Ok; this Costco vs. Tiffanys thing has gotten my attention and has me annoyed…
In case you haven’t heard, a woman shopping at a Costco in Huntington Beach, CA saw some pretty engagement-style rings for sale with a sign that said “..Platinum Tiffany .70 VS2…” When this woman called Tiffany & Co. to satisfy her curiosity that the rings could be genuine Tiffany & Co. brand rings, the Tiffany rep informed the woman that those Costco rings are not Tiffany brand rings. Then Tiffany & Co. launched its own investigation into the matter, and now they’ve filed a lawsuit against Costco.
Costco is taking the position that “Tiffany” in that sense, because of its popularity, is describing a style of ring rather than a brand. It’s the “Kleenex vs. tissue paper” debate. If you ask me, if you come in with a brand like Kleenex, and totally dominate the market with your product to the point where people commonly refer to your product by your brand name, then you’re asking for issues like this. You can’t have your cake and eat it too, right?
Ok now, here’s where I get upset. According to Jeffrey Mitchell, the lead attorney representing Tiffany & Co., Tiffany feels that:
“The Tiffany brand has been damaged, Costco members have been damaged, and Costco has profited from the sale of engagement rings by misrepresenting what they were. We will get to the bottom of what Costco was up to and why, and right a terrible wrong”.
Let’s get one thing straight: There is no “terrible wrong” that happened here that needs to be “righted”. Customers should be responsible for their purchases on some level. If you’re going to spend thousands of dollars on what you think is a brand product, try this: whip out your phone and look the product up to make sure they look the same, or ask a store employee if it’s the brand that you think it is. If not, move on! Wow, isn’t that easy?
No, but that’s too difficult. We shouldn’t’ have to be responsible for our own thoughts, that’s for stores and lawyers to decide! Now we have lawsuits and talks of copyright issues and this circus is now open for business.
To me, Tiffany saying this is a “terrible wrong”, is admitting that their customers don’t have enough common snese to distinguish a genuine Tiffany ring vs. a Costco discount right. They’re basically saying “the public is stupid, we’re sorry about that, and we’ll sue Costco to make things right for you morons.” (notice my sarcastic italicizing AND quotation of the above)
Granted, in my opinion Costco should have put quotation marks around the word “Tiffany”, reasonably indicating that the ring was not the Tiffany & Co. brand. But customers should know better, too. People need to start taking responsibility for their actions, and not demonizing a business or government for them not having any common sense. Tiffany rings come engraved with their logo, and their rings come in well-known blue, branded packaging. If anyone purchased those rings and didn’t notice they didn’t buy a Tiffany brand ring, they’re suffering from the rampantly growing Idonthaveabrain Syndrome.
If you ask me, Tiffany & Co. are being jerks about this, likely just to get some free press. If you look at their stock value over the last 5 years, it’s gone from as low as about $20/share to up to around $80/share. Their stock value quadrupled in 5 years, and they’re worried about protecting their brand name? I could understand if they were falling on hard times, facing labor layoffs, etc. , but they’re not. They’re thriving in a down economy and they want to play the victim. Typical corporate BS.
Well, I’ve got one thing to say to Tiffany & Co: Your rings are beautiful. I’d like to buy one for a very special girl one day. But after this, I think I’m going to have some class and look to spend my hard-earned cash somewhere else. Yep; you’ve lost my business – and my respect.