Wednesday, 13 July 2022

How much would you pay for

a "woolly" scarf?

I was going past a "home wares" shop yesterday. It sells an even greater variety of things than it once did. Just inside the door there was a stand with some items of clothing hanging to it. One of the items was a pink scarf that looked as if it had been crocheted. 

I was not in the least bit interested in buying it of course. I don't like pink, I don't wear woolly scarves in this climate, and it looked - uncomfortable. 

It also looked as if it might have been handmade because it was made from very thick yarn. It is what knitters who know about these things might call "pencil roving" I suppose but the thickness was about that of my thumb. (I have quite small front paws but that still makes for very thick yarn.) 

I had clean paws so I touched the scarf cautiously. Mmm... there was possibly some wool in it but it was definitely very little wool. (I looked at the label. It didn't tell me much. My paws know wool when I feel it.)

Then I looked at the price.... $129.50.

I put my paws firmly back on the shopping trolley and went off thinking about this. The scarf would have taken a moderately skilled crocheter a couple of hours to make. I don't know what that yarn cost of course but it was not likely to have been as much as all that.

If the scarf sells then it is the shop which will make the profit. The person who made the scarf might get a few dollars. 

It is of course a similar story with so many hand crafted items. The Senior Cat often made wooden pens. They were simple affairs but he understood ergonomics and they were pleasant to hold. He gave them as "thank you" gifts to people. He knew other people who made more ornate pens and sold them but he never felt the need to do that. He made other things too, the conjuring apparatus, bowls, boxes, and toys. All the time he did this people would say, "Why don't you sell this sort of thing to...." and they would name a local shop. The Senior Cat would smile and tell them he wasn't interested. He didn't want to put himself under the pressure of "must do this" and he also knew he would not be paid for the effort that would go into it.

My guess is that the scarf I saw yesterday would - at very most - have cost the shop around $10-15 to stock. As a "hand made" item it is being sold for far more. I can knit and crochet and I am fortunate in that I could make myself something like this.   But, if you cannot do it yourself how much would you be prepared to pay? More importantly, who are you really paying?


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