Originally Posted by SGladwell
Globalization has costs as well as benefits. Even if your nightmare scenario were to come to pass - as I'll explain below, I think it's a strawman - I wouldn't feel any more or less sorry for these two gentlemen then I do for a call center employee who was laid off because his firm moved to India or a factory worker who's unemployed because her company couldn't compete with a Chinese company on quality or price. Like it or not, there are costs to basing a business model on the fallacy that borders are still relevant to commerce in the 21st century. It's really quite reckless, if you think about it. It's sad for some of the individuals affected, and in cases where necessary I certainly support government-funded safety nets and civilizing reforms like single-payer healthcare to minimize the human costs of dislocation as much as possible. It is also ultimately for the good of the entire world to see countries like China and India follow in the footsteps of the UK and the US in their development, grow middle classes, and climb their way out of poverty. If Vass or any agents on their behalf wish to prevent prices from more or less harmonizing across borders, they are free to attempt to amass the capital to control the destiny of their shoes from every point up to the end user in every market. If they cannot or will not do that, they are resigning themselves to fight an ultimately losing war against the free market.
Its up to you whether you feel "sorry" for them or not, but when is the last time you personally were responsible for outsourcing call center jobs to India, or closed a US factory yourself because it was cheaper to manufacture overseas? If Bergdorf decides
that the people who would have bought Vass from them, DIDN'T because a well thought of and influential forum on Men's style made it appear that the shoes are "not worth" the $1500 that BG thinks they are.(however correct or incorrect that may be) Then perhaps they would not reorder them. I then would blame the person or people responsible for the action, not the lack of a niche shoe company's mastery of 21st century trans-global marketing ethos. Your way of thinking is a cop out as far as I'm concerned. I'd hope that people here would take more responsibility for their actions. Especially when it comes to friends and longstanding members of the forum. "Dude, I'm sorry we screwed up your huge Bergdorf deal, but your company just isn't globally minded enough to compete with our lust for cheaper products." Seems a little callow.
Now that's very extreme. For one thing, with the internet being what it is sooner or later almost all of the good niche producers of everything all over the world are going to be known to those who wish to find out about them, regardless of any individual's hard work.
So what you are saying is that Vass should stop promoting its shoes. Let me remind you again, that the only reason we know what we know about Vass shoes is because of Andrew and Gabor. The only reason there is an english website is because of Andrew and Gabor. So... without this forum, and without an english website, how many people would be buying Vass shoes? People who spoke Hungarian I guess.
Now, someone going into Bergdorf, trying them on, and ordering them elsewhere, I'll agree, is distasteful. But I would venture to guess that the majority of people who are buying expensive shoes over the internet without trying them on have done no such thing
If people are buying shoes over the internet without trying them on
, you are correct, I'm sure they have never tried them on at BG
. Whatever you were trying to say here never got out of your brain intact... Hypothetically speaking: If you wanted a pair of Vass shoes, and knew you could get them for $550 shipped online, but wanted to try them on to make sure you liked the last, (as you have stated you would want to do) where would you go? Oh yeah. Bergdorf. Right. So you try them on and like them, but you already know you could get them for a third of the price from the German retailer. So what do you do? Buy from Bergdorf out of principal? That is why this entire conversation is so damaging to BERGDORF. The direct result of this is that they don't reorder the shoes, THAT is when it becomes Andrew and Gabor's problem. And that is what I have an issue with.
And frankly, if BG dies drops Vass the more likely reason is that Americans in the main aren't that interested in the Central European shoemaking traditions, and have ingrown preferences for sleeker English and Italian products. I know that people have commented on my Ludwig Reiters for over five years, but nobody has ever asked me where he could get a pair
And maybe thats the case, but without anyone SELLING THEM IN AMERICA, it would be hard to say what Americans will and won't like. Vass is still trying to get people to sell their shoes here, which is why this is such a big deal. Bergdorf is (IMMSMC) the first BIG company to order any significant number. This is a crucial step for Andrew and Gabor, and I'm sure they would prefer it if people here wouldn't run counter to their efforts to earn a living.