Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Egregious lapses in recession etiquette

A call recently went out on a Northwest neighborhood listserv for an "affordable hair dresser." These being recessionary times, a recommendation came through in the $80 range (highlights and blow-outs extra, I presume)

Sweet Jesus, have you people ever heard of the Hair Cuttery? *

(If it's good enough for this millionaire...}

Previously, the lifestyles of Diddy, Rachel Zoe and Gwyneth Paltrow's much-maligned (but beautifully designed) GOOP blog were considered aspirational, worthy of awe. In fact, $10 million wasn't even enough to get oneself considered rich.

As a refresher from this seemingly distant past, the trappings of such a life often included:
- Umbrella-carting manservants and Mandarin-speaking nannies
- Kids who'd never flown commercial
- $42,000 limited-edition designer handbags (one buyer, who wisely chose to remain anonymous, allegedly lives in the Washington area)

Because things have changed, Toby Young helpfully provides advice about proletarian attractions such as "the subway" and "diners."

The moral of the story: If you actually do have bling left in your bank (and that bank isn't in need of a bailout), it's in good taste to keep quiet about your prolific spending - even (or especially) if you're trying to communicate commiseration and kinship with the masses.

Examples of statements to whisper, not shout:

- "The vacation home is such a hassle to maintain - you're so lucky you don't have one."
- "We're tightening our belts and eating in more. The cashiers at Whole Foods are starting to know me by name."
- "We've had to limit our children's iStore purchases. It's been hard, but they need to realize that money doesn't grow on trees."
- "I'm learning how to iron my shirts myself."
- "So hard to find a good housekeeper these days - don't you think?" (Actually, no - you might get management consulting expertise with the clean floors these days.)

Rule of thumb: If you feel like hesitating a bit before making a consumption-related statement, think first. Ask: "Will this make me sound like a tool?" (Chances are, the answer's yes.) And please Gwyneth, for the future of your acting career (and you are a damn good actress), please don't even attempt the "recession chic Balenciaga casualwear" blog post.

* Note: In all fairness, the criteria were later modified to "$50 and under."


At 8:17 PM, Anonymous Lisa said...

Whoa, are people really still acting like no recession is going on? I hope you made these comments up. Knowing you, though, I think you are likely just protecting the identity of the guilty?

At 8:46 PM, Blogger globalchameleon said...

Like Gossip Girl, I'll never tell XOXO...

The shirt-ironing one links to a real article. The author has 40 white tailored shirts, by the way

At 4:04 AM, Blogger media concepts said...

I've predicted that those still making coin during the recession will tone down the ostentation just a bit, so as not to be ostracized by their bankrupt brethren. So maybe they'll opt for the stainless Rolex instead of diamond-encrusted gold, alloy rims on the Escalade instead of chrome dubs, and a plain hamburger instead of snorting Kobe beef through rolled-up Benjamins. We'll see.

At 10:09 AM, Blogger globalchameleon said...

If someone stupidly chooses to inhale their burger rather than consume it old-school (thru the mouth), I'm not using my tax dollars for an emergency-room bailout!


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