Tuesday

CAVEAT EMPTOR

I have confessed a lot of addictions on this blog... pillow addictions... lamp addictions... but my latest and greatest obsession is One King's Lane. The prices! The brand names! The buy-it-or-else excitement! The prices! The selections are on-trend and quality, and the marketing geniuses at OKL recently launched an even more thrilling twist on the designer fire sale:  vintage, antique, or gently used pieces chosen by "tastemakers" - a.k.a. Famous Names. This makes for some of the most interesting screen shopping of all, but lately, I've been hesitating to click "buy." It's easy to compare values, on, say, Ralph Lauren Home lamps or Mansour rugs, but antique or vintage items are one of a kind, and I've haggled with enough sellers over the years to know that value is in the eyes of the beholder. Sometimes, the prices on OKL seem quite good. At other times, they're whimsical, if not downright arbitrary. But without the ability to lay hands and eyes on the product, or compare it to anything else, who knows? Well, now I do.

A few years ago, I fell head over for a pair of ceramic parrots offered by Anthropologie. They were priced somewhere between $60 and $90 - more than I wanted to spend, and after a little web stalking, I managed to catch them on sale for $30. Victory! They've been prized ever since.

"Front" view

"Back" view

So imagine my surprise when I found the exact same pair on One King's Lane this weekend, for $275 (listed with an even higher "original" cost of $550 retail). They're absolutely identical to my own, but with a hefty price tag - an increase of around three times their original selling value. That seemed more than a little steep.

"Front" view of the parrots.


A little more investigation on the world wide web revealed that these aren't even off the market - you can buy them brand new over at Shop/10/25. Cost? $120, less than half the price of the "gently used" - not antique or vintage - pair at OKL.

"Back" view of the parrots.

So there you are. If you are so enamored with a Tastemaker item that value is secondary, by all means click away. But caveat emptor - there are no guarantees that what you get is worth the price.
All images, companies as attributed.

2 comments:

maison21 said...

s' the way the world works, i'm afraid- some people are happier paying more for an item for the security and convenience of purchasing from somewhere posh, others (mere mortals like you and i) prefer being bargain shoppers, loving the chic wherever we find it!

vive la différence!

Averill said...

?!?!?!?! Holy crap! And yet, somehow, I'm not surprised....

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