A deal too good to be true?

One of the questions I’m frequently asked is: are all those below-retail price Anthropologie items around the Internet real or fake? Recently some sellers have had multiples of new releases up for sale at 20, 30 and even 50% off retail. It’s hard to resist and curiosity finally got the best of me last week. I saw the Two Paths Trench ($188) listed at $100 on ebay and against my better judgment decided to take the plunge.

It took longer than usual for the package to arrive and at first I was sure I’d been scammed. That’s what I get, I thought to myself. My building sends email alerts when my packages are delivered. When I was alerted to an incoming package from China (?!?) I assumed the package had been misdirected. Over the course of the day I realized it was probably my ebay buy. The photo above is what the package looked like. I should note that the seller is listed as dealing out of California.

The package was tightly packed and heavily taped, so much so that I was afraid I was going to cut into the coat while trying to open the damn thing. I cut as carefully as I could. Slowly making my way across the top I was able to release the contents without damaging them (whew!).

Once the package was open I carefully took the coat out and inspected it. I’m no knockoff expert but if this was a knockoff it’s the best I’ve ever seen. I’m quite sure it’s the real deal — I’ve tried on the trench at one of the NYC Anthros and this matched up. The Idra logo? Right. The little patch with extra buttons? Right. The lining? Right.

My next thought was that maybe this piece had some deformity that caused it to fail quality assurance. After looking it over thoroughly if there is a flaw I sure don’t see it. I have no idea how the seller came to be in possession of these items. They could have been rejects from the factory. They could be overstock that Anthropologie’s supplier sold off. They could be a really, really, really good knockoff. They could be — for lack of a better term — production chain shrinkage.

Here it is on. I love it but I have to admit that I feel really dirty buying this thing. We all know that Anthro, like all retailers, marks up their items to some degree. But when I buy from Anthropologie that money supports the designers, the administrative staff and the production staff that creates these items. When I buy from an unknown source like this I am circumventing Anthropologie and potentially creating losses for the company. The source doesn’t have to be ebay and I’m not singling it out, only using it as the example I purchased from. It could be anywhere from a failed quality check to a legitimate overstock sale to a truck to the back rooms of Canal St.

Just to be clear, I use ebay all the time as both a buyer and a seller. We all know how I feel about price gougers (not a fan) but I don’t have a problem with resellers or personal sellers. It’s hard to make a judgment call on these sellers…I don’t even know what to call them. I know what my gut says but without proof it’s just a guess.

So I turn to you, community. What do you think of these below-retail items showing up around the interwebs? Have you bought any of these items? Would you buy any of these items?


  1. March 9, 2010 / 5:45 pm

    I just want to know one thing – what is the sellers name so I can buy something too? LOL. I guess I don't look at ebay enough to see many of these discounted current designs, I've only ever come across the ridiculously priced items.

  2. March 9, 2010 / 5:47 pm

    Yay, I'm glad you got the coat. You look great in it Roxy 🙂 And I'm so glad that we caved together so I could feel less guilt at getting it! =) I've bought from one of the sellers selling these things (shoplilywang — one of the merchants that ships from the US, I was never totally comfy with the overseas sellers) and the merchandise has always been authentic, though usually the label is marked in some way to prevent store returns. I think they're just probably selling factory overstock. It does kind of suck for Anthro, so I try not to buy too much from these sellers in general if the item is still available to me in stores. But once in while I think a bargain like this can be justified 😉 Especially as I'm sure you are probably just going to put the savings back into more Anthro! (Or at least, I usually do anyway 😉 )

  3. anthro girl
    March 9, 2010 / 5:50 pm

    Roxy, this is really normal because most of the items are made in China. If someone in the factory in China would like to make extra money from it, they can just make more products than Anthro required and sell the rest. They look the same and have the same material. However, in most cases it is hard to make more extra products, since they can always get the “defective” items, they sell these, too. For these cases, the products are not perfect in a certain way, though it is hard for you to tell where.

  4. March 9, 2010 / 5:51 pm

    I've bought a dress from Ebay that way. And I'd be shocked if it wasn't the real deal. And I did actually feel good about the "deal" I got because as much as I love Anthro, sometimes their pricing is a little over my head. I'm not sure how I should feel about buying stuff this way – it does feel a little bit like cheating but I don't necessarily think there's anything wrong with it as long as the transactions have been legal. My $0.02.

  5. March 9, 2010 / 6:06 pm

    Anon: No it bally well doesn't.I always feel slightly justified buying things this way when things are overpriced – if anything Anthro should feel bad about it!The coat looks great on you and I think I'm going to have to cave too! It's getting to be a big club!

