Brand loyalty?

As much as brand loyalty is often misplaced, sometimes it has its place. While I try to avoid too many personal tales, in which I fail at far too often, I do have a feeling that in this case a small personal story is in place.

After spending a morning chopping wood and petting dogs, I noticed that a pair of shoes I wear everywhere, any time, any weather, had finally given in a basically just broke down. Thus, a need to buy new shoes.

However, just like everyone who have slightly out of ordinary shoes, finding the perfect pair can take some time, and some brands simply do not my feet. I enjoy slightly wider last than what the standard is with a nice, slightly thicker soles and longer life. The last one I had lasted about six years, God bless ’em.

The thing is, not many companies design and produce shoes that fit these tootsies. It took me three purchases to realize that I’ve been buying Merrel shoes just because they fulfil what I’m looking for, and that’s just me.

Brand loyalty with clothes is very much a different thing than brand loyalty with e.g. game console brands. Human body is dynamic and changes so much from person to person and year to year, and some people just have the hardest time to find the right clothes that fit their frame. Women have hard time finding decent bras if their bust size on the larger side, and more often than not you can forget finding them in nice colour or with laces.

Is it a necessary brand loyalty? No, it’s just easy. Only at the extremes you may not find but one or two options to go with, but consumer rarely wants to change from a provider that they’ve already either invested in emotionally or feel they have no reason to change the provider. For example, one may want to keep from buying H&M due to their shit practices in production, but despite that one can’t ignore that sometimes they just have pretty good stuff in stock.

Informed consumer can make the best purchase decisions based on their wants and morals. It’s all about what the consumer wants and what sort of attachment they have. Agendas, intentions and so on affect our purchasing habits to a large degree, and those who could be called world savers are more than aware of each and every single thing the clothes companies do wrong. You can bet that each and every piece of clothing and brand they’re under in the stores rip off somebody elsewhere in the world. The only way to assure that doesn’t happen is to employ your local tailor, and even then you’d need to question where the fabrics, threads, buttons and zippers come from. The common consumer doesn’t really a give a damn about that. It’s easier and more accessible to walk into a store and purchase what fits you in there rather than sit down, do research, measure yourself and find whatever may fit you from a seller that’s not killing employees in a factory fire because they didn’t install emergency exits.

Much like with the local pizza industry, most people are not willing to dish out large amounts of money for their clothes, despite the quality does go hand in hand with price in most cases. Companies are required to get the cheapest possible at the best possible quality, and often that requires one end to suffer somehow. Third world manufacturing plants and their employees tend to be the one who get shafted in these cases. There is no perfect solution how to make all three parties equal in this dilemma, and I’m not even going to amuse possible solutions. Consumers want quality for cheap, companies are required to find the most profitable way to do it, and most people around the world are just happy to get some kind of place to work, whatever it is. There is always someone else willing to take your spot in the workforce.

But, one person among million of consumers does not affect any. The power is in the numbers. If your decisions what you purchase and from who have basically no effect on anything, why do it? Because it your feeling on the matter. My refusal on using Valve’s services or purchasing anything from Gamestop weight absolutely nil in the larger scheme, but it has impact on the feeling and idea that I can stand next to whatever I believe in to be right. That applies to everyone, and everybody has their own subjective view on any issue. We weight these purchases often too lightly, and with brand loyalty in there, we tend to ignore what could affect our decisions in favour for our own comfort, and there’s really nothing wrong in that.

So, me purchasing a new pair of shoes from the same manufacturer for the third time without knowing one thing about the company itself shows my willingness to basically ignore to know one thing about them. It never occurred to me, it didn’t matter. The information is out there, in my fingertips through the keyboard. Better fix that, so I can make a more educated purchase next time when it comes to clothing. After all, even a guy who mostly posts about games and giant robots needs to wear clothes when going out there.

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