mad anthony

Rants, politics, and thoughts on politics, technology, life,
and stuff from a generally politically conservative Baltimoron.

Monday, March 14, 2005

I own something by a well-known designer...

I bought something by someone who is apparently a well-known designer. I probably paid more than an equivilant item would have cost without the designer label. And no, it's not a suit.

check it.

Yup, it's the Michael Graves electric can opener by Black and Decker, from Target. (It's here on their website, although it's two dollars cheaper instore right now.. My old can opener, a $7 Toastmaster that I bought when I first moved out on my own, was at the point where it would only cut about an inch and stop. Despite being able to build a computer from a bag of parts, using a manual can opener eludes me. So I had to buy a new electric.

Target only had a couple, and I had picked out a different one when I saw this in the Michael Graves kitchenware. Reasonably priced and decent looking, so I bit. I'm not much of an interior-decorator type (the piece of furniture that the can opener is sitting on is actually my old stereo cabinet, recast as a kitchen storage thing), but it looked kind of cool.

If I were Virginia Postrel, I could probably make some point about how aesthetics have found a role in modern life. After all, they have added a designer touch to one of the most ordinary of kitchen appliances, and they have made it available at a mass retailer at a price within a few dollars of a less fancy one. Plus, it's made by Black and Decker, a company that most would otherwise associate with utility, not design.

But I'm not Virginia. (If I was, I'd be better looking. And a chick.) But I think it also reveals something about Target. They've found aesthetics and designer names as a good way to draw customers, and get them to spend a little more than they otherwise would. It's things like that make me think that Target is going to become an even larger force in retailing, and that if Wal-Mart does not start to change their lowest-price-and-damn-the-atmosphere retailing strategy, they might not always be on top.


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