Acquisitiveness Gone Mad

December 13, 2007 at 3:13 am (Uncategorized)

Last Friday, Llew brought some light reading with him for our train trip up to Evo’s place. One of these was a Christmas gift guide from some financial publication or other. I’m tempted to say it was the AFR magazine but I’m just not sure. In any case, its readership clearly lives on another planet from our much more humble one, if their ‘gift guide’ was anything to go by.

The thing that sticks out most in my mind is a simple handbag. Sure, it was Hermes, and no doubt made with superior leather and craftsmanship. I don’t doubt it was a quality item, hence its inclusion in a very swanky gift guide that included things like convertible cars. But this handbag – and let’s please keep in mind it was a handbag – carried a price tag of over $33,000.

Thirty-three thousand dollars. Plus. 33 grand. For a bag. What kind of imbecile would you have to be to spend that kind of money on a handbag? More money than sense is one thing, but that’s verging on obscene. What kind of person convinces themselves that $33,000+ is a reasonable purchase for a bag? I love a good handbag, they’re one of life’s great accessories and I have several, so I am not asking anyone to abandon their consumer items in one big mountain of shame. No, I too like nice things. I am as guilty as the next person of having more than I need of things like… well, shoes. And bags. And shirts. And possibly jeans. I also do a nice line in cocktail dress. So the last thing I am advocating is an ascetic existence – frankly I like my stuff too much. But I also think I have more than enough stuff. I really, really, really don’t want any more stuff. I’m absolutely, positively, completely… stuffed. And after a point, all that stuff can go and get stuffed.

As I looked, gob-smacked, through this Christmas gift guide, I pointed out the more outrageous items to Llew.
“How about a 14 grand Fendi watch?”

And the really stunning thing about that watch is that it was U-G-L-Y. Not just the runt of the litter but downright ugly. Ugly and expensive – as a combination it is the absolute pits. Yes, thanks, I’d really love to wear that ostentatious eyesore on my wrist every day…how much is it? $14,000? Oh, perfect, well in that case I’ll take two.

We have gone crazy. You know that, don’t you? I couldn’t help but wonder as I flipped through this selection with ever-growing incredulity at the material madness if there was a level of wealth at which I too would think a $33,000 handbag was okay. Relative. Not such a big deal. Perfectly all right. Normal, even. I wondered this aloud, so Llew helpfully looked at me, looked at the bag, shook his head and said “I don’t think so.”

I don’t think so either. There are things in this world that might be worth that kind of money, and a handbag is just not one of them.

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