Friday, January 27, 2006

Why Are Different Sizes Not Always Different Prices?

(a question posed by Kimberly)

Most goods that come in different sizes have different prices assigned to each size (drinks, boxes of cereal, etc.); most likely in part due to the increased cost of making more of a good. However, this does not apply to clothes or shoes, where the price is the same no matter which size you buy (even though it surely costs more in raw materials to produce the larger sizes).

The question is: Why don't stores charge different prices for different sizes of clothes or shoes? Particularly, why don't they charge more for the larger sizes?

11 comments:

Kind Kimberly Burky said...

This really does bother me a lot. So, I've spent many years thinking about it. My best guess as to why the pricing is the same for all sizes is becuase it would be a hassle to price all the clothing differently. Also, this could discriminate against obesity because you would have to pay more for clothing and, thus, encourage eating disorders. Those are pretty much the best things I could think of.

Hagar the Horrible said...

Kimberly,

think about the following two questions:
1.) Why would someone pay more for a bigger drink?
2.) Now do you think this reason applies for clothes? If so why? If not, why not?

Anyone else got comments on this questions?

Anonymous said...

I think its because the extra material is almost nothing. On cheaper items of clothing the price stays the same but it seems like on nice articles of clothing the price increases, but I could be lieing. It could also be that it would be unfair to charge someone more because they are tall or short. As to hagar's comment I don't get why people pay more for bigger drinks when most places(fast food places) give you free refills or discounted refills. John Garrison

Rebecca said...

People are willing to pay more for a bigger drink because they get more of the product. However, people don't buy bigger clothes because they get more clothe: they buy clothes that fit. So, the willingness to pay is the same for all sizes, and, therefore, the price is the same despite the varying cost of materials.

Anonymous said...

They do charge more. I tried to find an example of this really quick, and I went to www.bustedtees.com, an online t-shirt vendor, and they charge $1.50 for XXL and $3.00 for 3XL. I'd agree to the claim that cloth doesn't cost a whole lot more, but maybe it makes a difference, unless theres a reason for charging up to three bucks more for a huge t-shirt. And it's probably not a pain for an online vendor to do it because the only difference to them is the price they charge your credit card, instead of having to label all the shirts individually. Society's way of encouraging weight loss, maybe? just kidding...
-andrew gelly

Anonymous said...

That's pretty harsh! Society encouraging weight loss? hmm...

Anyway, larger people are similar to smaller people because there are less of them. Looking at the population as a normal distribution, the large and small people should are alike because of their smaller population. Companies do not charge more for larger sizes because there are not many people to increase the price for.

Also, when you go to a local clothing store, you usually see alot of the sizes ranging between M and XL. There are not many 3XL and 4XL sizes on the rack, which brings the problem of scarcity. If companies want to charge more, then maybe they should make more, because its pretty tough finding large clothes, especially shoes.


---Paul Moustoukas

Anonymous said...

I have thought about this for a couple of years as well...

but i agree with rebecca. people choose what size drink they want based on how much they want that drink. A person cannot choose their shoe size so they have the same demand for the product as the next person. If they did charge more it would be like predatory pricing based on size... and i dont think many peope would go for that
-Kelly Gaetano

Devin Arnold said...

I don't know kimbo. That i a very good question. Maybe they feel bad making fat people pay more. Maybe if one brand did charge more for fat people, all the fat people wuld buy a brand that did not charge more for large sizes.

Anonymous said...

At first, i thought the exact same as Devin: that if one company price discrimantes against people who need to buy larger clothes, they would suffer because they would loose business from the large people. However, i think it would work the other way around as well. If the company also charged less for smaller clothes, more tiny people would shop there. But, because they are now lowering the price of their product for the tiny people, the company would need to know if the number of small people buying from them is greater than the number of large people who no longer shop there by a large enough margin in order to make a profit or compensate for the loss of revenue that the company experiences due to the loss of the large people shopping there.

...i hope i said that right and that it makes sense.. i tend to ramble
-Emily Freebairn

Anonymous said...

I agree with Rebecca in the fact that people choose to super size their meal or get a larger drink because they want more of the product. So, although obese people can get rid of their weight, people don't nessicarily choose to be overweight so why should they pay for it? Also if one company decided to charge more for bigger clothes, the obese people would shop elsewhere and if every company started it, i think a riot would start...
courtney

Anonymous said...

One reason why clothing companies might charge the same prices for different sized clothes is that the materials that are used for the really small sizes cancel out the materials used for bigger sizes. For example, let’s just say that it takes X amount of fabric to make an XS shirt and it takes 4X to make an XL shirt. When the amount of fabric used is added up, they used 5X amount of fabric. However, one medium sized shirt takes 2.5X material per shirt, so two medium sized shirts would also use 5X amount of material. So, selling an XS and an XL would be exactly the same for this company as selling two medium shirts. So, as long as the ratio of XS to XL shirts is the same for this company and they correctly figured out how many they need to make, this company does not need to make the larger sizes more expensive because they are using the same amount of fabric because the smaller people are buying less fabric and the larger ones are buying more.

Jessica Monk