  6. March 9, 2010 / 6:08 pm

    hey Roxy! i've bought several anthro items off of ebay (BUT only u.s. and not overseas) and have been really pleased! there are so many beautiful items i would love to own each season but in NO way could afford to buy even half of what i like…through ebay and sellers like you just purchased from my collection expands 🙂 yes it may be like cheating, but i don't feel bad as i L♥VE bargains AND all the money i save is used for BIG anthropologie shopping sprees!! so they are still getting my money too! anyways just my opinions!! have a great day and love the blog as always!! :0)

  7. March 9, 2010 / 6:08 pm

    They are the exact same item as the ones Anthropologie sells, you are just buying them directly from the production company vs. Anthropologie. Anthropologie could have bought each and every item from the factory, but they chose not to, perhaps in an effort to lower their inventory, and in cases like these it was their mistake, since they lost a customer.

  8. March 9, 2010 / 6:09 pm

    oh and the trench looks absolutely LOVELY on you and fits PERFECT!! 😉

  9. March 9, 2010 / 6:09 pm

    it looks fab on you! I wish they made it in smaller sizes – the 0 I tried was too big unless I wore it with a big ol thick sweater underneath, and would need some alterations to de-fullify the skirt,too. I'm wary of eBay knockoffs (no purses, jewelry for sure), but at the end of the day Anthro's return policy is spectacular, so the comfort that I can bring a store-purchased one back to the store if it hangs unworn is worth it to me.

  10. Anonymous
    March 9, 2010 / 6:09 pm

    What if this item had been stolen and then sold on line?

  11. March 9, 2010 / 6:11 pm

    Roxy, I think the trench looks perfect on you. Not too small. It's very flattering.I've only once bought from one of these items from sellers on ebay. I feel really guilty and dirty doing so, like I'm cheating on Anthro. I don't think it's bad, and I certainly don't look down on anyone who does.I've been tempted by the Two Paths Trench on ebay, but I decided I'm just going to wait for a sale at Anthro.

  12. March 9, 2010 / 6:11 pm

    Roxy – that coat looks awesome on you!!!It's my understanding that sellers like that have a relationship with the manufactuers overseas (like china) and get them directly from there. Sometimes somethings a little off, but most times, they look spot on, just like your coat!

  13. March 9, 2010 / 6:19 pm

    Just wanted to add that I have never bought items like this, not for ethical reasons – I simply worry about defects and lack of a return policy, but in your case it seems you lucked out b/c the trench seems perfect.

  14. March 9, 2010 / 6:32 pm

    christine if you do a search for new arrivals you're likely to come across these. You are most likely seraching for sold out items which is why you're running into some of the more outlandishly priced things. ;)goldenmeans – I know! I just want you to know that I am usually much better at upholding bargains and I feel terrible that I broke down. But like you I'm glad that at least we both gave in here. anthro girl – interesting insight. You're quite right that maybe this was labeled a "defect" but for reasons that I can't see.Lisa – I am in the same boat as you, I feel good about the deal but questionable about the ethics behind it.Hometown Queen – it's true, we could start a Two Paths trench gang at this point! With membership all over the world and maybe a secret handshake??Megan – I respect your opinion completely. I think that if I were in the financial stage where I was just starting out or struggling to make ends meet I would love these ebay deals. However since I am living (somewhat) comfortably I find myself feeling almost a social responsibility to pay market price for items when I can. So as a result I will not be buying these discounted items again. I don't want to devolve into a political conversation and I hope this doesn't sound argumentative — just giving some background into where my head is at. lleila – This is so interesting to hear! To both your point and anthro girls I know that many high end retailers do this, they purposely manufacture lower stock of a good to create rarity. Personally I'm all for it because I'm a snob like that. 😉 It's interesting to see what happens though when factories are able to produce overstock, if that is in fact what happened here.jcbellemarie – another great point. I agree that Anthro's return policy instills confidence in their products, for me at least.Anon @ 1:09 – I alluded to this in the post and I think it's a great question. Again, I don't know where these items came from and my first guess is legit overstock. I feel like Anthro would put a stop if it's shrinkage. But I don't know for sure, either on the source or whether Anthro would take action.Tien – hee, thanks. I removed that comment, seems like I've been seeing that same comment across several blogs with no regard for the actual post. I think your second paragraph sums it up well. Won't do it again personally but pass no judgment against those who do.Kim – another great insight. Seems to be the consensus here in the comments and I hope it's the reality as well. 🙂

  15. Anonymous
    March 9, 2010 / 6:54 pm

    I think your gut is right. The fact that the seller was suppose to be in California but the package obviously came from China would make my gut feel uneasy.

