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Austrians limit posh handbag purchases for Japanese


Unswerving cyclist
14 Mar 2002
Reported by Mainichi News:

Austrians limit posh handbag purchases for Japanese

=> http://mdn.mainichi.co.jp/news/20020525p2a00m0fp005000c.html

Another French, not Austrian store, Hermes, has limited handbag sales to Japanese.

ISSHO comment:

"It is common for designer label stores in Paris and Italy to limit sales to Japanese, but Hermes is the first Austrian outlet to have taken the racially motivated stance. Japanese customers are required to present identification at the store, then limited to purchases of a maximum of two handbags each."
Could someone please tell me the real reason why there are limits on Japanese?

"If we did not limit sales to Japanese, they would buy all our products," outlet manager Florian Jonak was quoted as saying to an Austrian magazine."

-- This seems like a BS statement. A shop has products in their store for the purpose of hopefully having them all bought by customers. More sales = good business? Please help me stop my head scratching!
Well, I have thought about that a lot too. From a commercial point of view such measures seem to be highly illogical. Just discussed this with Nahoko, she thinks that the prime motive of these posh brands is reputation. European capitals are flooded (her own words) with Japanese tourists who come to "plunder" brand shops like Gucci, Prada, Vuitton etc. (no affiliation whatsoever, hehe), in particular in times of sales. Then these shops are crowded with hundreds of mostly young Japanese girls queueing up for bags and other accessories, emptying stocks.

To make it short, it's probably sales vs. reputation, exclusiveness vs. banality. How to keep a product exclusive? Usually through high prices, but that doesn't scare these Japanese consumers away. So purchase limits seem to be the next logical step...

On a side-note: I never understood the attraction of posh brands.
I wonder how much of this mentality ties in with another post where I mentioned it's the form of how something is done.

Obviously, traveling requires a certain amount of protocol. ie ... buying expensive brand name goods outside of Japan (although I wonder if the price isn't so different anymore -- at one time goods were extremely expensive).

Also, if supply is being cut to Japanese then that would mean that sellers would have to leave Japan to get supplies.

TV Talent always buy something at a shop will they're doing a location shoot and if introducting a popular store is involved.

My wife has her own collection too, of Loius Vuitton and Channel. Recent purchase was a $1000 brief case type of bag from Loius Vuitton.

Interesting is that many older Japanese complain when young school girls carry a Loius Vuitton rocksac type of bag but never complain about the Loius Vuitton purse.

Are Japanese rich?
Nope, My wife used to love saving here $1200 monthly salary just to drop a cool grand in cash at the Vuitton counter when she was 18.
You'd be surprised by how many Japanese are actually quite lower-middleclass by American Standards. Many of which are the ones you see studying abroad.

Posh Brand carrying in Japan is quite safe which might be one reason why so many folks carry them around.

hmmm I'm gonna quiz my students on this issue of why such brands are popular among the younger crowd later this week. Wife too if she isn't cranky.

Why do Japanese allow these types of actions? If I was limited to 2 bags I'd start making a fuss. hmmm ... another thing to look into.
Originally posted by moyashi
Are Japanese rich?
Nope, My wife used to love saving here $1200 monthly salary just to drop a cool grand in cash at the Vuitton counter when she was 18. You'd be surprised by how many Japanese are actually quite lower-middleclass by American Standards. Many of which are the ones you see studying abroad.
I always wondered how Japanese manage to survive, comparing living costs and wages. Fact is that tourists travelling abroad have the cash in their pockets, whatever way they acquired it, and they are willing to spend it.

The average "office lady" - posh brand customer #1, as the stereotype goes - still lives with her parents, is thus able to save a lot of money and travels abroad once or twice per year.

I'd really like to know more about the attraction of so-called high-class products (are theymore than just status symbols?).

And I'll also try to find out more about these purchase limits (I hope I can get that article initially mentioned by Mainichi News). Anyhow, I would not go as far as calling such limitations "racially motivated".
hmm ... went shopping for mother's day and bought a purse for my mother-in-law. Interesting thing was that they all cost over $50 to $100 for the ???-brands, while vuitton was $300. My wife has been using her's for about 10 years. While my mother-in-law is on number 5 or 6 in the same time frame.

I don't teach at the mostly girl school until Wednesday, so I can't get the low done until then.

It's really interesting that high prices and low turn over rates are the norm in Japan. I really can't figure it out. gonna have to chat some more with the students and such.
I'm curious about something Thomas said. Do the Japanese do the two jobs until burnout thing(like they do in the states)? I do this myself, with the cost of things being what they are. Also, a lot of people are married, with their spouse providing the second income.
moonlighting is pretty difficult if you are a salaryman, since overtime and going for a drink after essentially wastes any time you possibly could have.

