap out on my ring. Like, I still want the biggest and most expensive diamond in the store, is that too much to ask??? Please and thank you! Anyway, similarly to the jeans, your best bet is to shop for jewelry that is either on sale or from a discounted luxury retailer.
3. Glasses Frames
So, apparently, there’s only a few big companies that own pretty much all of the smaller companies selling glasses frames. Who knew “big glasses” was a thing? HAH! You corporate America spectacle-selling dogs. Like, I apparently now can’t even enjoy the “privilege” of vision without being aggressively ripped off??? Great. According to my investigative journalism, the biggest manufacturer, Luxottica, makes a gross profit of 62 cents on the dollar. And, Luxottica owns like, legit every brand. So good luck affording being able to see, people! Fortunately, in recent years direct-to-consumer brands, such as Warby Parker, have allowed for more reasonable yet still stylish glasses-buying options. So, if you want the gift of vision at a more affordable price, I would start there.
Obvi, you realize that if you’re splurging for a pair of Louboutins that your overpaying for a pair of shoes. But although designer shoes are the biggest culprit, shoes in general have a huge markup price. Most athletic shoes have a 100% markup, but shoes in general can have anywhere from 100-500%. All I ask here is that you’re mindful of this information next time your waiting in line to purchase a pair of Yeezys. Of course, I’m not here to tell you how to live your life. In fact, I’ll probs be right there in line there with ya! But, at least now we can be educated enough to be aware of actually how stupid we’re being.
5. Designer Handbags
I know I’m not alone in my love for a good designer handbag. In fact, I genuinely believe that if you’re going to splurge on something designer, it should be a handbag. Regardless of these beliefs, it’s just fact that designer handbags are insanely marked up, often to 20 times their cost to make! The average markup amount on a designer handbag is around 100%. That being said, there are tons of ways to still get a designer handbag at the fraction of the price nowadays. For example, try shopping designer consignment shops or the “runway” section at TJ Maxx!
Sadly, insane retail markups are just an undeniable facet of the cruel world we live in. The good news is, you can no at least call yourself an educated consumer, even if you are one who happens to be in Yeezys and Gucci logo tee.
Images: @crew / Unsplash; Nordstrom Rack (2); South Moon Under; Warby Parker; TJ Maxx
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It’s not chic to talk about money if you have money, but it’s also very unbetchy to get ripped off. You’re so lucky you have us, because we did the research on things you’re overpaying for. I know, we’re such a good friend. Like, did you know that when you buy tampons you have to pay a luxury tax on top of regular sales tax? As in, using a tampon is like a luxury. Yes, we know we’re so blessed to not be pregnant every month, but calling tampons a luxury is a stretch. Not to mention, at like $8 a box for the non-shitty cardboard kind, tampons are already priced as a luxury so what gives? Anyway, here’s the top five ways the fuckboys of big businesses are ripping you off. Just because you hate doing work doesn’t mean you don’t deserve to keep all the money you didn’t work (that hard) for, so hang on to your cash and stop overpaying for shit.
Remember when Venus first came out and we were all singing the catchy song from the commercial? Those bright pink and blue razors were so pretty we didn’t even notice that we were being charged more for razors than men that literally do the same shit. Literally we are paying for pretty colors. Like the nickname for it is “the pink tax”. Female razor costs a few dollars more than men’s almost always, and the only difference is the way it’s marketed. LITERALLY. Don’t let that “soap strip” or whatever the fuck fool you—your sparkly pink razor is not getting you a better shave. In fact, most men’s razors work better, because they’re designed to get rid of bros’ hair and bros just have thicker hair. So even though it might feel like you’re showering at a frat house, you should buy a man’s razor and stop paying more for a shitty pink one. And honestly, any fuckboy who sees a men’s razor in your shower is bound to get jealous thinking you’ve got another guy in your life, and this will make him try harder. So it’s a win for you, your wallet, and your legs. I see no downside here.
This one kills us too. Saving up for your first Kelly Bag was a rite of passage, like getting your period or dating your first older bro. But the truth is, even with the nicest leather and hand-stitching or whatever, you’re still paying way too much for handbags. Just the idea of having dozens of bags because you can’t wear the same one everyday is something that bros don’t even have to worry about. They literally put their shit in pockets, which we could do if we weren’t so skinny that pockets don’t work for us. But even though our figures are too tight for storing keys, wallet, phone, we could potentially still own considerably less purses than we do. According to this bro blog, a genuine leather bag on the high end costs $100-$150. Which we laugh at because that wouldn’t even buy a clutch at an accessible brand like… ugh, Coach. Anyway, you’re paying too much for bags. Like you could own several cars if you stopped buying bags. But you’re not going to, obvs, and we totally understand.
3. Dry Cleaners
Your dry cleaner charges more for betches than bros. Like if you bring the exact same shirt to a dry cleaners but one is a female version and one is a male, the female one will cost twice or even three times more. Dry cleaning companies claim that it’s because the female shirts don’t fit in their machines, but the truth is women will pay the higher price for clothing care and men won’t. And everyone is sexist and the world is a terrible place, bye. It goes even deeper than cleaning clothes, though. Men’s clothes are priced lower than women’s in general. Plus we shop way more than men so we’re buying at least twice as much shit on a regular basis. Ugh, we feel used. At least female models make way more than male models, so we get a win there. Maybe try having your boyfriend drop off your dry cleaning and see if they charge you less. IDK.
If you’re a betch that procrastinates as most of us do, you probably end up paying more for your airline tickets because you book them closer to when you need them. If you really want to get a good deal on airline tickets, you need to set flight deal alerts on websites that do that, so someone tells you when the flight you want to your destination is lowest. Like, you can get round trip tickets from LA to New York for under $300 but you have to know when to look for them. Some websites say the best time to buy a plane ticket is 57 days out from your trip, which seems a little close but I’ll trust it. And forget everything you heard about the best day of the week to buy plane tickets being Tuesday—it’s actually Sunday, so you can quit trolling Kayak at work. Or you can just try booking your flight through United—if you’re down with being assaulted we bet you could probably get a really good deal right now.
1. Everything At Whole Foods
Whole Foods is basically a day club if you think about it. There might not be a doorman letting people in, but if you’re not wearing the right clothes (aka like you just came from yoga or SoulCylce), you’ll still feel out of place. Bananas at Whole Foods cost an average of 99 cents a pound, while they cost 70-80 cents everywhere else. Essentially, you’re paying way too fucking much for everything at Whole Foods. Like, a lot of the shit they have there is the same supplier as other grocery stores in the neighborhood, so you’re literally just paying more to be able to tell people you’re bougie af with your groceries. If you want fresh fruit and vegetables without spending half your
alcohol budget paycheck, go to the farmer’s market or literally anywhere else.