  16. March 9, 2010 / 6:59 pm

    J, I found it ran slightly big, i.e. I'm a size 6 but fit into the 4. Personally though, I stuck with my true size to give myself the option of wearing bulky clothes under it (i.e. for running to the shop next door in my pjs!). The tie belt lets you cinch it right in.

  17. March 9, 2010 / 7:13 pm

    roxy, i wouldnt feel bad maybe it was a sample that anthro rejected. ithink the coat is great on you aswell

  18. March 9, 2010 / 7:17 pm

    roxyi think it is interesting that you feel a conscience to pay the full price. beleive me when i say that the markup on clothing is not to be beleived, and i think it is deliberately so that they can offer so many"sales"just imo…

  19. Anonymous
    March 9, 2010 / 7:24 pm

    You look gorgeous in that coat! I actually think the trench looks much better on you than on the model in the shot. In fact, I couldn't understand what all the hubbub surrounding the trench was about (until I saw Rosa, GM & now you in it) b/c I thought it looked terrible in the model. I think it looks very slimming on you and at the same time I feel like you NEED curves to make this beauty sing, otherwise the skirt portion looks like a frumpy sack…like on the model. 😛

  20. March 9, 2010 / 7:35 pm

    J – I agree with Hometown Queen. I took my true size, the same size that I got the Inverness Trench in. The 6 was too tight across my chest to be comfortable.Anon @ 1:54 – it does leave me uneasy to be sure. ali – not so much full price, just market price. That could mean the sale price or a discounted price through the Birthday discount, etc. I agree with your overall point, Anthro (and other retailers) mark up. Then again, if these companies weren't profiting they'd have to shut their doors. Anon @ 2:24 – I wholeheartedly agree on the model point. Anthro has really been floating towards waif models recently and it's bumming me out. This is a brand with a history of diverse, curvy models. The model they used looks great in some of the other outfits but doesn't look great in the trench (IMO). Had they used a curvier model they really could have showcased how great the trench can look.

  21. March 9, 2010 / 7:38 pm

    That trench looks A.Mazing on you! Seriously, it's one of the most flattering things I've ever seen you post of yourself :)I say good deal!

  22. March 9, 2010 / 7:40 pm

    I got a snow covered fields dress on ebay like that too. I felt a little suspicious like you did as well, but it seems to be legit as I checked out one in an anthro store. I can't say I feel too guilty about the whole thing since Anthro makes so much money anyway.

  23. March 9, 2010 / 7:41 pm

    Oh btw the coat looks awesome on you!

  24. March 9, 2010 / 7:43 pm

    Definitely looks like the real deal! Congrats on the score. I can understand you feeling a bit of guilt but let's face it, money is money. Anthro has fantastic customer service because it is a business model that makes them the most cash. That's not to say that the individual SAs are not genuine, great people but the CEOs could care less about the customer's morals, feelings, or pocket book. SO I say, enjoy the coat! It looks great on you.

  25. Anonymous
    March 9, 2010 / 7:48 pm

    Purchasing counterfeit items is as illegal as counterfeiting items. Just FYI. On eBay – chances are if it's coming from China, it's fake. On eBay – if it seems too good to be true, it almost always is. Not only does purchasing these items on eBay hurt Anthropologie's product, it hurts the designer. Anthro's success is due in part to their ability to luxury-price items – to make items available (by price) to only a small group of people. When an item is sold below that price-point, the item isn't as highly valued. Personally, I only buy from reputable sellers on eBay. If you look at shoplilywang's feedback, buyers complain about the items being from China though she's listed as a US seller. I don't know, the whole thing just rubs me the wrong way.

  26. Annie
    March 9, 2010 / 7:55 pm

    I wanted the trench when I saw Goldenmeans with it and now seeing how amazing you look too…makes me want to cave and get one for myself. But I've been spending too much money. I don't know if I can hold out for a sale.

  27. Anonymous
    March 9, 2010 / 8:01 pm

    Roxy,I LOVE your blog, and I hope you don't take this the wrong way. It seems to me to be a double standard for people to get upset at sellers for selling popular items for higher prices but feel okay with buying questionably acquired goods for less than retail. We all know there is a retail markup. We all love sales and bargains, but…

  28. March 9, 2010 / 8:04 pm

    PS- It's hard to get seriously high and mighty about authentic Anthro when this coat is after all, a Burberry knock off lol

  29. Anonymous
    March 9, 2010 / 8:06 pm

    Roxy, I just want to thank you for continuing to present topics that are relevant to the community. I think we all know that Anthro has eyes here, but I really admire how despite the negative light that a post like this could shine on you in the eyes of the company, you stand true & genuine to independent blogging & to us, the community.Thank you Roxy, this is what sets you apart from other shopping blogs.

