It's Genuine, But Is It Genuinely Good?


Discount clothing stores like TJ Maxx, Kohl’s, Marshalls, and others tend to sell items such as wallets and belts, and if you’ve ever bought one you may have been surprised to find apparently high-end items for a much cheaper price. For example, Kohl’s sells a Men’s Columbia Genuine Leather Extra-Capacity Slimfold Wallet for $32. That’s pretty good, right? It’s a name-brand product made with “genuine leather,” and that wallet sells elsewhere for more than twice that. The reason it’s so cheap? “Genuine leather” is a bit of a marketing trick. That’s because genuine leather is, at best, mediocre. Leather comes in three grades — the best is “full-grain leather,” one rung down on the scale is “top-grain leather,” and finally, there’s “bonded leather.” Genuine leather can be any of the above — all it guarantees is that the product is actually made of real leather. All this shouldn’t be surprising — you get what you pay for, and if a deal is too good to be true, there’s probably something you’re missing.