Thursday, June 7, 2018
On getting what we pay for
What do the following things have in common?
Armani Code Eau de Toilette
Samsung Galaxy Note 4 new replacement battery
Samsung Galaxy Note 4 new stylus
Under Armour compression t-shirt
They're all top-quality items sold as the real deal online...but not what we receive
I'd used Armani Code for years and gotten rave reviews from customers and ladies. But the ood, compliments stopped the day I started wearing the bottle bought from Amazon. It was convincingly packaged and seemed to smell the same. But it had no projection and the scent faded in only an hour.
Sure enough, I did what I should have done in the first place: :checked out the 1-star reviews. Same complaint around the board. So back I went to Macy's.
But I drew the wrong conclusion: that fake toiletries were a class unto themselves.
When my phone battery died, though, I needed a replacement fast. And when I couldn't find one in a brick and mortar store, I didn't' hesitate to order one from Amazon. Not just any old one that was listed. No, I chose a best-selling original new Samsung battery. It arrived in two days and looked like the real deal: neatly wrapped in a sealed Samsung box. But daily the charge it would hold went down: from 90% to 53%...and lower. When I had to recharge it every couple of hours, I ordered a replacement, this time expecting the worst after reading the one-star reviews. One of the reviewers posted photos of authentic Samsung batteries and packaging--with photos of the fakes. (E.g., the backside of the inner wrapping has a Samsung code. My second replacement battery had no inner wrap.)
I could go on. The 'original' styluses were junk, some of them breaking within a few days. And one clever clone maker even mimicked the Samsung shadow logo on the silver top--though they neglected to color it white.
There's no sense blaming Amazon, which can't police all of its vendors and will cheerfully refund any misadvertised merch. Besides, we have ample protection:
1) The 1 and 2-star reviews.
2) Common sense, which should remind us that we really do get what we pay for. If the Samsung store sells a stylus for $30, we should be wary of buying it online for $9.99. Ditto an authentic Under Armour compression tee--be prepared to spend $30 if you're concerned with quality.
I'm troubled a good deal more by the growing unawareness of the difference between the real deals and their clones in fashion and in art.
Here's to the distinction, with hopes it never dies.