  30. March 9, 2010 / 8:10 pm

    Wow, that looks amazing!If it seems authentic and first quality, I say go for it. I am willing to bet they are factory overstock, or damaged box items. My husband knows someone who works in a receiving dock, and if they drop a box and it bursts open, even if everything inside is OK, it is marked "damaged" and the items inside are sold or given away. This is sports gear, not Anthro, but could be a similar story.

  31. March 9, 2010 / 8:13 pm

    Anthro does employ some amazing, creative people (the amazing home design team Wary-Meyers are former Anthro folk), but the CEO is a conservative cad. So I have no problem with the occasional Ebay buy. I certainly shop at the store enough to pay my dues. Though I know quite a few people who boycott the URBN brands outright because of the CEO's politics and who he donates money to. I however, can't resist.

  32. March 9, 2010 / 8:26 pm

    I second Kristina and Shannon comments. If these sales really hurt Anthropologie's bottom line, they would have done something about it. Anthro, is not hurting for business (I say this as someone afraid to calculate my order history just on the website).

  33. March 9, 2010 / 8:27 pm

    Anon @2:48– It is inconclusive whether the coat is a fake or not. We do not know. Even if it came from China, doesn't mean anything since most of the items at Anthro and other designers duds do come from China.Anon @ 3:01–I don't think that Roxy is necessarily feeling okay with it. She is questioning it and addressing the issue with the post. I think this is something that falls into a gray area and many of us don't know what to do/how to feel about it. That's why a discussion is nice. Like I said, I bought one thing from one of the ebay sellers, and mostly it was because the item was soldout. I felt guilty, and haven't done it since. But, I do get tempted. As for the double standard, I actually think this is different. The price gougers drive up demand by reducing supply. These items are increasing supply, and driving down price. As consumers, you can see why the latter would be better for us.Again, I am not not for or against these items. Like I said, I do think it's a murky area, and while I won't purchase one of these items, I don't pass judgment on anyone who does.

  34. March 9, 2010 / 8:42 pm

    As a "poor college student" (lets face it though, I shop at Anthropologie far more than I should, so the poor part hardly comes from tuition bills, textbooks and rent!), I don't think I would totally turn at the chance to get Anthro items for less. I do agree with you, though, that I may feel guilty for "cheating" them out of a potential sale. However, it's not exactly like you're stealing from them, either, because they could always become more competitive with their customers with ideas such as customer reward programs or promotional coupons. (Though sometimes I think I'd spend whatever it takes to get the beautiful, unique, and comfortable clothes they have! So irresistible!) Anyway, feel as guilty as you want, but hunting for bargains is part of the shopping experience! That's what makes it fun and addictive! =) Oooooh so addictive!! That coat looks as though it was made specifically for you! Size: Roxy!

  35. Kat
    March 9, 2010 / 8:48 pm

    This is a bit of topic, but I am curious if counterfeit items on ebay could be reduced if Anthropologie kept an eye on ebay for use of its website and catalogue images (which is really common). One time I listed a J Crew dress on ebay and I used the image from the J Crew website. Within 12 hours I got a message that my post was being taken down for photo copyright. I then replaced the photo with one I took of the actual dress. This seems reasonable to me, as it is nice to see the condition/colors/size of the actual item you are purchasing rather than just a catalogue shot and prevents misinterpretation of the item you are selling. Roxy, do you or anyone else have any thoughts about this? Why would J Crew be more vigilant about controlling the use of its product shots compared to other retailers? I definitively support retailers right to control the use of their images, and am surprised more don't do this. Maybe its just too time-consuming ultimately?

  36. March 9, 2010 / 8:49 pm

    Well, it looks like the real deal to me. And it looks great on you Roxy-and I can't fault you for seeking this coat at a more reasonable price-It seems obvious to me that Anthropologie's prices are artificially inflated anyway when they can immediately slash prices 50% when items hit sale, while still having great financials (as you've reported here). It's probably as many others here have said…an item deemed unsellable due to defect of some kind that isn't immediately apparent.

  37. March 9, 2010 / 8:50 pm

    Hey Roxy, could you tell me what size you are wearing? The trench looks great on you!

  38. March 9, 2010 / 8:54 pm

    oh…forgot to add that i haven't (as yet) purchased any Anthropologie items from ebay…and I certainly wouldn't pay an inflated price for them either. I'm very wary of purchasing from ebay anyway since you can't return it if it doesn't fit or live up to your expectations. So if I want to save $$ i'd prefer to buy things directly, on sale from Anthropologie. I would have been too scared to wind up with a bad fake on the Two Paths trench…luckily, you didn't!

