Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Ralph Lauren and El Corte Inglés - Laughing all the way to the bank . . .

Never one to lose an opportunity to shop, I used my trip to Lisbon today to renew my passport (another post altogether) as a segue to spend 5 hours in a department store. After all even old chicks need to look cute! My excuse (right, like I need an excuse to shop. For me shopping is on the same level as tennis or scuba diving. Yes, I see shopping as a sport! And like all sports - one needs to practice, practice, practice! You don't want to lose your edge - lol) is that I need to do some back to school shopping and the sales are on so it's worthwhile to take advantage of them. How thrifty of me.

And "No" you didn't miss anything. I don't have any children, but since I will be gainfully employed this coming school year as an information technology teacher at an international school near Lisbon (hooray) I thought it would be fitting to pick up a few things for myself. :-)

While browsing in the Polo department of El Corte Inglés (a Spanish department store of very good quality located in Lisbon) I began to feel befooled. Some of the prices - even on sale - were so expensive that you would need a second job (or a second life - hahaha) to afford them. I can't decide who the bandit is - Ralph Lauren or El Corte Inglés - but we are being robbed. The normal ladies' polo shirt is 115 Euros. Consider the fact that the Euro is UP against the dollar (€1.3659 to $1). Don't bother taking your socks off I'll help you with the calculation (lol). That means that the €115 classic-fit polo shirt is equal to $157.00. I went to the official Ralph Lauren website to do a little comparison shopping and found the same classic-fit polo available in the US for $75.00. Yikes! That's about a kazillion percent profit. At any rate it's way expensive for a little shirt to run to the mall in on the weekends.

I recognize that the main goal of a business to make a profit (otherwise Ralph would be making all these polos and giving them away as gifts - very benevolent but unlikely). And I realize that when you buy a Ralph Lauren product (clothing, fragrance, housewares) that you are really buying a lifestyle (and that don't come cheap!!!). I also understand that there are duties and excise taxes on imported items and that one will pay more for American products here in Europe (although I really don't know why because these products are NOT "Made in the USA" but elsewhere - including China, Mexico and Thailand) but I think that Ralph and El Corte Inglés can now be included on the same list as the sheriff of Nottingham, Sir Francis Drake, Louis XVI and other various bucaneers, profiteers and theives. . .


Clay Burell said...

Hi :)
Thanks for the link to my BS (Beyond School). I love how Technorati plays matchmaker that way.

You're in Lisbon? I took a 4-week certification course there in '01, and fell. in. love. with. that. city.

Had a view of the bridge from the apt I was staying in - a room I sublet from a teacher at an international school in Lisbon. I wonder if you work at the same school.

She was nice, had a cat. I'm darned if I can remember her name now.

Anyway, hm. We should talk about networking teachers (and/or ourselves) at your school in Lisbon and mine in Seoul.

Drop me an email? clayburell [at] gmail [dot] com.

Bye :)

Cris said...

I think Ralph Lauren should send you his latest collection for you to try on. You could start blogging about his fashion then. You would be our leader in the fashion department. If I were Ralph Lauren I would really consider it!
He would improve his sale rates, and who knows make it cheaper...