Is something the matter?
“Are you being obtuse for narrative purposes?”
“Okay, I’ll play along. And say the obvious. Nobody cares how the super-rich are ruining things for the wealthy.”
The wealthy do.
“Not the sensible wealthy.”
Well, it’s something I noticed. And if something’s worth noticing it’s worth writing about.
“What’s that? – ‘The Code of The Desperate Blog Writer?”
I believe it is. Or at least part of the “Code”, along with “Avoid using words nobody’s heard of”, “Try not to unnecessarily offend” and “Get out before you bore people.”
“With this one, you are teetering on the brink of breaking that middle rule.”
I know – that’s the challenge of this post. I just thought, since nobody talks about it…
“…. and for good reason…”
… it might be worth mentioning and pondering before proceeding to issues of more meaningful import. (INSERT YOUR OWN LIST OF ISSUES OF MORE MEANINGFUL IMPORT HERE. I’LL STAY OUT OF IT, IN CASE “IF THERE ARE GOING TO SLICE THE BREAD, WHY NOT SLICE IT ALL THE WAY THROUGH?” IS NOT AS IMPORTANT TO YOU AS IT IS TO ME.)
Here’s what I noticed. (“Noticing” being a God-bestowed attribute, so if you don’t like this, blame… well, you can follow the logic without my blaspheming.)
We were invited to (a within driving distance) out-of-town celebration, taking place at a luxury hotel we had visited numerous times before, the last time being on a family holiday vacation a couple of Christmas/slash/Chanukahs ago. Since the event in question was scheduled for the evening, we planned to spend the night at that luxury hotel, before returning home the following morning.
It was then we discovered that the room rates at that luxury hotel had ballooned precipitously, making a night’s stay there fiscally…. “Are you kidding me?”
It was, like, twice as expensive as the last time we had visited. And it was never close to a bargain. (Although, when juvenile hotel guests were involved, they were met in the room by a generous mound of freshly made popcorn piled on a Frisbee, a friendly touch, somewhat mitigating the eye-opening sting of the subsequent “Checkout” experience.)
We made alternate arrangements at a nearby hotel, which, although not inexpensive, made financial sense for people not members of royal families from oil-rich, Middle Eastern emirates. And other minted Midases, who are pricing me and others of my pecuniary ilk totally out of the market.
That’s what I’m talking about today. (When I should be talking about the widening chasm of economic disparity in this country but I’m not. I am talking about this nonsense instead. And understand I understand that it’s nonsense.)
Take a breath before you read this and try not to punch me through the computer screen,
By not blinking at the recent, supersized mark-ups, the enormously wealthy have made the “just wealthy” feel uncomfortably less wealthy. Since the super-rich have little practical interest in what anything costs – allowing providers to jack up prices to the point just before they begin to uncontrollably giggle – luxury items and experiences, once considered extravagant but doable for the bottom tier of the ”One Percent”, are now exorbitantly – and disconcertingly – out of their reach.
Selected Examples Of This Disturbing Phenomenon:
Prior to the celebration we’d be attending, I happened to catch sight of a display of watches, mounted in the luxury hotel’s store window. One of them specifically caught my attention. (Although I have never worn a watch.) Not ostentatious. Not diamond-encrusted. A simple, leather-banded Rolex watch:
I figured I’d pass.
I am unaware of how much – “parts and labor” – an elite watch costs to produce, but I am fully cognizant of the Rolex “name brand” cachet. Still, seventy-eight thousand dollars for a watch? When you can check your phone for the same information for nothing? (Considering you already have the phone.) Or ask the guy beside you, “Can you tell me the time?”
I mean, who on this planet thinks $78,000 is an acceptable selling price for a watch?
A SUPER-RICH PERSON: “Christmas is coming. I think I’ll scoop up a couple of dozen of these for ‘The Help.’ And for my brother-in-law who I hate or I would buy him a Tesla.”
Birthday earrings for the wife? Used to be, “Hey, go for it – she’s worth it.” Now, the same earrings – or at least similar earrings at the same jewelry store – you’d have to keep them in a bank’s safety deposit box, whose facilities would require the addition of a mirror for trying them on in the vault. Can you imagine people before some big shindig, arriving in limos, with their gowns and their hair-dos and their heels and their safety deposit box keys? They could hold the party right in the bank.
You can forget about tickets to the playoffs. In the Magic Johnson era, we once had great seats for the Lakers Championship Finals. Now, it’s strictly “Billionaires Only!”
Shed a tear for the comfortably well-to-do!
“Okay, that’s it.”
What if I took off the exclamation point? I was not certain of that myself.
“No! (Employing my own exclamation point in righteous indignation.) People are legitimately struggling. And you’re complaining about seventy-eight thousand-dollar watches?
I didn’t want the watch.
“Then why are you talking about it?”
Because I wanted to be able to want it.
“That is not a problem!!!
Okay. It was just something I noticed. By the way, this is my 2500th blog post.
“Twenty-five hundred. Geez.”
Do you think I could have a “pass” on this one?
“I was thinking after twenty-five hundred, you would know better.”