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Copycats, One Upmanship and Keeping up with the Jones'

(63 Posts)
FamilyGuy2 Tue 18-Dec-12 10:17:26

Hi all

First post so please be gentle ;-)

I don't know if anyone has had the same but I'm at the end of my tether with a group of friends. They're all really great except they're all obsessed with copying/keeping up/one upmanship, whether it be cars, presents, clothes...... The list goes on and it's driving my wife and I mad.

I bought my wife a lovely Ted Baker dress as a present last year. I'm not rich so it was quite an outlay but well worth it as my wife looked stunning in it. Fast forward 6 months and her mate (significantly more wealthy) decided to buy the exact same dress even though she'd seen my wife wearing it before (and commented on how lovely it was). Now my wife doesn't want to wear it any more in fear that they'll both turn up to parties wearing the same thing. Being more wealthy she could've bought anything so why buy exactly the same thing?

They all went Xmas shopping, as a group last month and my wife bought my eldest daughter a Cath Kidston bag for Xmas. She (my eldest) has been fancying one for ages but didn't want to ask as they're quite expensive. As no-one had even mentioned Cath Kidston, my wife thought she'd be ok so decided to treat my daughter. Now she wishes she hadn't as my eldest went to school yesterday to find our friend's daughter had turned up with a brand new Cath Kidston bag, one week before Xmas. My eldest was gutted and my wife was absolutely fuming. Especially as my wife's friend knew that the bag was going to be an Xmas present for our daughter.

The sad thing is, the same happens with everything; cars, decorating the house, house extensions, holidays, gadgets. It seems that individuality has never entered my friends vocabulary at all.

As a result we've tried to distance ourselves from it but it's difficult when you are ultimately good friends. It's just an aspect of friendship that we could do without.

Does anyone else get this and what do you do?

Thanks :-)

MrsMangelfanciedPaulRobinson Tue 18-Dec-12 10:25:06

It sounds to me as though you are just the sort of person that you are moaning about. Does it matter if someone buys the same dress as your wife or the same bag as your daughter? Anyone is at liberty to buy things from any shop they choose.

CogitOCrapNotMoreSprouts Tue 18-Dec-12 10:27:31

Don't they say 'imitation is the sincerest form of flattery'? smile Sounds creepy at the level you describe, however. You have a few choices as I see it. a) Rise above the copy-cat behaviour and ignore it, b) stop being friends with such crushingly dull people or c) tackle them directly and tell them stop aping you.

Mysa Tue 18-Dec-12 10:29:14

Ted Baker had the same dress in stock 6 months later?

Why are you spending your time noticing what brands everyone is buying? It's quite normal for a group of friends to be into the same sort of shops. And if you're such good friends, why does something so trivial bother you anyway?

CogitOCrapNotMoreSprouts Tue 18-Dec-12 10:31:07

It's not just a branded frock and the odd handbag Mysa.... there are always going to be coincidences like that. But when you take it to the level of cars, holidays and extending the house, surely that's a bit OTT?

Mysa Tue 18-Dec-12 10:39:22

Hmm, I suppose that would be OTT and creepy if they are doing and buying EXACTLY the same things... If there are just similarities between the types of things, then I don't think it's a big deal. Maybe you are just the 'trend-setters' among your friends OP? They must want to emulate you. I can see why that could be annoying and rather cloying.

FamilyGuy2 Tue 18-Dec-12 10:39:59


Not really. Where did you get your insight from?

We go about our normal business but have found this phenonena to happen way too much. Too much to be comfortable or it to be a coincidence.

Ultimately you're right, we are free to buy what we like but you are clearly of the mindset where it wouldn't bother you if you spent the day looking for a dress to find 3 of your friends wearing the same thing. You might not mind being a chameleon but I'm happy to be different.

Cantbelieveitsnotbutter Tue 18-Dec-12 10:44:42

I've had the same thing it's bloody annoying and I'm truly not materialistic or give a shit what joe blogs has compared to me. Never compete (theyll always be someone with more and it will eat you up) enjoy what you have and carry on buying what you want. It's flattery just chuckle between each other

worldgonecrazy Tue 18-Dec-12 10:47:19

You either have fun with it, or you rise above it.

If you have the time, why not paint a room a hideous shade of vomit brown with green bits, rave about how avant garde it is at the moment, etc. etc. and then secretly paint it back to a more acceptable colour without telling them and see what happens.

As for the dress, your wife just needs to have fun with that too. If you know that they are both going to be at the same party, your wife just needs to phone and in a chatty manner say "you know that dress you bought that is the same as mine, are you wearing it, because wouldn't it be awful if we turned up in the same dress ....". Then your wife needs to take a spare dress in case your friends really are nutters.

FamilyGuy2 Tue 18-Dec-12 10:52:07


I couldn't care less what other people buy. It's when someone says, "I like your dress" and then turn up wearing the exact same thing that gets my goat.

Coincidence is fine and happens. I can accept that but blatant copying is something else.

