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post #16 of 33
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My wife and daughter both have a LV purse. They were a gift from a grateful business associate. While my daughter uses hers daily, my wife rarely does. When they first received them, the first question people asked was if they were real. (They are). My wife got so tired of being asked, that now she only uses the purse when we are out with close friends. I am not certain about the accuracy of the numbers, but a sales consultant at the Toronto LV store actually told us that more than 50% of the LV purses out there are fakes. If this is anywhere near the truth, why would any woman want to have one when the first thought in people's minds is that it is a fake? Classic
I would be willing to bet that more than 50% are fakes, especially in areas away from large cities. I'd say that 1/6 of the girls at my university carry around a LV purse, and I don't know many college kids who can drop $1000+ on a purse. Some of them just look laughably fake - wrong font, leather looks like vinyl, colors are completely off, etc.
post #17 of 33
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Last summer or thereabouts, the New York Times Sunday Magazine contained an article about the making of a Berkin bag, from start to finish, at the Hermes "factory." Quite interesting: at least for the story, it showed how they start with essentially a blank canvas -- pieces of leather. The handles are especially labor-intensive. It appeared similar to a fine men's shoe factory, such as Lobb or EG, where individual craftsmen were responsible for specific tasks (cutting the leather; sewing; making handles; etc.). Personally, I've often thought LV bags that have the logo plastered all over it walk the line very close to being tacky and sometime appear to be of the same family lineage as those black leather hats that have "Armani" or "DKNY" emblazoned across the brim in huge block letters. My 0.02.
Not having read the article not withstanding... Individual tasks that are assigned to different laborers in a factory are standard practice in factories all over the world, from the hand finished wood / leather in Rolls Royce production to McDonalds $0.03 toys manufactured en masse in some south east Asian country. It is easier, faster and cheaper to mass-produce items by assigning different tasks to people who are specialized in each area. The reverse version of that type of production, would be the way a suit is made by an individual tailor, who does everything her/himself, this is much more expensive and slower, but you can (usually / hopefully) expect better quality. Not to sound too corny but, you get the right people for the right job. If I ran the bag production at Hermes I would do the exact same thing, thus maximizing profits. That written, I am not downplaying the production at Hermes, perhaps the bags are entirely hand made, and are quite labor intensive. Of course, if logic were applied to the situation the outcome of the price could not be justified. Take Huntsman as an example (ok, so I chose the most expensive tailor on Savile Row...but at least the comparison should hold water), if I can properly recall, they are currently charging somewhere in the neighborhood of $6000 for a 3-piece bespoke suit (a nice wool 120's from H&S, either DB or SB, the price difference is probably a few hundred dollars, max; if any). Now, you will have at least 3 fittings, which require a few hours of consultation combined (if you are a pain in the ass like I am), during this process, you are measured the suit is first hand drawn on paper, then the cloth is calculated based on the paper drawings (including matching lines everywhere on the suit {as much as possible, but something tells me that a company like Huntsman usually finds a way to be dead on}), then the suit is "pre-made" and held together by basting to see how it is made. Before it is pre-made, the canvas and various layers must be stitched by hand, a process anyone can tell you takes longer than a one-half hour sitcom. Once the pre-made suit has been through the second fitting, then the final suit is made, and if everything is all right, you can take it home. (Yes, I left steps out, just trying to give a general idea) Now tens of hours go into making a bespoke suit from one of the finest (arguably) tailors on world famous (read: expensive to own/rent /maintain) Savile Row, and they charge around $6000. The suit will never go out of style, is made to last a life time (or several, how many people on the forum use vintage/family owned suits?) So, of course there is no explanation for Hermes to charge twice that for something that takes a lot less to make, has a lower material / labor cost, will go out of style (next season) and is not made to last as long as people think (they want it to break, so you can purchase another one). So, if I can't figure out how they charge $12k, can someone tell me how they charge $30k? (My mind cannot grasp the concept.) Jon.
post #18 of 33
Louis Vuitton just celebrated their 150th anniversary with large scale parties in New York, Pairs, Hong Kong, and Tokyo. That monogram pattern was created at about the same time. Firstly it was used on the luggage, and then diversified into smaller items. The Monogram Mulitcolour was introduced in 2001 by Marc Jacobs in colloboration with the Japanese artist Takashi Murakami. Hence the even rarer Murakami Vuitton's with various artworks superimposed over the original Vuitton canvas. Similar to when Vuitton commisioned Stephen Sprouse for their Graffiti line a few years back.
