Very good sentences

Amazon is so serious about its next big thing that it hired three women to do nothing but try on size 8 shoes for its Web reviews. Full time.

The article is here, and for the pointer I thank Neville Andrew Mehra.

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Reportedly, this is because his wife kept saying "You can put a man on the moon, but you can't sell me a decent pair of shoes?"

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Why only size 8?

Because the others wouldn't fit?

Perhaps, per TallDave's comment, because the others wouldn't fit Mrs. Bezos.

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Because 8 is in the middle and if you assume the delta between shoe sizes is constant, you can try on one shoe and note if it's a bit large or a bit small and make a mostly accurate prediction about the shoe style in general.

Shoes can also be vanity sized, but mainly it's of note if they're cut wide or narrow.

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Its because all women's sample shoes come in size 8.

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What I'd be interested in seeing is if Amazon would be able to use its purchasing power to encourage (force?) the brands it carries to keep their clothes more true-to-size.

What does "true-to-size" mean for women's clothing? They're just arbitrary numbers, right?

Same size as other size 8s, for instance. Size numbers have drifted steadily ever since catalogue shopping invented them.

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Would customers actually want this? It might make more business sense for them to allow size drift to buttress customers' self-esteem.

At least in men's clothing, I would presume they would like to be able to cut down on returns by making sure that every pair of pants sold on their site with a 32 waist actually measures 32 inches at the waistband within a certain margin of error.

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Maybe they could put airport scanners to good use, getting precise body measurements and designing perfect fitting clothes. Purchasers could vary sizes according to their individual preferences from prepared images of them wearing the clothes they are about to purchase.

I never thought the Amazon model would work with experience goods as it would for search goods. I suppose a liberal return policy improves sales of sight unseen experience goods.

and they could sell you the clothes on the plane, as entertainment.

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this frivolity will come to an end soon. you could call it "the last days of rome" bubble. my gf tells me that women's clothing and shoe sizes aren't standardized because it's how the manufacturers and retailers get their customers to make more impulse buys -- try on more clothes for fit, fall in love with more clothes, spend on more clothes.

ps al bundy celebrated.

Yes, and having been to the Philippines, and seeing first hand where the USA is heading, I'd also say it's a sign of the times when people obsess over shoes. (if the shoe fits...)

ps imelda marcos celebrated her birthday on July 2 last year.

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Is it all because you can't touch an internet purchase (and they are a PItA to return)? On the other hand, women like shopping.

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Virginia Postrel has a nice article about this in Bloomberg http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2012-05-10/how-dowdy-amazon-can-walk-the-fashion-runway.html

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