Getting back on topic, I think the point of the article, regardless if there was an "˜agenda' or not, is very relevant in this day and age. Â Personally I have noticed that my recent unbridled spending habits have been a direct result of a relentless pursuit of "˜quality'. Â Though buying quality items that last should justify itself, there still remains that chasm between need and want. Â One great example is with wine glasses. Â The article mentions people who buy Riedel glasses simply for the name (which of course is conveniently printed at the base). Â The writer is referring not to wine enthusiasts who obviously need different glasses to maximize their enjoyment of specific wines, but your Jane and John Doe couple that drinks only on special occasions and the word "˜bouquet' only refers to flowers. Â It is highly unlikely that they can discern any tangible difference between drinking from a Riedel glass and an IKEA glass. Â In fact I doubt that using a crystal goblet over an identically crafted glass one will actually change the taste (feel free to correct me if I'm wrong). Â In the end the reason that this couple, and many others, buys Riedel is for that extra bit-of-luxury. Â They may need wine glasses, but they want ones that represent some lifestyle ideal regardless if it's within their means or not. That said, it is a completely justifiable luxury to buy watches, robes, sheets, TVs, etc. if that's what you really enjoy and you can truly tell the difference. Â For many of us here, it's suits, shoes and watches. Â The only caveat is not to spend on things that you don't/can't appreciate fully simply to entertain some lifestyle fantasy. Â And of course, not to spend more than you can afford.
Gentlemen: I read the article (albeit very quickly) -- thanks to AmbChase. Â Also read your replies with interest. Â I've read the Frank book she cites, and I would also recommend Twitchell's book on Luxury, if you can find it. Â It's an interersting discussion of the way items are marketed as luxury items that everyone can afford (thereby placing into jeopardy their status as luxury items). Anyway, it's an interesting sociological critique. On most things, I'll buy the best if that fact affects their performance. Â I either don't want to buy the same thing twice, or I don't want to replace the thing because it doesn't do what it's supposed to do (one good example is tools -- though whether under _most_ applications a Craftsman wrench is worth more than a Snap-On wrench, I think not). On Scotch and wine, I'd rather drink good stuff, or not drink it at all. Â But everyone likes a bargain, no? Â So when Petrus became a "brand" I stopped drinking it. Â At first because it was over-priced, and then because it became so obscenely-priced and hard to justify within my own value system. On certain things that have such a huge mark-up compared to the additional value they offer, I find it hard to purchase them, but on occasion I do. I like nice things but it's about quality-construction and whatnot rather than as any status symbol that they may represent. Â This is something that the author of the article doesn't consider. Edit: actually, I reread article and she does consider that (sort of). Anyway, I found this to be the most interesting part of article: >Sadly, this cycle of spending on image and brand tends to escalate. >What was once a luxury or a one-time splurge quickly becomes a >necessity. Harvard psychologist Daniel Gilbert dubbed it a pattern of >"miswanting" -- because what people want (i.e. a life of wealth and >luxury) can't be fulfilled just by acquiring the trappings of it. >And what's worse is that trying to buy the appearance of luxury can >become a roadblock that stops you from building up your own, true >wealth. Because -- as impressed as your friends are by your pricey >"stems" or $700 stroller -- that's just money going toward a fantasy, >instead of being invested in a way that might truly enhance your quality >of life someda