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Perhaps a more knowledgable forum member can confirm this, but I was under the impression that LV bags aren't even made of leather.  Parts of it are leather (such as the straps and trim), but I believe the main "bag-part" is made of coated canvas. Ah well, what do you expect?  The Prada bags that were ever so popular in the nineties were just nylon.
The Monogram canvas collection is not leather. It is a special coated canvas. However they also have the Monogram Glace, Laser, Epi, Taiga, and Cuir Natural which are fine leathers. Prada used to use a fine nylon for their bags. Now they have become ubiquitous items of average quality. It is because of Miuccia's husband who insists on higher prodcution efficency, and lower costs. But their seasonal items are still of a fine quality.
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So, of course there is no explanation for Hermes to charge twice that for something that takes a lot less to make, has a lower material / labor cost, will go out of style (next season) and is not made to last as long as people think (they want it to break, so you can purchase another one).
Hermes' leather goods are usually things that don't go out of style. One sees Hermes items from the 30's auctioned at Chrisities, and etc. For example the Hermes Kelly, and Birkin are iconclastic items. And yes, there is a waiting list which I believe is closed now. The people will get their bags in about 2 to 4 years. Hermes utilizes a special type of calfskin called Barenia, and sterling silver crafted by African tribesmen which is then sent to their workshop outside Paris to be finished. Their alligator skins are sourced from Lousiana, and Florida. Which is then sent to the French workshops for finishing, etc. Besides the fact that there is also a lifetime after-service available. But as logoed as Vuitton is the luggage is quite fine especially the hardsided suitcases. Goayrd, and Valextra I would reccomend to for lugagge. And authentic Vuitton's all have a serial code hidden inside which can be taken to the shops to decipher the date manufactured, etc. Some fine fakes have these but the code makes no sense.
post #19 of 33
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LV does not sell second-quality bags.  All of their factory seconds are destroyed.  They also only sell their bags at their stores, and I think a FEW other retail stores.  From what I hear, they never go on sale.  This would make it impossible for an ebay seller to get a bunch at a lower price to resell - they would have to walk in the store and buy the bags, which would not be profitable.
Vuitton never goes on sale. They are sold only in company boutiques, certain duty free shops, and booths in department stores. However in Japan there are small luxury items stores that sell authentic Vuitton. But only in Japan. In Japan where people lined up at 2 AM. in winter for the Dior Homme opening. And then again lined up the entire city blocks for the Vuitton, and Prada openings. The Prada store was literally empty of merchaindise after the grand opening. And where lotteries are held to determine who can buy an Hermes bag for about $1,000,000 Yen, and where a man carried his Hermes bag wrapped in an Hermes towel for fear of getting bodily oils on it.
post #20 of 33
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Louis Vuitton just celebrated their 150th anniversary with large scale parties in New York, Pairs, Hong Kong, and Tokyo. That monogram pattern was created at about the same time. Firstly it was used on the luggage, and then diversified into smaller items. The Monogram Mulitcolour was introduced in 2001 by Marc Jacobs in colloboration with the Japanese artist Takashi Murakami. Hence the even rarer Murakami Vuitton's with various artworks superimposed over the original Vuitton canvas. Similar to when Vuitton commisioned Stephen Sprouse for their Graffiti line a few years back.
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Perhaps a more knowledgable forum member can confirm this, but I was under the impression that LV bags aren't even made of leather. Parts of it are leather (such as the straps and trim), but I believe the main "bag-part" is made of coated canvas. Ah well, what do you expect? The Prada bags that were ever so popular in the nineties were just nylon.
