Tribune senior correspondent
October 21, 2011
Are you a savvy shopper? Confident that you can tell cheap from expensive? Think you know the difference between top of the line and bargain basement?
To determine just how hard or easy it is distinguish between luxury and low-end, I picked out six red scarves at prices from $10 to $330, covering up all the logos, fabric info and other clues.
Then I set up shop on a busy city sidewalk and asked 100 of you to match the prices I paid with the scarves, identified only by numbers 1 to 6. (See some of the quiz-takers here.)
You touched, tried on, examined carefully — and usually couldn't tell one from another. Only one person out of the 100 surveyed got all the prices right.
Overall, only 1 in 3 of you could identify the cheapest or most expensive scarf. And only 11 people out of 100 successfully matched three or more prices with the correct scarf.
"It's hard," said Kathy Collins, 49, who majored in textiles in college and still got all six prices wrong. "So, why buy the expensive stuff?"
If you're looking for luxe for less, in this blind test of 100 people, the scarf that got the most votes for "most expensive" — 32 — was the Nordstrom brand all-cashmere for $98. More people picked that than the actual most expensive, Barneys New York $330 all-cashmere (31 votes).
Other survey results
Only one person got all six prices right.
13 thought the cheapest ($10) was the most expensive ($330).
Three thought the most expensive ($330) was the cheapest ($10).
30 correctly identified the cheapest scarf.
31 correctly identified the most expensive scarf.
10 correctly identified both the cheapest and most expensive scarves.