The Oaks Ignore Their Pleas

(Price) Tag Memories

Posted in General by Jeff Graves on January 4, 2007

The title of this post doesn’t actually refer to metadata tags, but to good old-fashioned pricetags.  My wife gave me a nice new sport coat for Christmas, and I decided to wear it today.  Naturally, before I could wear it, I had to remove no fewer than 4 tags that were attached to the coat, in a variety of obscure locations.  I’m pretty anal about removing tags, mainly because of something that happened over 30 years ago…to someone I don’t really even know…

One Christmas, when I was about 10, my family and I went to Christmas Eve services at our church.  One of the gentlemen at the service obviously had just bought a new suit for the holiday.  How was it so obvious?  Well, under his arm, there still dangled a pricetag, a nice white one that stood out against the dark blue of his suit.  Thirty years later, my mother still recalls that story every Christmas, and as a result, every time I buy a new article of clothing, I spend a ton of time making sure that I’ve removed every tag from the article, because I don’t want to be remembered 30 years from now for having missed a tag.

 Which brings me to the real intent of this post – the design process behind collateral material like tags and packaging.  Why, for example, do companies need to put so many tags on a piece of clothing, and make them so hard to find sometimes?  Why do toy companies have to encase toys in so much plastic, and wrap them in wire ties that have to but unraveled or cut before the toy can be used?  I know there are “reasons” for all of this, but are they really friendly to the consumer, or are they in place for some assumed benefit to the manufacturer, or the retailer?

Having just survived another Christmas with 3 kids, I have to say that my least favorite part of the day is trying to remove all the unnecessary tags and wraps from items.  None of that does anything for me, except waste my time, and detract from the enjoyment of the item in question.  I just wonder when retailers and manufacturers are going to recognize that and do something about it.


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