The Monogram canvas collection is not leather. It is a special coated canvas. However they also have the Monogram Glace, Laser, Epi, Taiga, and Cuir Natural which are fine leathers. Prada used to use a fine nylon for their bags. Now they have become ubiquitous items of average quality. It is because of Miuccia's husband who insists on higher prodcution efficency, and lower costs. But their seasonal items are still of a fine quality.
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So, of course there is no explanation for Hermes to charge twice that for something that takes a lot less to make, has a lower material / labor cost, will go out of style (next season) and is not made to last as long as people think (they want it to break, so you can purchase another one).
Hermes' leather goods are usually things that don't go out of style. One sees Hermes items from the 30's auctioned at Chrisities, and etc. For example the Hermes Kelly, and Birkin are iconclastic items. And yes, there is a waiting list which I believe is closed now. The people will get their bags in about 2 to 4 years. Hermes utilizes a special type of calfskin called Barenia, and sterling silver crafted by African tribesmen which is then sent to their workshop outside Paris to be finished. Their alligator skins are sourced from Lousiana, and Florida. Which is then sent to the French workshops for finishing, etc. Besides the fact that there is also a lifetime after-service available. But as logoed as Vuitton is the luggage is quite fine especially the hardsided suitcases. Goayrd, and Valextra I would reccomend to for lugagge. And authentic Vuitton's all have a serial code hidden inside which can be taken to the shops to decipher the date manufactured, etc. Some fine fakes have these but the code makes no sense.
I live in South Florida. Alligator skin is a dime a dozen, in other words, not the hardest thing to find; I have personally met two wholesale dealers and I know what their cost is. You can usually find an alligator inside each one of the man made lakes in the various neighborhoods at one time or another. Florida alligator is not cheap, but it is not worth $30k; I can have the entire upholstery of a car done in alligator and it won't cost me $30k. Jon.
post #21 of 33
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I live in South Florida. Alligator skin is a dime a dozen, in other words, not the hardest thing to find; I have personally met two wholesale dealers and I know what their cost is. You can usually find an alligator inside each one of the man made lakes in the various neighborhoods at one time or another. Florida alligator is not cheap, but it is not worth $30k; I can have the entire upholstery of a car done in alligator and it won't cost me $30k. Jon.
Well, of course you're paying substantially for the name of Hermes. As well as the intense workmanship that goes into each item. But then there are also the grades of alligator such as Porosus et al. And the area where the skin came from like the stomach, etc. goes into the pricing.
post #22 of 33
Why do the Hermes bag's cost so much? Because there is a waiting list.. If there were that many people with too much money, waiting in line to buy my product, I'd charge outrageous prices too...
post #23 of 33
wait lists for hermes bags vary from city to city larger cities, such as new york and paris, can close their wait lists, meaning, there's essentially a wait list to get on the wait list however, it is rare to walk into an hermes store and find a birken or kelly on the shelf, but i have seen it (usually the larger or smaller sizes and/or exotic skins) ask any female why purses? they'll pipe back and ask why do men buy such fancy watches or cars ...... it's a gender thing, women love purses, just as much as shoes i do agree, an hermes bag is much more desirable, classy and timeless than a monogram vuitton bag, but there are also very classic monogram vuitton bags that have stood the test of time as well there was another article in the new york times re martha and her hermes in court and that the fact despite not having any logo but for the hermes name on the clasp, the bag itself has become in essense a logo and it's no better or worse than the vuitton bags .... as to why would a woman want an original vuitton bag when 90% of them are fake out there? because the purse still has a good design, the classic designs will still be around in another 100 years and when they see someone with a fake, they know they have the real one and can smuggly be satisfied and laugh at the wannabes (and at how bad some of those fakes are) .... i don't quite understand but that is what i know and as said above by labelking, the monogram canvas is not leather, it is basically coated industrial canvas, it is actually of the same grade used to make firehoses ... as for the comment about hermes wants the bags to break so people can buy another, this is completely incorrect, it would ruin their image if their bags fall apart .... they're very well crafted and i've seen bags that are 60 years old that still don't even have damage to the stitching, let alone but minor normal wear and tear to the leather handles despite constant use but as i've said in previous posts about hermes, they charge what they charge because they can and people are willing to pay for it it's no different than any other luxury goods maker,whether clothing or cars, inflating their prices
