Because of my nerdy interest in all things business related, one of my favorite movies this spring was Confessions of a Shopaholic. The movie release coincided nicely with my “cutting up my credit cards/money diet” and overall life makeover, so I identified more with the character than some others might have, judging from the reviews. Some critics thought that obsequious display of materialism shown by “the girl with the green scarf” (the main character in the movie) was a bit much to take while 401ks were tanking all over the country, and CEOs were flying to Washington to ask for money in their private jets while their employees were having trouble scrounging enough food for a decent meal once a day.
I am not one of those critics. I feel like this movie had a great message, one that was easy to take based on the principle “a spoon full of sugar helps the medicine go down.” I identified with the character Rebecca Bloomwood because I am Rebecca Bloomwood. (I don’t have debt collectors calling me, but I do know the thrill of buying a new designer purse. And how fast it dies. And how unpleasant it is to get the credit card bill.) Why am I writing a movie review on a shirt blog? I have a point. Stick with me. I’m not as pretty as Isla Fisher or as hunky as Hugh Dancy, so we’re not talking about eye candy here, but we are talking about a pretty important topic re: spending money when you don’t have much to go around.
The Big Idea
The idea that so enthralled me was the idea of Cost vs. Worth. Some people would say price vs. value. To me, they’re not exactly the same thing. Cost incorporates more than a dollar price. Worth incorporates more to me than wringing out each drop from each product or service you purchase. However, some people always equate Price/Cost with Value/Worth. And, if you are one of those people, you might think that our prices seem impossibly low, and there is no way we can send you a quality polo shirt with your embroidered logo for $14.95, first, I would refer you to the “Queensboro Bailout” post, with customer quotes, but next, I would ask you to keep reading, and then re-examine the way you assign “worth” to products and services.
A $20 Hot Dog
The heroine in the movie gets a lesson in cost vs. worth when she is trying to buy a lovely green scarf (that she doesn’t need), and finds that all of her credit cards are maxed out. She has enough cash to buy the scarf, minus about $15. So, she goes outside to a hot dog vendor and asks if he can give “cash back.” A HOT DOG VENDOR. She is one desperate cookie. She makes such a racket that the gentleman in front of her pays for his hot dog and asks the vendor to give Rebecca the change. She says “Why would you pay $20 for a hot dog?” He tells her that cost and worth aren’t the same thing, and the $20 is worth it to make her go away. OUCH.
Of course, he ends up being her new boss at the finance magazine she starts working at, they fall in love, etc. and so on. While she works at the finance magazine and spends some time with Mr. Right, she starts learning the value of cost and worth. She’s too embarrassed to be writing financial advice under her own name, so she goes by the title “The Girl with the Green Scarf,” and writes about finances in a way that normal people can understand and relate to.
She becomes so successful that the collections agency man eventually finds her, despite her best efforts to hide, and she has to sell everything she owns to pay down the debt and recover her good name. She even auctions off the famous green scarf. I’m not going to tell you how the movie ends, specifically, but I’m sure if you have seen a chick flick or two, you can figure it out on your own. What matters is not really the plot details, but what the characters learn in the process. I enjoyed the movie because it is much like columns written by the “Girl in the Green Scarf.” It had a good message that I could understand. It was written in the language of the designer purse. I speak that language.
Cost Vs. Worth
When you read reviews of the movie, they say that the real message is that things and money can’t buy you happiness. Ok, duh. Why I like the movie, including the end, is not just about money buying happiness. I know that. I like the actual discussion of cost vs. worth, which is demonstrated by the turnout of the auction, including the green scarf. To Rebecca, the scarf is worth more than any price that could be put on it. Originally, she believed the scarf had worth because it was brand-name and made her feel great to own. (for about a minute) It was expensive, which meant it was more valuable. But then, the scarf took on a life of its own, becoming the symbol used in her highly successful financial column, making it worth much more than she originally paid for it. The worth of things should not necessarily be judged by their price or cost-high or low. Is something a bargain, even if it is inexpensive, if it doesn’t do the job? Not really.
Cue the Shirts
We have to get around to shirts here. So, this is my argument.
Queensboro shirts are kind of like the green scarf, only our shirts don’t start out at a price that most people think is high. In fact, our shirts start out at prices that seem so low to so many people, they can’t believe that they would have much worth, in terms of advancing their business. Because, a lot of people do associate a higher price with better quality, value, and worth. (That is what got Rebecca the Shopaholic into trouble in the first place-not just the shopper’s high upon getting a great new outfit-but looking at herself and her self-worth in terms of her ability to buy expensive, high-fashion clothes.)
Queensboro shirts are worth a lot more to most of our customers than they cost, but some people don’t figure that out until they actually take the plunge and order from us. When money for your business is scarce, it is important to fully consider everything you spend. This is why our shirts (or hats or bags) with your logo on them are worth more than their $7.95 or $14.95 or $24.94 price tag:
- They help you look professional, which will help others perceive you as a professional, thus nabbing you more business.
- As a piggyback to the above reason, the shirts help you feel more confident, which your customers and potential customers will pick up on.
- They provide good conversation starters when you wear them out and about.
- These custom embroidered shirts and promotional products spread your brand name when you wear them or take them out, or when people you give them to wear them or take them out.
A billboard costs thousands of dollars to rent. A shirt costs just a few bucks. Which one is worth more to you? That depends on your business. Isn’t it time you decided?