Can you tell quality by the price?

While I was in Spain not long ago, I had some extra time on my hands so I went for a random walk.  Along the way I decided to go into a large department store, Cortes Ingles, just to see what people were buying.

As I wandered by way through the store, I saw a lot of designer labels that were familiar and many that weren’t.  In the men’s department I saw Hugo Boss and Ralph Lauren and Tommy Hilfinger (the denim collection).  But what about the brands that I didn’t recognize?  How would I know if they were good, if they were fashionable?  Would I have to rely on my own sense of style, the feel of the cloth, the quality of the stitching?  I don’t have confidence in my ability to judge those cues.  I looked for other cues, the designer brands on either side, the type of people who were looking through the clothes.  

Then I looked at the price tags.

It was a revelation.  

I felt more confident that I could spot the best clothes once I got a feeling for their pricing.  Consciously or not, I was taking price as my cue for quality and not the other way around.  Even if the quality was no better, the higher price made me feel more comfortable in judging the brands.  Like the old joke goes, “It better be good because it’s so goddam expensive.”

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