Why has buying clothes just got so technical?

A few weeks ago my wife and I were in London and she decided to buy a down jacket. Nothing too complex you would think, just two sleeves, some padding, a zip and a couple of pockets. But we hadn’t counted on the latest trend in retail which I call Hyperboletailing or the desire to make the ordinary sound magical or more accurately to add a foot thick veneer of marketing guff to the most ordinary purchase.

You know the sort of thing

Starbucks Barista “Ju wanna Watermelon flee tade bees?”

Mark “I’m sorry I have no ideas what you’re saying” 

Colleague of first Starbucks Barista “Do you want Guatemalan free trade beans”

Mark “Why?”

Colleague of first Starbucks Barista “They’re from Guatamala and their free trade”

Mark “Does that make a difference?”

Original Barista “Ju wanna?”

Mark “No” but secretly thinks “I just want a coffee made with the most ordinary, unethical beans you have ideally from a highly oppressive totalitarian regime, Korean by choice”

So on with the coat story. Elly decided that the sort of place would sell a warn down jacket would be a outdoor shop. So far so completely logical but the world of BS retailing was about to kick in. Picture the scene

Elly “Do you sell down jackets?”

Salesman “Yes, what altitude will be be using it at?”

Elly “Pretty much at sea level” (we live by the sea or technically 23 feet above sea level but she thought she’d get away with it”

Salesman “Ah……how many base layers will you be wearing”

Elly “Does that matter if I’m just going to Waitrose?”

Salesman “Could do, will you be skiing?”

Elly “Probably not to the supermarket but it might be raining”

Salesmen “Oh, these jackets are only certified to IPXAC 497?”

Elly (foolishly) “What’s that?”

Salesman “That means you can survive a precipitation incident of between 6.17 and 11.42 for no longer than 22 minutes and 34 seconds”

Elly ” So it’s waterproof?”

Salesman “I’m not allowed to say that”

Elly “Because…..?”

Salesman “We don’t want to sell you a coat that might malfunction in a category 7 WI. That’s weather incident”

Elly “Mmmm…I just wanted a coat. Do you have this in black”

Salesman “No just dark charcoal”

Elly “Looks black to me”

Salesman “I assure you it’s dark charcoal”

Elly “How much is it”

Salesman “This is a technical jacket and costs £325.00.”

Elly to me “I think we’ll have a look at M&S”


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