Planet Money's Caitlin Kenney teams up with Slate V to investigate why wedding dresses are so darn expensive:
It's a great video. This is a subject that's of interest to me since I'll be getting married on April 14, but my fiancée and I aren't especially tradition-minded and it turns out to be amazing what you can save by just not getting "wedding" stuff. She has a lovely dress and we have a nice space rented out with good food and plentiful booze where everyone can celebrate, and all for much less than the average American wedding even though I don't feel like we've been skimping on stuff.
So to Kenney's points about signaling, I would add that framing and context matters. We don't drive great bargains on wedding-related things because we don't want to see ourselves and be seen by others as being stingy about such an important event. So if you're purchasing wedding-related items in a marketplace where everyone else is also shopping for a wedding, you're looking at an environment where the prices are systematically higher. By contrast, if you shop in a normal store then even if you, personally, are acting in a relatively price-insensitive way the fact that everyone else is driving a harder bargain helps you out. If you're determined to be traditional, there's no way around this but the price you pay for self-selecting into a niche market is pretty high no matter what strategy you adopt.
TODAY IN SLATE
The Most Terrifying Thing About Ebola
The disease threatens humanity by preying on humanity.
I Bought the Huge iPhone. I’m Already Thinking of Returning It.
Scotland Is Just the Beginning. Expect More Political Earthquakes in Europe.
Students Aren’t Going to College Football Games as Much Anymore
And schools are getting worried.
Two Damn Good, Very Different Movies About Soldiers Returning From War
Lifetime Didn’t Think the Steubenville Rape Case Was Dramatic Enough
So they added a little self-immolation.
Blacks Don’t Have a Corporal Punishment Problem
Americans do. But when blacks exhibit the same behaviors as others, it becomes part of a greater black pathology.