post #24 of 33
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wait lists for hermes bags vary from city to city larger cities, such as new york and paris, can close their wait lists, meaning, there's essentially a wait list to get on the wait list however, it is rare to walk into an hermes store and find a birken or kelly on the shelf, but i have seen it (usually the larger or smaller sizes and/or exotic skins) ask any female why purses? they'll pipe back and ask why do men buy such fancy watches or cars ...... it's a gender thing, women love purses, just as much as shoes i do agree, an hermes bag is much more desirable, classy and timeless than a monogram vuitton bag, but there are also very classic monogram vuitton bags that have stood the test of time as well there was another article in the new york times re martha and her hermes in court and that the fact despite not having any logo but for the hermes name on the clasp, the bag itself has become in essense a logo and it's no better or worse than the vuitton bags .... as to why would a woman want an original vuitton bag when 90% of them are fake out there? because the purse still has a good design, the classic designs will still be around in another 100 years and when they see someone with a fake, they know they have the real one and can smuggly be satisfied and laugh at the wannabes (and at how bad some of those fakes are) .... i don't quite understand but that is what i know and as said above by labelking, the monogram canvas is not leather, it is basically coated industrial canvas, it is actually of the same grade used to make firehoses ... as for the comment about hermes wants the bags to break so people can buy another, this is completely incorrect, it would ruin their image if their bags fall apart .... they're very well crafted and i've seen bags that are 60 years old that still don't even have damage to the stitching, let alone but minor normal wear and tear to the leather handles despite constant use but as i've said in previous posts about hermes, they charge what they charge because they can and people are willing to pay for it it's no different than any other luxury goods maker,whether clothing or cars, inflating their prices
Its still price gouging anyway you look at it (not that I blame them, if they can get away with it...) But, the markup is soooo massive that it is really shameful. And, honestly how many classic Hermes / LV bags go up for auction for millions of dollars as they do in watches and cars? A Patek ref. 2499 has worth because not only the brand name, but also the way it was made, the materials it was made with and the rarity of the product. Same thing goes with a 1937 MB 540k Special-Roadster, with limited quantities made and craftsmanship that is rivaled by only the best of the times (Duesenberg, etc...), it has value because of the culmination of the various items I mentioned. So, I pose a new question: how much do you think it costs the factory to make a $30k Hermes bag? Jon.
post #25 of 33
i don't disagree with you about markup one bit nor do i disagree with you that an hermes bag will likely never sell at auction for what a patek sells for, but we're trying to compare apples to kiwi fruit as i said, hermes sells for what it sells for because that is what people are willing to pay for it - it is inflated and likely does not represent actual cost, but does anything?  does a $225.00 kiton tie reflect it's cost? do $15.00 gillette razor blades reflect cost? the argument could go on forever the bottom line is that luxury goods are terribly marked up, it's that simple
post #26 of 33
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Why do the Hermes bag's cost so much? Because there is a waiting list.. If there were that many people with too much money, waiting in line to buy my product, I'd charge outrageous prices too...
In a way its a bit of a vicious cycle is it not?  They can afford to charge what they do (as can anyone) because people are willing to pay and wait in line for it.  Then when you have people paying 30K (some people make that much for a years worth of work) for a bag it becomes the ultimate status symbol to have one and people are willing to line up for it.  Not because its worth it intrinsically but for the status value.  Then invariably the fact that people associate wealth with the product many scramble to own one for the statement it makes (although the only statement that statement it makes when you have to carry it around in a plastic bag for fear of body oils ruining is that you are a halfwit for buying it in the first place) and the exclusivity is lost, and on to the next status symbol. Same goes for most LOGO type merchandise, how many people associate wealth and exclusivity with Burberry's colors since they are the easiest and probably most copied colors there are? Do they say anything else than ..."Gee, thats LOUD, cheap and when you think about it doesnt really belong in a full body Pajama at all" when you see them?  And especially the colorful ones which are a passing fad, and not timeless like the original LV colors. Why spend 30K on a bag?  Because it says something about you. JJF
post #27 of 33
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Why do the Hermes bag's cost so much? Because there is a waiting list.. If there were that many people with too much money, waiting in line to buy my product, I'd charge outrageous prices too...
