Last month a picture of Jim Harbaugh, coach of the San Francisco 49ers, appeared in USA Today. But the picture was not taken on a football field. Coach Harbaugh was standing in front of a rack of blue jeans and khaki pants in a Wal-Mart store. In his hands he was holding packages of underwear and khakis. Immediately following the revelation that this coach patronizes Wal-Mart for selected apparel, sports talk shows throughout America had much to say on the subject. Comments from both professional broadcasters and callers ranged from incredulous to critical.
“Why would a multimillion dollar producing coach purchase his khaki pants at Wal-Mart?” “He must be an outlier.” “The guy’s a freak.”
On the contrary Mr. Harbaugh, I would speculate, is a lot more interested in preparing his team to win than he is in where he shops for clothes. And he is not the only socioeconomically successful person who purchases apparel from stores that no one would classify as “upscale.” When asked about the stores they patronize for suits, dresses, shirts, blouses, ties, scarves, coats and/or “for dress”/”for work” shoes, millionaires nationwide indicated “yes” to the following: Costco (22.0%); J.C. Penney (14.5%); Kohl’s (21.7%); Marshall’s (14.2%); Gap (17.3%); Sam’s Club (12.3%); Sears (11.4%); TJ Maxx (16.7%); Target (23.4%), and Wal-Mart (15.4%). In terms of deca millionaires (those with $10M or more) 10.3% purchased apparel at Wal-Mart.
Why is it that most people in America are not as wealthy as they should be? I have found that one of the main reasons is that they spend too much time and other resources on shopping and appearances and not enough time and effort on becoming a socioeconomic success like Mr. Harbaugh.