Saturday, May 19, 2012

Conspicuous consumption

Ok, I'm on call this weekend which always puts me in a foul-a$$ mood.  So, please forgive the editorial.  

The pursuit of "one-upmanship" always amuses me.   Even though, it can sometimes be a little ridiculous.

Some folks live flashy lifestyles.  Ok, I get it!  But, just because you have some cash, does that mean that you should necessarily display it????

This morning in the New York Times, one of the articles provided an excerpt from a real estate blog discussing the $90+ million apartment which recently sold in a building under construction.  The skyscraper, One57, now holds the record for the most expensive apartment ever sold in Manhattan.  The 11,000 sq ft abode was sold for approximately $13,000 per sq foot.  The views ARE spectacular... as well they should be for THAT ridiculous price. 

Artist rendering, 157 West 57th Street
View from the Penthouse, One57

But, does anyone really NEED to spend $90 million on a home? 
In 1899, Thorsten Veblen coined the term "conspicuous consumption" in the book The Theory of Leisure.  Paraphrased, the term refers to the acquisition of goods beyond what one needs for sustenance for the purpose of show and status. 

Personally, I have much more respect for those who spend their money on things that they love but don't conspicuously display it.  A great example:  Years ago, I ran into Sam Walton in Wal-Mart.  He was in Durham, NC -- dressed like a farmer -- and he certainly did NOT look like a billionaire.  In fact, I thought that he was a homeless man looking for some spare change for the vending machine... until I saw his security detail and was eventually introduced.

Perhaps, Mr. Wal-Mart was an extreme example in the wrong direction.  There is nothing wrong with being proud of your accomplishments.  Perhaps, it is the "bragging" aspect that irks me.

And, it's NOT just an American phenomenon.  In the current issue of Vanity Fair, the world's most expensive home, Antila, is featured.  This monster is 27 stories tall, located in Mumbai, India, and has underground parking for 160 cars.  It was constructed for the bargain basement price of.... wait for it.... $1 billion.  Yes, that is billion with a B!!!!   Cha cha cha cha {choke} ching.

Sweet Jesus.  Can you imagine the cleaning staff that would be necessary to keep that place looking good???? 

Certainly, people can spend their money however they choose... but when does conspicuous consumption become a bit vulgar?

Maybe I'm just frustrated that they haven't been spending their money on BOTOX®, facial rejuvenation, and body contouring procedures in the office.  Hmmmmmm? 

Come to think about it, I know a plastic surgeon who can make house calls.... hint hint!  Could someone give these ka-jillionaires my number.  {Giggle}

No comments:

Post a Comment