Lately, many individuals have shifted their ‘search of knowledge’ to forums instead of seeking it from trusted experts that have their own sites and usually a ton more experience than the average Joe. I guess in this age of quick, rapid information bombarding us every second of our day, few people want to actually take the time to read a 20-minute post that might actually vastly expand their knowledge and answer many of their present questions, as well as provide answers to future ones. Instead, they find the nearest forum, pose a question and get a plethora of comments, not answers, but ‘comments.’ On top of that, I am quite sure that most people want validation of their complaints when they find issues they perceive as unwarranted (nearly always in cheap shoes). And this is precisely where they go wrong, and the downhill slope of bad information and entitled consumers begins.
For example, this morning, I read a question from a customer that purchased a pair of Beckett & Simonon shoes, a sub-par brand IMHO selling the idea of handcrafted quality for $206. Typical of this newer American marketing rubbish brands (i.e. no middleman, high quality/low prices etc) that fools many by peddling ideas that are not even close to reality. And naturally, as one SHOULD expect from a brand selling the idea of ‘top quality’ for only $206, comes his pair with one side made just fine and the other made with what is obviously 3rd-grade belly leather.
According to the person, at first wear, the shoe wrinkled all over the entire upper creating a very unsightly look, and begins to ask on the forums if this is normal. As people love to give their opinions, which can often not be accurate, he received a huge amount of answers in which, maybe, a handful were eluding to the reality of the situation. But of course, those normally won’t be the ones the person wants to hear (few people appreciate the hard truth) and is often the case they end up listening to the people that say ‘ask for your money back, that is unacceptable.’ Which is a laughable response and simply proves that a lot of people have no clue what they are talking about. And this is why you need the blogger expert because this daily occurrence creates misinformed and overdemanding consumers with no basis to be demanding.
And this is so prevalent on the forums and has been for many years. You find this all over Style Forum on the Meermin and Allen Edmonds threads. They are comedic. Even once on the Saint Crispin thread where a guy was scuffing his heels and complaining about the scratches. It was baffling, to say the least. Even more so the high-five commentary in agreement with his outlandish complaints. Few actually stood up and said, ‘hey man, ever stop to think that it was you doing the damage?’
A quick search on my blog or that of Shoegazing would have given him (first story above) the knowledge needed to understand why that is happening, and on top, learn that shoes made in South America using Argentinian leather (with no indication of construction on the site) for only $206 will clearly be selling lower grades of leather and not be able to offer the quality that is so cleverly shown on the site. ***Side Note: A factory will make pristine samples as they know that is what they need to make an order, but the larger production of the order will show the true quality. And samples are often used to create product photography. Don’t get fooled by shoes that look perfect in modern-day photography that uses Photoshop to touch them up.*** But going on the forums in the modern day of “Amazon thinking consumers” where people expect the quality of Diamond for the price of Copper will inevitably get you poor, inexperienced, and often inaccurate information. There will be people sharing good advice, but it so often gets drowned out in the sea of uneducated commentary.
And while this might sound like a lash-out to all consumers, and/or the forums, it is not in fact. It is a lash-out to the bad commenters peddling garbage advice on the forums and hopefully, a reality check wake-up call for those honest people seeking good information but doing it in all of the wrong places. You need the expert blogger that has made it their purpose to go through all of the trial and tribulations of seeking that knowledge in order to share it with the masses. It’s all good getting all of the opinions that you can, but the issue is when you stop at the inevitable bad opinions that are always ‘that is unacceptable, get your money back.’ Unless you have a unanimous turn out of that same comment, chances are that is not the correct answer and there are a ton of factors that make up the correct answer or advice needed.
Some of the most notable bloggers who give good, honest advice, are as follows
- Shoegazing – like myself, but goes way more in-depth than I do, explaining every detail
- Permanent Style – focuses more on high-end menswear all around, but Simon has vast experience and knowledge of not only shoes but clothing, in general
- Parisian Gentleman / Sartorial Talks – Hugo is a legend in menswear, and also, while focusing on higher-end stuff, has posts about all brands
- Kirby Allison – like myself, Kirby runs a video blog but also sells his own stuff. He is consumer and owner in one and has been at it a long time
When needing answers to questions, utilize these blogs, as well as my own of course, before going to the forums. Once you read a bit from one end of the spectrum, then go to the forums and get the other ideas. Then use critical thinking to assess the plausible reality of the situation. But chances are, finding the best answer on the forum will be difficult as it will often provide you conflicting information. And there are a ton of knowledgeable consumers sharing their time and opinions on the matter. Make it a point of recognizing who they are and listening to them. And worst case, post a question on a Shoe Snob Blog Post, and either I or another reader will do their best to answer.
Pictures have nothing to do with the post.