In a way its a bit of a vicious cycle is it not? They can afford to charge what they do (as can anyone) because people are willing to pay and wait in line for it. Then when you have people paying 30K (some people make that much for a years worth of work) for a bag it becomes the ultimate status symbol to have one and people are willing to line up for it. Not because its worth it intrinsically but for the status value. Then invariably the fact that people associate wealth with the product many scramble to own one for the statement it makes (although the only statement that statement it makes when you have to carry it around in a plastic bag for fear of body oils ruining is that you are a halfwit for buying it in the first place) and the exclusivity is lost, and on to the next status symbol. Same goes for most LOGO type merchandise, how many people associate wealth and exclusivity with Burberry's colors since they are the easiest and probably most copied colors there are? Do they say anything else than ..."Gee, thats LOUD, cheap and when you think about it doesnt really belong in a full body Pajama at all" when you see them? And especially the colorful ones which are a passing fad, and not timeless like the original LV colors. Why spend 30K on a bag? Because it says something about you. JJF
"Why spend 30K on a bag? Because it says something about you." Yeah: SUCKER. I understand that the bag exists for the sake of appearances, in this case appearances of wealth. And like other status symbols are contrived objects, which truly are not worth their intrinsic value. Or are they? A person, who spends a $30k premium for a Ferrari 360 Spider, is willing to do so primarily for the sake of appearances. But, at the same time, the market will allow for the person to sell the 360 and still be able to charge part / the entire premium. There is some logic behind this principle. Also, the car is not mass-produced (enough) to allow for wide spread availability in the market place, thus ensuring limited availability. It is not possible to mass-produce Ferraris as you would Ford's and still keep the same level of quality. The same principle can be used when discussing a Patek, for example. I understand the law of supply and demand. What I don't understand is the demand. Plus since I should compare apples to apples, lets put it another way: what suit costs $30k?... or maybe more specifically: would you buy a RTW suit for $30k? Since the Hermes bag is a RTW item (not even custom,Something tells me a custom alligator bag would cost a lot less, probably $1500 to $3000), a RTW suit (this is a clothing forum after all) would probably the best comparison. Jon. P.S. A patrician woman would hardly need a handbag to distinguish herself from other people. Her demeanor, manners (hopefully), and class would shone through to help assure her status, regardless if she may be in bathing suit or a couture dress.
post #28 of 33
I may be mistaken here, but I don't think the average Kelly or Birkin bag costs anywhere near $30K. A female friend said that plain calfskin ones start around $5K, and go up to about $12-15K for alligator (and the bags are all essentially MTM, since you request size, leather type, etc.). Special requests, like diamond inlays or Hermes silk scarf linings, would obviously drive up the price. Maybe the $30K was for a vintage bag with uniqe features? I'm not denying the skill of Hermes's craftspeople, nor am I saying I'd enjoy paying that much for a handbag. Then again, I don't particularly want to shell out $5K for RTW Kiton suits or $30K for a Patek. But that's my preference.
post #29 of 33
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Quote Why do the Hermes bag's cost so much? Because there is a waiting list.. If there were that many people with too much money, waiting in line to buy my product, I'd charge outrageous prices too...
