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Racked Mailbag: Muji Backlash? Say It Ain't So!

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Once in a while, we pull letters from the Racked Inbox and post them for your enjoyment and/or enlightenment. Want to contribute? We're listening. Anonymity always assured.

This email is so sacrilegious, we can't believe we're printing it. But the reader who sent it in does make a few good points:

Stopped by the Muji store last night, and feel like The Shutter is about to drop at any minute. There are still all sorts of no label quality goods, but the place was dead. I counted five aloof sales clerks and three underwhelmed customers. And I couldn't blame the cold or the address, because right next door at CB2, plenty of people were shopping. Something is working against the store, and it's not just the twin-size bed propped up by the entrance that looks straight from an orphanage.
Looking closer, I realized what's going wrong---the pricing. Everything at this Muji is so expensive! I thought the minimalist design came with minimalist price tag. Has the store suffered from severe, acute inflation? I remember when they first opened, the clear plastic raincoat was less than $15. Last night, it was $23.

And all the prices seem too daring. A simple men's button-down shirt is $80. A plain (and somewhat smallish) white teapot is $50. A little acrylic drawer (for storing pencils and the like) is $17. Similarly basic goods can be bought all over town for appreciably less money. Muji is supposed to be whimsical and clever, not haughty.

I can't imagine Muji thriving in this environment with such high prices, even with international backing. Especially when sturdy places like Virgin Megastore are collapsing all over town.

Though we doubt Muji will fold anytime soon, they might do well to re-examine their pricing. Do you disagree? Hit us in the comments.

MUJI - Soho

455 Broadway, New York, NY 10013 Visit Website