I take a lot of care in researching/buying gifts for my wife as does she with our kids. I take the time to listen to her and observe what she likes when we visit the shops. I'm not the best husband in the world but think I give thoughtful gifts that genuinely please. It's just a little tiresome when you go to the trouble, that's all.

I wouldn't buy a 5 series on principle (perhaps my stupidity) but one of the guys bought one. Then one of the others bought one. Then another, of a slightly higher spec. Then the last had to trump the lot and get one with the highest spec possible. This sounds like I'm making it up but there were four 5 series BMW's in the same neighbourhood.

Maybe I'm a little sensitive but surely this isn't normal?

Mysa Tue 18-Dec-12 10:56:40

Don't know if it's normal, but they do sound boring and unoriginal. Do you have a good time with them when you are together? How do they know where you got things from (ie the non-obvious things like clothes/extensions)? Do they ask outright so that they are able to copy you?

jenny99 Tue 18-Dec-12 11:01:44

I would find it annoying. Especially when you spend more than you might ordinarily and someone else has it. When I spend that little more I hope for some individuality.

If I was you next time they ask where the dress/bag/Xmas present is from I would say you bought it last time you were abroad, or from a small boutique, or even depending on location just say 'selfridges'. Let them trawl about for it.

Cars are perhaps harder to hide!

I like the idea of playing with could borrow a pet from someone and see the lengths they go to?! ;)

CogitOCrapNotMoreSprouts Tue 18-Dec-12 11:02:18

So it's not just one family slavishly copying you, it's a group of friends all slavishly copying each other??? hmm Sounds like some of them need to get out more.

senua Tue 18-Dec-12 11:13:04

Isn't this why vintage/retro is so en vogue - precisely because there is little chance of anyone buying exactly the same as you.

antonym Tue 18-Dec-12 11:18:59

Could they have bought the dress if you hadn't said where it came from?

Stop thinking that "They all went Xmas shopping, as a group last month" is normal behaviour. but if you are going to do it then a. buy a handbag about half as nice and half as expensive as you really intend to b. keep the receipt, return handbag privately later and buy target handbag c. wait till the opposition has committed to the copycat, only half the price handbag d. appear in public with target handbag. simples.

FamilyGuy2 Tue 18-Dec-12 11:49:48


It sounds like they're all boring slaves but aside from the shenanigans they're genuinely lovely people and fun to be with, which makes it all the more ridiculous.

We are generally out of it as I don't aspire to drive the latest BMW/Merc and have no intention to extend the house etc.

For the non obvious stuff, they just ask and I'd rather tell the truth than lie (probably my mistake). You just know when they ask that a purchase is impending.

I think other posters are right though. We need to rise above it as we cannot control the actions of others, just our attitudes toward it.

FamilyGuy2 Tue 18-Dec-12 11:57:48


I bought the dress from House of Fraser and I think you could have bought it from John Lewis too (as well as the Ted Baker shop obviously lol) so was easily accessible.

However, you'd have to have wanted to look for it (if you know what I mean) as it certainly wasn't as accessible as say, Next (nothing wrong with Next btw).

ArtVandelay Tue 18-Dec-12 12:05:01

The dress thing is annoying but honestly the car thing sounds logical. 4 men, families so need a bigger car, certain level of income they probably just all looked at Audi, Merc, BMW and Volvo saw who had the best rates on finance or part ex and went with that. Me and my friend nearly ended up with identical cars in the summer, for this very reason. The best thing you can do is ignore it or find it amusing (and stop being so brand obsessed!)

ArtVandelay Tue 18-Dec-12 12:06:36

If it was 6 months later, the dress was no doubt in the sale and an irresistible bargain!

sue52 Tue 18-Dec-12 12:07:48

The neighbour could have bought the dress much cheaper at an outlet, the same with the Cath Kidson bag. Be a bit less label conscience and shop around in more individual places. If you want to keep these people as friends, rise above it and stop caring.

SirSugar Tue 18-Dec-12 12:15:38

YABU for buying a Cath Shitson bag


AnyFuckerForAMincePie Tue 18-Dec-12 12:18:25

Dresses and Cath Kidston bags seems a strange thing for a bloke to get his knickers in a knot about.

wewereherefirst Tue 18-Dec-12 12:21:19

Our neighbours try to do this. So we told them we're buying a boat.. Give it a few weeks.

We just find other people to be friends with and laugh at the childishness of it.

Aboutlastnight Tue 18-Dec-12 12:22:15

Christ almighty.

Have a drink and a laugh about it hmm

FamilyGuy2 Tue 18-Dec-12 12:26:17

The brand thing is a bit of funny one. I'd buy Primark if I thought it looked good (and have done too) but it's often no coincidence that a brand produces a design that's more appealing than Florence & Fred.

I'm not label concious. I will pay money for whatever I see merit in. It's difficult to get a point across on a public forum, without writing 20 pages, but the examples I gave just happened to be labels. The same happened with Tesco place mats for the dining room.


That's a valid comment but my personal opinions of products do not influence my purchasing of gifts. We buy presents because we know that loved ones like particular things. I cannot stand One Direction or JLS but that doesn't mean I'm not going to buy my daughter their CD's.

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