  39. March 9, 2010 / 9:27 pm

    lindsey..elizabeth – you're too nice, I am blushing so crimson right now!Maureen M – I am glad that the dress you got was legit. So far Anthro doesn't seem too prone to knockoffs.Shannon – fair points all around. I don't want to come off as sounding too pretentious here; my goal is not to make anyone feel guilty (besides myself anyway). And LOL about the Burberry KO comment, so true. Anonymous @ 2:48 – I think you eloquently expressed the same concerns I have. Your point about (potentially) devaluing Anthro's product is a great one. Well said.Annie – my suggestion is to hold if you can, especially if you live in a colder weather climate! I probably will not start wearing this out for another month or so, and by May this could be on sale. (Of course it may not go on sale until August, you never know.)Anonymous @ 3:01 – You're right. I don't take it the wrong way because I agree it's a total double standard to say "sell above retail = bad" but "sell below retail = good". I think I know where I land on the situation in theory but in reality could I hold true to those values?Anonymous @ 3:06 – I very much appreciate the support. 🙂 Thank you.Coco – given away for FREE? Ha, I would love to be around when that happened. :)Kristina – just to clarify your point, I don't think you mean the current Urban Outfitters CEO, Glen Senk. I think you are referring to the founder Richard Hayne. *reads Jessebel's comment, starts mentally calculating my own order total for Anthro.* Uh, yeah, Anthro's doing OK! ;)Emily – Admittedly I am a terrible bargain-hunter but I appreciate the thrill it can bring. I see a distinction between finding something for a bargain at the original store and buying it from an unquantifiable source. Although I suppose by that argument thrift stores would become an unquantifiable source. I like it when clothes are size roxy btw!Kat – In my opinion J.Crew is much more controlling about these things. I think that as a younger brand Urban Outfitters is a couple of years behind in terms of corporate brand protection. That is not meant as a slight against them, I think that unlike J.Crew (a big, nationally-known mainstream brand) Anthropologie and UO are just on the cusp of exploding to that level. Over the next couple of years it will be interesting to see how UO handles their growth into the mainstream, or if they choose to purposely keep themselves smaller. They might come to care about these type of things more. For now they just seem to ignore them or they're unaware of them.Sharon – I hope that's the reason it was on ebay. I do feel pretty lucky. I agree that I prefer to buy directly from the source whenever possible.ADB – it's an 8. 🙂 The 6 I tried on in-store was a little too tight across the chest for me. 8 is what I normally wear in coats.To all, just wanted to say thank you for keeping the discussion clean. I appreciate all the different viewpoints expressed. Keep em coming.

  40. Anonymous
    March 9, 2010 / 9:35 pm

    i love deals like that! it's how i got my two paths trench. i get anthro stuff online as often as i can because while anthro produces unique and beautiful clothes, they are WAY overpriced. especially since most of their "designers" are owned by anthropologie itself.

  41. March 9, 2010 / 9:38 pm

    I LOVE this trench on you! And, I totally understand you buying it on ebay, I would've done the same thing. My only regret is that this trench didn't look good on me!!!!!

  42. Anonymous
    March 9, 2010 / 9:40 pm

    Anthro works for it's best interests in mind & I shop guilt-free similarly. That said, I end up not buying from similar resellers on ebay only because the items are cleverly priced at or close to Anthro's 1st cut sale price, and so not much of a deal can really be had as most everything at Anthro makes it to sale. The only thing that tips the scale in favor of buying the (soon to be) similarly priced item from Anthro is the assurance of quality, thanks to the generous return policy. If, however, the ebay resellers started pricing their items significantly below the 1st sale price then I would take my business over to them. I agree with Emily, Anthro needs to be more competitive w/ their customers and offer more rewards programs or benefits. A 15% birthday discount that may or may-not come in the mail & sporadic FS will not keep me loyal.

  43. March 9, 2010 / 9:43 pm

    I'm so torn! I swear, most every day I look at the ebay listings for the "Longing for Yellow" dress, think about how I saw it for basically twice as much at the store, and wonder if I should just pull the trigger and bid. I haven't yet, and I think it's for two reasons:1) I had two bad situations once where I ended up with two BAD knock-offs (not of Anthro items) and I'm not done kicking myself over it AND2) I feel like a hypocrite for denigrating re-sellers who list their items at three times what they paid for them because they're so greedy, and then here I am having no issue with someone who's making just as big a profit. And the reason I don't complain about the latter is because she/he is offering a discount for the consumer (me). I can't condemn greed in one if I'm not going to condemn it in the other.So we'll see if I ever end up buying that dress. LOL. I AM glad things worked out for you–you look great in that trench. It really suits you!Lauren S.

  44. Anonymous
    March 9, 2010 / 9:50 pm

    i dont have any moral qualms about buying elsewhere any more than anthro has any moral qualms about high markups (higher than other stores for shoes etc). having said that, ebay takes too much effort and has too much risk for me to bother with it much. again though, if anthro had a loyalty program for frequent shoppers, there would be an extra incentive to buy from them.

