Differences Cost Money

tall guyI 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…

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7 Responses to Differences Cost Money

  1. Gigi says:

    Being tall AND skinny doesn’t work well when being normal is shorter and wider. Small shirts are no longer small (retailers are making them larger to make people feel better). It’s frustrating trying to find XS shirt with long enough sleeves or pants in a size 6 with a 34″ inseam. I’m starting to see a broader range of sizes, but not at the bulk retailers such as Walmart and Target.

  2. Sam says:

    This seems to be the inverse of that other law of finance: Differences in taste create value. But maybe there’s ways to create value even out of these types of differences. Naturally tall and thin? How much do you save on food and exercize equipment compared to people who overeat and then try to work off some of that fat?

  3. Gigi says:

    Actually, I probably eat more than most people. My metabolism just takes care of it for me. I still have a gym membership but don’t go often.

  4. davis says:

    Wouldn’t people that overeat to the extreme find themself in the same position. I’m sure those that are too large end up paying more in addition to the costs of dieting or exercise equipment they may purchase.

  5. Sylvia Nelson-Campbell says:

    This is very true for the overweight! After losing a large amount of weight, I was startled to see what “regular” people were paying for their clothes, compared to what I had had to pay for mine.

  6. contrary1 says:

    However………these differences give me a group to market my skills to re; alterations. If you lined up all my customers, 90% of them have a unique body shape or type. I love it. Customers for life. The very tall, the very short and every other unique combination of long legs, tiny waists, etc.

    But, you’re right. These folks can’t buy things off the rack and feel good wearing them. I customize the items for them and they look & feel much better in their clothes……..but, they are paying twice for the same thing most people take for granted.

  7. Frugal Father says:

    Differences cost. It could be a medical difference. I have severe respitory problems and it costs, we do spend less in other areas though. It depends on the actual difference I feel.

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