and anniversaries. This year my anniversary came up in August and I could
not think of a gift idea for the life of me. I tried for over a month but
I had either already given it or it was not of interest to her. So I bit
the bullet and asked her what to get. She responded by saying, “Don’t
worry about it. I bought myself a Coach purse you can give me.” So I
asked what a Coach purse was and I was told it was just a purse. Then I
asked how much “I” spent and she said, “It was on sale.” When you aren’t
given a number, it is never good! So I examined my “gift” and found it to
be a rather ordinary looking purse. There was nothing special about it
that differentiated it from any other purse besides all the repeats of the
letter C on it. That led me to ask, “You already have a bunch of
purses. You can’t even use all the ones you have now. Why do you
need another one?” Her response shocked me. She said, “Everyone else
had one and I felt left out.” Wow! It was like middle school all
over again. I was looking at this from a utilitarian point of view when it
was clearly an issue of peer pressure. In the end, the purse made her
happy and that was the goal of the gift. So I decided to let it be.
Then I went to the store and noticed something. Nearly every woman
there had a Coach purse! One even had a Coach wallet. A family with
twins went by with their double stroller and they had a Coach Diaper bag!
Can I buy stock in this company? They absolutely rule the market
place. There were more women carrying something Coach than wearing blue
jeans. Easily 75% of the women had something Coach. It was not an
isolated occurrence. Every store or mall I visited was the same way.
Finally I talked to one of the women and mentioned I had bought my wife
one. Then I asked her what was so special about them and her answer was,
“Everyone has one. I figured I should too.” The practical part of me
was floored. It was one of the most incredible examples of group-think I
had ever seen. Remember back in school when everyone wore a certain brand
of shoes and so you wanted them too in order to fit in? The same was true
of jeans and other apparel. I thought those days were over but it would
seem that meeting status quo is still relevant, particularly for women.
With men the best example I could come up with was having the right car.
Even that, however, is varied based on the person or demographic. The
Coach purse was a universal necessity that transgressed all social
classes. The sad part of it all is that in a year or so there will be some
other brand that everyone has to have and there will be an expensive purse in my
closet waiting for the trip to Goodwill. I wonder if women dislike feeling
obliged to buy the latest trend or they look forward to it? And who starts
these trends, anyway? Maybe I can convince them to carry around my book.