In a way its a bit of a vicious cycle is it not?  They can afford to charge what they do (as can anyone) because people are willing to pay and wait in line for it.  Then when you have people paying 30K (some people make that much for a years worth of work) for a bag it becomes the ultimate status symbol to have one and people are willing to line up for it.  Not because its worth it intrinsically but for the status value.  Then invariably the fact that people associate wealth with the product many scramble to own one for the statement it makes (although the only statement that statement it makes when you have to carry it around in a plastic bag for fear of body oils ruining is that you are a halfwit for buying it in the first place) and the exclusivity is lost, and on to the next status symbol. Same goes for most LOGO type merchandise, how many people associate wealth and exclusivity with Burberry's colors since they are the easiest and probably most copied colors there are? Do they say anything else than ..."Gee, thats LOUD, cheap and when you think about it doesnt really belong in a full  body Pajama at all" when you see them?  And especially the colorful ones which are a passing fad, and not timeless like the original LV colors. Why spend 30K on a bag?  Because it says something about you. JJF
"Why spend 30K on a bag?  Because it says something about you." Yeah: SUCKER. I understand that the bag exists for the sake of appearances, in this case appearances of wealth. And like other status symbols are contrived objects, which truly are not worth their intrinsic value. Or are they? A person, who spends a $30k premium for a Ferrari 360 Spider, is willing to do so primarily for the sake of appearances. But, at the same time, the market will allow for the person to sell the 360 and still be able to charge part / the entire premium. There is some logic behind this principle. Also, the car is not mass-produced (enough) to allow for wide spread availability in the market place, thus ensuring limited availability. It is not possible to mass-produce Ferraris as you would Ford's and still keep the same level of quality. The same principle can be used when discussing a Patek, for example. I understand the law of supply and demand. What I don't understand is the demand. Jon.   P.S. A patrician woman would hardly need a handbag to distinguish herself from other people. Her demeanor, manners (hopefully), and class would shone through to help assure her status, Regardless if she may be in bathing suit of a couture dress.[/quote] Oh I agree fully with all that you have posted, and none as emphatically as the SUCKER part.  I thought that it was evident from my quoted the guy who couldnt enjoy the handbag for fear of USING it. Essentially what it boils down to is finding that line between increased funcionality and name. Addmittedly the owner of a ferrari may have it for two reasons.  a) for the amazing performance that the car affords(Although there is nowhere probably in america that one can reap the benefits) and 2) for the image it portrays.  One pays for both of those. The image however is tarnished if EVERYONE has them and the pleasure they bring is severly diminished if you have to drive your ferrari with a tarp on top for fear of the elements ruining the finish. (read Cloth Covering for Bag) As far as invetment which is driven by supply and demand (IN ALL CASES)  A LV or Hermes bag is a great buy at 30K as long as you can get rid of it when the craze is still there.  Case in point the stock bubble of 2000.  All the dot coms were a great buy because of the greater fool theory. (You will find a greater fool to sell them to). But even without those restrictions put on the item, at some point in time you cross the line of Luxury coupled with functionality to unjustifyable excess. At some point sanity prevails (hopefully) and one comes to the realization that there is no intrisic nor perceived value in a 30K bag, and even in a 250K car for value is really an objective thing, governed by the market place.  Does anyone really notice the difference between a 100K car with all the amenities, and a 250K Ferrari when they arent cornering at 80 mph or on the Autostrade in Italy at 140MPH???  ( I was in Modena by Armani, buying for my store and one of the women working there said she rode in a ferrari from there to FLorence and All the way was wondering whats great about a ferrari, it was so uncomfortable) And the only reason that a Ferrari will hopefully retain its value is because the marketplace for that item will (hopefully) always exist, and no other reason. (Take the car to some third world country and try to sell it there see how many bids you get). Hopefully you are already on the other side of the deal when that happens and you in search of your Greater fool to sell that same dot commer to. (I know I am gonna get ripped for this one, but thats what makes us all who we are :-) ) JJF
post #30 of 33
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I may be mistaken here, but I don't think the average Kelly or Birkin bag costs anywhere near $30K. A female friend said that plain calfskin ones start around $5K, and go up to about $12-15K for alligator (and the bags are all essentially MTM, since you request size, leather type, etc.). Special requests, like diamond inlays or Hermes silk scarf linings, would obviously drive up the price. Maybe the $30K was for a vintage bag with uniqe features? I'm not denying the skill of Hermes's craftspeople, nor am I saying I'd enjoy paying that much for a handbag. Then again, I don't particularly want to shell out $5K for RTW Kiton suits or $30K for a Patek. But that's my preference.
The prices I gave ($12k for a regular, $30K for a gator) were prices that I have seen people purchase them for on ebay, as I stated. Normal retail prices are more like what you quoted. Women are very willing, however, to purchase the bags on ebay for more money to avoid the 2-4 year waiting list.
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