I was reading an article the other day stating that the Dutch have become the tallest people in the world. While this may be an intriguing fact to you, you’re probably wondering what the heck this has to do with personal finance? One of the quotes in the article caught my eye:
“Buying clothes and shoes is not a problem anymore. You can always find stores that sell large sizes,” he said. “But it’s not cheap. I don’t get any discounts off the rack.”
I’m tall, but not extraordinarily tall by US standards. I stand 6 feet 3 inches and can find anything I want here, even in the discount racks. I do, however, have experience in the cost of being tall. In Japan, it was nearly impossible for me to find clothing unless I went to specialty stores or the big and tall. The prices at these stores were always several times the price of clothes available in the department stores.
Since it was nearly impossible for me to get clothes from the department stores in Japan (I have long legs and arms – even though the waist and shirt sized would fit, the arm and leg lengths were always too short. Shoes in a size 13 were impossible to find), I learned to do my shopping on a yearly basis when I cam to visit back in the US. This worked to some degree, but it can be difficult to find winter clothes when you are home for the summer. That meant that I had to supplement my clothing through US catalog purchases (which would get taxed upon importation). Being tall in Japan definitely increased my costs for clothing compared to my friends who were within the size range that the Japanese stores bought clothing in bulk for.
This is true where ever one lives. If you happen to be a size or shape that doesn’t meet the standard size that most clothes are sold in you can expect to pay more. While in some cases you can control your size, in many others it is genetic and you have little to no control over it.
I began to think a bit more about this and figured there are probably a lot of differences that people have that end up costing them more money because they don’t fir into the “norm” set by the retail stores that purchase merchandise. I would imagine that left hand people end up spending more getting items that they can use compared to those who are right handed. I imagine that those with lighter than normal complexions must pay more to protect their skin and to get cosmetics that match their skin color. I’m sure there is a long list of other differences that I have not even considered that those who have that particular difference know that it costs them more.
This all suggests that being average has the benefit of costing less. I don’t have a brilliant solution for this, but thought it was interesting and something that I doubt most people have thought about so thought it was worthwhile bringing attention to it. Feel free to list other differences that cost money that I have not mentioned here…