If you're a [free-ta] ( = free arbieter = free part-timer = part timer with no loyalty to any particular job or part timer with lot's of free time. whewww !)
then it's possible to do several different jobs. Most work in Japan isn't really that physical and with the idea that many companies over employee it's pretty easy to stick with moonlightening until you've saved enough money or just got bored and can't stand not having any type of life.

Although, if you're a woman, there's many many many high salaried jobs related to the "water industry". Apparently $10,000 monthly incomes aren't that difficult for some women.

@cost of living
This is very difficult to compare since Japan is a high employment / high basic wage / high costs enviornment.

@both spouses working
It's still very rare to have both adults in the family to be seen working full time jobs. Or even see a family that has children to have the mother working close to full time. Hmmm, working mothers increase after the children are off at school or if the father just got layed off.

Many housewives work a few hours a week and tend to pocket most of the money for themselves.

Hiya, where do you live?
OK, the mystery seems to be solved. Here's what someone posted anonymously at the ISSHO mailing list:

I don't think that the policy of limiting sales to Japanese is in any way "racially motivated", as the article suggests, although it is certainly discriminatory.

The problem underlying this is well known. There are a number of Chinese and Japanese who have made it their profession to travel to Europe to buy designer ware and to sell it in Japan, where the designer stores generally sell at a 40% premium of European prices. The designer stores obviously don't like this kind of competition, which is why they've been trying to prevent these kind of imports into Japan at source. Many stores have posted personnel around their European offices to spot traders who ask Japanese or Chinese tourists to buy goods for them, because they themselves are already too known inside the stores to be sold anything.

Once the designer shops manage to control sales to Chinese and Japanese, I'm sure the traders will use Europeans to shop for them, and then the shops will be forced to ask them for IDs as well. In which case the discriminatory practice of asking people for their identification on the basis of their race will go. Obviously the right thing to do (if one wants to sustain the 40% price discrimination between Japan and Europe), would be to ask anyone for their ID already now.
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Many housewifes work a few hours aweek and tend to pocket most of the money them selves

@ moyashi
Now that comes as a surprise,lol

@ thomas
Discriminatory absolutely,should not be allowed or accepted by the japanese women, or any country for that matter.
Well, as mentioned in the post: as long as there are such dubious methods of sales (40% commission upon private import) these limitations will probably be extended to other customers as well. Gucci, Versace & Co are protecting their claims with all means.
ahhh ... ok makes sense.

My wife's latest purchase was basically $970 at the vuitton shop while at another with no protective bag or box it was $1070.

I'm rounding majorly and not figuring in the rate of 130 yen per US dollar.
keeping it easy at 100 yen to US dollar.

yep a bit lazy tonight
hey wait a minute !!! that contradicts issho's mailing list.

Funny thing was that the vuitton shop had stock while everybody else was basically sold out or ... was selling display models!

so ... yeah, I bet there's professional's buying up the market but probably they're undercutting the market which makes sense since I've seen some shady prices for brandname goods and with Korea imitations being nearly perfect ... I'm wondering if it's not just a way to control who is selling the merchandise.
Apart from private imports, top brands such as Chanel are very much concerned about their reputation and clientele. They have an elitist marketing approach and prefer to turn customers away than having Ms. Doe and Tanaka wear their designs. Didn't know that myself.
well here it is only the elite that can wear such items,

I recently seen a pair of Gucci sun glasses for a whopping ツ」600 sterling, (dont know much about the euro, we dont have it here yet!) now thats just crazy, I'v never seen the attraction of these expensive brands, yes they are nice but just material items at the end of the day, and lets face it if my kids stood on a pair of sun glasses at ツ」600 they would break just the same as my ツ」50 pair, lol 👏
I fail to see any attraction in famous brands too, but I don't think Japanese are more materialistic or prone to status symbols. Perhaps it's not Gucci, Versace etc. Westerners are after, but "status" can be displayed in many ways.

Hey, I have friends who spend their last pennies on cars and car parts. It's not their girlfriend's pic they carry in their wallet, but their car's.
I asked my students yesterday, 16-17 year olds.

It's not a so to say status symbol to them.

Some mentioned that a name brand is attractive since it's a hard to obtaion product. Therefore like my wife, they enjoy going into the shop and buying something that would normally be only limited to famous and/or.

Some also mentioned, like I mentioned above, that instead of buying 3-6 wallets they'd rather buy quality and use that item for a longer period of time.

I can really see where they are coming from now on this. Many items in stores are over priced and of low quality. While the famous brand name items are of high quality and not that relatively (keyword ::: relatively) expense when compared to the cheaper un-known name products.

Do you buy an Orion TV for $300 or spend another $200 and get a nice SONY? or just another $100 and get a nice SHARP one?

