Monday, April 4, 2011

Luggage at twenty-five cents per use: this is not a Tumi

Tumi or not Tumi? That is the question.

When buying a carry-on, do you go for the high-end Tumi, the lowest-end no-brand option, or somewhere in between?

I've always chosen the low-cost version.

I travel pretty regularly - perhaps 25 weeks on the road per year.  My latest carry-on bag has lasted for at least two years: 50 round trips, or about 100 segments.  I paid $25 for it at the local discount store.  So it has cost me twenty-five cents per usage.

There is a carry-on Tumi bag on sale at Zappos for $395.  At that rate, the bag would need to last me 1600 segments without being replaced - which is more segments that I hope to fly for the rest of my life.

I can't understand the Tumi phenomenon.  Not only does it cost more that it ought to, it looks the same as everybody else's Tumi.   I don't think any business traveler is likely to take my no-brand carry-on by mistake, which I see as an advantage.

Now, what I might be willing to pay extra for is a Design-your-own carry-on bag that would reflect my sense of style (well, if I had one) as well as be clearly distinct from every other traveler's bag.

You can design your own Converse sneaker, but I haven't seen mainstream luggage makers offering a mass customization option.  Disney will sell you a slightly customized carry-on - but they just sew on the patch that you ask for and some initials.  I'd be interested in a much more fully customized one, where I can choose a wacky fabric that no one would ever mistake for his own.

From Innovation Bootcamp

1 comment:

  1. Almost there. Timbuk2 sells customizable messenger bags and standardized roller suitcases. I don't think they offer customizable roller bags, but you could ask.

    I do think we need a name for the fallacy of extreme comparison shopping. If the Tumi were $4.00 and comfortable to pull and the no-name bag 25 cents and uncomfortable to pull, the former would clearly be the better bargain. So the question is whether the average Tumi buyer would notice the absence of $370.


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