  45. Anonymous
    March 9, 2010 / 9:52 pm

    Lauren S.-I think Tien gives a very valid take on the resellers v. gougers:"As for the double standard, I actually think this is different. The price gougers drive up demand by reducing supply. These items are increasing supply, and driving down price."

  46. March 9, 2010 / 9:56 pm

    You took all the words right out of my mouth, Roxy. I tried on this coat the other day and fell in love with it, and then discovered a few in my size floating around on eBay for almost half the price. Very tempting to get it now versus wait for sale and risk not getting it at all…but I got sketched out by buying from China so I didn't take the eBay plunge. I am doubly sketched out that the "California" location, which I would have also chosen over a foreign address, was actually China! Now I am even more undecided.One time I ordered current full-price merchandise on eBay, from a seller who is in Virginia (for real), but only after trying on the item in the store to make sure I really wanted it. The potentially suspicious origins of my top bother me a little bit but in the end I just spent the money I "saved" from the eBay purchase on something else at Anthro. I paid about what I would have paid at sale price at Anthro for the top, without all the waiting and gnashing of teeth. I don't do this all the time, but occasionally my screaming pocketbook wins out over the hefty pricetags at Anthro. To me this issue is about loyalty. I am a loyal customer, but I think loyalty is a two-way street. If a company is going to get so much of my money, then I want them to show me that they are worth giving it to. I want to receive more than what any normal customer gets. The free shipping for card members this month, for example, is a great perk. I wish they had coupons—even though I'm sure they avoid them because they would hurt the cache of their brand rather than for financial reasons. If I had a coupon for 20% off I would probably just buy 20% more stuff!—and I would do it with a sense that I had received superior treatment. That would strengthen my loyalty and keep my money going to the people who deserve it for the great products they've created and not to eBay sellers with merchandise of dubious origin.When the amount of money changing hands is as high as it is, the stakes are higher too. The company already delivers an excellent customer service experience but even so I feel there's more that could be done for the really dedicated customers. As in most things in life, you get what you give. The question is whether Anthro is giving enough.

  47. Anonymous
    March 9, 2010 / 10:04 pm

    I think it is interesting that you got so upset about the whole "price gouging" thing on ebay- when in fact you advertise that you buy from Anthropologie whole heartedly and even "feel bad" that you are buying from other overseas manufacturers when it is ANTHROPOLOGIE that is marking things WAY up. Why not buy directly from the manufacturer? Anthropologie is price gouging! I guess I don't really think you are being fair about the whole ebay price gouging thing- Sorry-

  48. March 9, 2010 / 10:06 pm

    I definitely would buy those items. I think the jacket looks great on you and hurray for finding it at a lower price!

  49. Stephanie
    March 9, 2010 / 10:09 pm

    The coat looks really good on you. I haven't caved yet but it's in my cart :)As for me, I probably wouldn't buy it ebay not so much because of the ethical issues more from past experiences. My bf and I have received some fakes from Ebay before on brand name items since then I rarely buy things from them now (probably twice a year). Also, the fact that there's no return policy really stops me from buying on ebay.

  50. March 9, 2010 / 10:14 pm

    Anon. @ 4:52–I think Tien makes a great point as well. There is a difference between someone who deliberately buys up an item that's in demand for the sole purpose of then selling it at a much higher price (and I'm talking here about starting the bidding at a high price, rather than starting it at what you paid and seeing where it goes) for one's own personal gain. Most of us shudder at such an expression of raw, personal greed that just benefits an individual. It's also a valid point that corporations engage in price gouging, too, but as Roxy pointed out, their profits go to many different people and back into manufacturing clothes and things we like, not in one individual's pocket. At the same time, my point was that because I choose not to patronize such resellers for the sole reason that I don't like how greedy they are, I should probably acknowledge that the seller of "gray market" goods is making as much of a profit as the re-seller. Ergo, if I condemn one for greed, I should, in all fairness, have issue with the other for his/her greed, even if the latter's greed benefits me personally and the former's greed does not. But also like Tien, I'm not passing judgement on Roxy or anyone else who buys these "gray market" goods. I'm just saying I can't quite bring myself to do it (yet?). 🙂

  51. March 9, 2010 / 10:17 pm

    The coat looks fabulous! I didn't get the hype of this coat either 'til I saw it on Shannon, goldenmeans, and now you. Agree it looks better on curvy bodies IRL than on the model. I too am wary of buying on Ebay for fear of no returns and of counterfeits; certainly there are both authentic and fakes on Ebay, and it's buyer beware. Coming from China, there's a good chance it's a smashing knockoff, but there's also a chance that it is authentic (since big luxury names manufacture there and China's luxury market is booming). Sometimes there's just no good way to tell, being a regular consumer and not an expert. A gal certainly doesn't want to support a black market that uses child labor, but as a consumer we all want to get the best price too. Has anyone read "Deluxe: How Luxury Lost Its Lustre" by Dana Thomas? She covers the luxury goods market in detail, and covers the China aspect, knockoffs and all.

