Lawsuit exposes Hermès's snobbery and allegedly illegal sales tactics

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Exactly the same thing happens if you want to buy a Porsche GT3 RS. You have to buy a number of other Porsches before you would even be put on the list.



The article seems to imply that exposing Hermes’s snobbery is some kind of shocking reveal. I think the snobbery is rather the point.


Similar: Star Citizen Introducing a $48,000 Ship Bundle, but Only for Players Who Have Already Spent $10,000 - IGN
48k thing only available to people who’ve already spent 10k on a game that hasn’t had an official release yet.

Honestly it’s hard to feel bad for anyone involved here. Maybe I’ll play a tiny violin, but only if they drop 1Mil into my bank account.


This happens in the high end watch world, too.


Pro tip: You can get an IKEA FRAKTA for $1.29 CDN, and you don’t even have to buy so much as a NOJIG. It holds more, too.

You do have to wait in line to pay for it, and the staff, while friendly and polite, couldn’t do a proper curtsy to save their jobs.


I’m finding it too hard to get upset by this.


Hermes goes against many marketing trends. They don’t increase production to meet demand.

The history is interesting: Hermès: The Complete History and Strategy


Ferrari is famous for that, too.


I’m definitely not an antitrust lawyer; but this seems like one of those situations where it’s definitely tying; but not tying that satisfies all the requirements of the Sherman antitrust act or Clayton antitrust act.

Especially if the court is uninterested in the fact that Birkin handbags are super-special; and evaluates Hermes’ market power with respect to fashion goods generally or leather goods generally(which seems likely; since otherwise literally anyone who deals in unique goods like original art or sole-source goods like copyrighted books not licensed to multiple publishers would be counted as having hegemonic market power no matter how marginal they are with respect to the broader market).

It wouldn’t entirely surprise me if some specific dealers or salespeople have wandered across the line into an implied contract or some sort of promissory estoppel by getting a little too specific about the reliability with which specific amounts of high rolling converted into access, without ultimately delivering; but that’s a totally different foundation for a claim; and would rely on the fiddly details of what individual buyers were told; rather than being class action fodder.


Something else to add to the list of things I don’t give a fuck about. Super wealthy people screwing over slightly less wealthy folks? I mean I know it’s all a spectrum… and maybe this behavior filters down into products in markets I do care about? I’m just having a hard time conceptualizing where though.


A typical situation where selling a Veblen good is still not enough to slake the vendor’s greed.

Personally, I do enjoy going into a high-end shop or dealership, being ignored because I don’t look like the superficial twits’ ideal customer, and then informing the manager what I was prepared to spend before walking out. It’s more satisfying and certainly less costly than following through on the actual purchase.


informing the manager what I was prepared to spend before walking out.

Also known as pulling a Pretty Woman
Julia Roberts Big Mistake GIF


What a bunch of Birks.


I would think infamous is the better word here. Jay Leno has mentioned this about Ferrari many times on his show where he shows the hundreds (thousands?) of historical, obscure, and high-end cars he’s collected over the years. The salesman won’t let him buy an Enzo unless he purchases several other Ferrari’s first. His response to Ferrari? F*ck you and I’ll take my money elsewhere. So he doesn’t own a single Ferrari and never plans to.

On the other hand he had high praises for McClaren’s sales staff: when he bought an F1, along with the car they sent a team of technicians that showed his staff how to jack up the car, change the oil, do regular maintenance, etc., etc.


Possibly apocryphal, but I’ve heard that Ferruccio Lamborghini founded his car company after a similar experience trying to buy a Ferrari.


Ryan Reynolds Agree GIF by Welcome to Wrexham

tidbits of brand mythology

After disassembling the Ferrari engine and transmission, Lamborghini’s mechanic discovered that the clutch fitted on the Ferrari was identical to the clutch fitted onto one of Lamborghini’s own small tractors.

“It was a commercial clutch, fitted on Maseratis, Ferraris, and all the sports cars of those days,” Balboni explains. It also happened to be fitted onto a certain type of Lamborghini tractor. This did not sit well with Lamborghini, the disgruntled Ferrari owner.

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