OF course, the Sony one is a bit more than the Sharp one but you're also buying into the exclusivity market. Not all people have a 32" Sony Wega HDT ready model. (hehe ... I couldn't find the logic behind getting a built HDTV tuner.)

Which, my students also mentioned. Having a vuitton purse or handbag gives you the comfy feeling of being part of that elitest crowd or being slightly different than from those around you.

Problem is when Naomi Campbell shows up with a nice and different grey suede Channel bag at some movie priemer or galla. (my wife ... hehe ... lol ...) or if Bill's out jogging through downtown DC and some fashion eagle notices that he's sporting the same Casio G-Shock firefox which was also worn by Keanue Reeves in Speed you've just sent half the nation of Japan on a G-Shock buying spree.

So unfortunately for Hermes (which is that popular in Japan), Gucci (same here), vuitton, Channel, Cartiere, and Tiffany they are going to be targeted to lot's of Japanese buyers due to their name association with quality and fashion spurts.
I think it's the comformist and non-independant-minded nature of the Japanese that make them all buy Louis Vuitton, etc. When they travel it's not uncommon for them to just go to a place and take a picture to say they've been there like everyone else. They are generally not looking for hidden treasure out of the beaten-track, but quite the opposite stick to their guidebook and follow the crowds. "If everybody is there that must be the right place". They seem to be affraid to "mistake". That must be their ultra-conformist education. It's no good thinking by yourself and distinguishing yourself from the group. If you're in the group, you're all right (safe), if you're out, you're in trouble. Same for brand names ; if it's famous, then it's good, so I buy it. They seem affraid to mistake or to look ridiculous. If they stick to "approved values" they feel safer and more confortable. That's also why women tend to be easier victims, as they always look more for security.

As for Beckham's craze, the sheepish Japanese will all follow the well-established image of the footballer in Europe, as anyway few really understand football and they needed to find their "idols" for the World Cup. No way they are going to find a new one by themself ! (that would be too bold and impetious of them).
@ brands
Well, if you're going to pay $50 for a non-name product or $100 for a brand name ... most Japanese would rather spend a bit more and be on the safe side.

@ why
This is very ingrained in the Japanes mentality. Everything is still very top down. Stores stock what they think will sell easily. Fashion is for the masses because the masses understand the masses. Tanaka-san and Suzuki-san think similarly so why bother thinking of something of what Johnson-san will think?

@ treasures
Tours are so tightly scheduled that most Japanese tourist are too tired to bother chanceing being mugged, or pick pocketed just trying to find something interesting. Japanese are targets in many countries.

@ soccer
Once again, top down mentality. The experts know what you will like and won't like. I wouldn't go as far to say that they don't understand soccer. It's just their interpretation of it.

True though in general. Japanese are not really folk to go on adventures by themself to find something.

So, let's put this together:
- a top down mentality of a person of a high level position knows what's best for you
- hammer the nail down that sticks out -- no black sheeps, only white sheeps are allowed in society
- high level of information. why look for something special if a tv show or magazine has found the best restuarants for you eat at (or any other thing)

here's an antidote from just today.
I couldn't access my site from home but yet from 2 other locations on the same computer I could. I called my ISP which had at one time hosted the domain for me. Previously, I had the same problem and a simple phone call corrected the problem with the DNS name server.
Just recently the problem reoccured. So, I called today and asked the owner of the company to take care of it. I like the guy a lot but he started to piss me off. "Oh, I'll check on it" No problem, I got an email that told me already what I knew. So, I called back.
"Oh, I'll check from my home since I can check from the same network".
-- HELLO, dahhhh, I just told you I've checked from 5 independent locations. "oh, but I still need to check"
-- DOH, It's Friday, I don't want to wait till Monday so that you can tell me you have the same problem.
"But, I need to check that your settings are ok and what not"
-- DOH, I'm connected to your line that's the problem.
"But you don't understand!"
-- HELLO, I do understand, and I realize that it could be a simple problem that happened due to a backup mistake.
"Fine, I'll check on it from here."

lolo ... I get a nice email explaning all the problems. Problem solved.

I really can't stand this at times. Companies think users are stupid morons. The companies also think that it's impossible that a user could know more than they do.

I had a similar case with Epson and my printer. I was told that my Japanese couldn't possibly use English based drivers. I asked if their was a speical part that makes it only Japanese. The tech person got confused. After I stopped laughing on the phone I complained, and complained, until the guy gave me a model number similar to the Japanese version. He also warned me profusely that it wouldn't work.

result. I used the printer for about 3 years in English.

Dam, I hate being treated like a moron who doesn't know anything.
And Japanese people live like this all the time. No wonder they just buy the more expensive item; it's less of a hassle.
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