  52. March 9, 2010 / 10:22 pm

    rynetta – thank you for the very nice compliment! I'm sorry the trench didn't work for you. I feel the envy creeping in when I see a bunch of other peeps look good in something that looked horrible on me (Horizon Line Dress, I'm looking at you).Anonymous @ 4:40 – To me the main appeal was timing. You nailed it that these resellers are pricing the items stealthily. Not having to wait until the coat goes on sale was very appealing to me (I'm not exactly the most patient person.)Lauren S. – Great points on both counts. I think point #2 especially quantifies the dilemma.Anonymous @ 4:50 – You bring up something very interesting. In my defense of Anthro I didn't really consider items they buy from outside vendors and then re-sell, I was only thinking of internally-produced items. It's true that Anthro does mark up the outside items as well. In most cases it seems to be a small markup (i.e. $10 on Seychelles shoes). I'm interested to know — are there items that Anthro has marked up more than 10% over other stores?Chelsea – great stuff. You have made me realize that my loyalty to Anthropologie only goes as far as their loyalty goes for me. Currently my loyalty does seem to be disproportionate (unless Anthro has a secret blog devoted to the study of all things roxy that I don't know about). Anonymous @ 5:04 – I really do not want to reopen that topic. I've expressed my views on the matter and I respect that you disagree, but let's just agree to disagree. Lacey – LOL! You certainly know where you stand. Love it.

  53. March 9, 2010 / 10:26 pm


  54. March 9, 2010 / 10:29 pm

    Wow thanks for sharing the details of this purchase. I would have been hesitant too. I don't know about the sellers located in China and overseas but I'd imagine that the domestic ones who sell things at too-good-to-be-true prices are probably using employee discounts? That's just my guess! In any case, the trench looks fab on you!!

  55. March 9, 2010 / 10:32 pm

    Roxy,Many home items are marked up significantly. Two years ago, I purchased a number of animal-shaped glass Christmas ornaments from the manufacturer at around $8/each – they were around $14/each at Anthro.

  56. March 9, 2010 / 10:55 pm

    Love the trench on you Roxy! I saw it in store yesterday, but passed it up because my hands were full of clothes! It's at the top of my must try on list though.

  57. March 9, 2010 / 10:59 pm

    Great coat Roxy, it looks great!I usually do not buy a lot of things from eBay because I had a bad experience before. I am glad the coat worked for you.

  58. Anonymous
    March 9, 2010 / 11:10 pm

    Quite often, if you see multiples of a certain item being sold, it's because they were stolen from a store. This is almost guaranteed to be true if its on a site like craigslist. Professional shoplifters grab stacks of one item at a time, and ebay is filled with people selling stolen anthro merchandise. As your coat came from China, it probably is genuine, from the manufacturer, but I don't think you can assume that to be true for most of what's on ebay!

  59. March 9, 2010 / 11:27 pm

    You look fabulous in the trench Roxy!I personally have not purchased items from ebay….like many of the other ladies here….the "no return policy" makes me extra wary. I think as your coat came from China, it probably came from an extra savvy person who works at the factory and got the coat as overstock or at production cost and is looking to make a profit. I like to think it isn't anyone trying to trick anyone or to rip anyone off…maybe I am naive but I like to give people the benefit of the doubt.

  60. March 9, 2010 / 11:41 pm

    I, for one, definitely don't begrudge Roxy her coat [which looks FAB – squee!] on her. As far as I'm concerned Anthro should be sending her boxes and boxes of FREE clothes, for all of the good press she gives them.

  61. March 9, 2010 / 11:45 pm

    I agree with so many others that the jacket really flatters you! I am divided on this issue personally, but thanks for posting about this, I think it is a conversation that needs to be had and I'm really enjoying the different thoughts and opinions.

  62. Anonymous
    March 10, 2010 / 12:15 am

    Roxy, first of all the jacket looks great on you! Although I have personally never purchased clothing on Ebay, I must say I would be tempted to if I found such a great item like yours! :0)I personally do not have a problem with a good buy. The way I look at it, Anthro's prices are way too high, let's be real. If you can score a better deal, go for it!-Jacqueline

  63. March 10, 2010 / 12:39 am

    Roxy:Interesting topic. I recently bought this trench after trying it on after seeing goldenmeans, tien and others try it on and I saw how great it looked. I tried it on and fell in love with it and wore it this past weekend since the weather was so nice in NY/NJ this past Sunday.With that said, I have looked at eBay to see their prices and with the no return policy or 20% restocking fee it gives me pause and has kept me from pulling the trigger.Overall, I am not a fan of grey market goods and while many will purchase a "fake Louis Vuitton" and figures no one gets hurt, well this is not true. If you want the look, pay for it, don't pretend. I like bargains as much as the next person, but I am willing to pay full price for things I want and don't want to spend time searching all over the place for the lowest price. My time is worth something to me.Now with that said, Anthro does overprice some of their stuff and some is reasonable. The sale prices are great and if you can snag stuff that you want on sale even better. I would have loved to have only paid $100 for this trench, but I also like Anthro's liberal return policy and customer service, so it's a choice. I won't say I will never buy on eBay, but it's highly unlikely. One must go with their values, wallet and conscience when making these decisions.Finally, it has been interesting to read all the different points of view. Thanks Roxy for starting this discussion.

  64. March 10, 2010 / 12:45 am

    OMG! I bought one too last week and just got it. Love it! It was in perfect condition and the same as the one in Anthro. I did feel a bit guilty, but I was also thrilled to have the trench.

  65. Suki
    March 10, 2010 / 1:09 am

    Roxy – Just want to say that the transparency on your site is refreshing! I love that you told us that you bought your coat on ebay and that you gave voice to the question of ethics.I've definitely been tempted to buy from those sellers on eBay. But at the end of the day, I somehow feel better about wearing the real deal. This probably sounds terribly snobbish (and I'm sorry if it does) but everyone isn't meant to shop at Anthropologie. That's why we love it. That's why we love this site. If Anthropologie were available to everyone, what would differentiate it from Urban Outfitters or Forever 21? It's an aspirational brand. Talking about how they are "way overpriced" or how they have "tremendous markups" isn't the point, nor is it the reason we shop Anthro. We shop Anthro because they're really great at knowing exactly what we want (most of the time) and curating their collection just for us. To me, that's worth an extra $100. Or at least worth waiting for the damned coat to go on sale. 🙂

  66. Marcela
    March 10, 2010 / 2:16 am

    Well, think that you won't find not even 20 of these coats on Ebay. It's an opportunity for only a few Ebay buyers who come across these items. It won't hurt Anthropologie at all. It's the same with those Ebay items with ridiculous high prices. It's one or two items, I doubt these few items can affect Anthropologie business.And about your coat, I prefer to see it coming directly from China, where it's made, than from California. If it was from California, I would think it was a stolen item. If that was the case, then I think that Anthropologie should investigate.

  67. March 10, 2010 / 3:08 am

    I waited and waited and bought the First Frost Coat in the store for the full price and less than a week later I saw it listed from one of the resellers in California and bought it. It was about $50 less than what I bought in the store. The wrapping it came in was the same as how Anthro ships and when I examined the coats side by side I couldn't tell the difference. I'm not an expert though but the lining, the seams, buttons etc seemed equal. That being said, I only buy from Ebay sellers that offer full price returns if I pay return shipping and usually try on first at the store to be sure. I think everyone has to make their own decisions but I continue to buy items at Anthro and keep my eyes open for good deals on Ebay.

  68. Anonymous
    March 10, 2010 / 4:39 am

    I had another thought…When you say "when I buy from Anthropologie that money supports the designers"… hmmm… isn't this coat a copy of Burberry's "Prorsum Tiered" trench? Strictly speaking, if I want to support the designer and the company that created this trench coat, I shouldn't be buying a copy at Anthropologie because I am hurting Burberry.

  69. March 10, 2010 / 8:21 am

    It's one of the reasons I don't buy on eBay, although I like to browse there sometimes — I worry about where some of these pristine things come from. I especially wonder when they don't even have their own photos of the item, just something copied from the retailer's site.I don't say I would never buy new clothes from eBay, but I am leery of it.

  70. Anonymous
    March 10, 2010 / 12:16 pm

    If this new item came directly from China, chances are this time was acquired ILLEGALLY. I also think that this trench coat didn’t even go through quality control because if it did, the coat was packaged, boxed, and shipped to Anthro stores. If the item was a reject, the tag should have been removed, cut-off or marked with a permanent marker. I think the ebay seller may have connived with some factory workers to ‘steal’ items from the factory. These factory workers are trained/educated to know what will pass quality control and what not. The ebay seller may have paid these factory workers a minimal amount to do such thing. I bet yah, this ebay seller didn’t even cost him/her $10 to pay for the trench coat. So this explains why this ebay seller “can afford” to sell a new item at below retail.

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