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The $50 Steak

I’m not talking about a steak served in a restaurant with a baked potato, creamed spinach, warm sour dough bread, a Caesar salad to start, and chocolate cake to finish it up. I’m talking about a steak in the butcher’s case, 1.25 pounds of cow called Spencer. You then have to take it home and BBQ.

OK, it was for a special occasion, so I sucked it up and bought the steak. On the way home, I stopped at Pavilions and picked up some veggies and chocolate cake and happened to glance into the meat department. There was what looked pretty much like the equivalent piece of meat for $20.

I was petrified as I put the meat on the grill. Would I over or undercook? Fortunately, it turned out perfect and Robyn and I being small eaters, it was enough for the two of us. But then I got to thinking, who actually regularly paid that kind of money for basically exactly the same thing as could be bought at Pavilions or Costco for a third the price? And Why?

If you pay extra for a similar good or service, and it brings you enjoyment, then so be it. I have a friend to pays first class to go to Dubai. She loves Dubai and greatly enjoys all the fun and the rest of it that she experiences there. It brings her great pleasure.

However I also have a friend who drives only the most expensive cars he can buy. If it is made in Germany, Italy, or in a factory in England, he is there. But why? Frankly it’s so he can show everyone just how worldly he is and that he can afford an Aston Martin, Bentley, Maybach, or Ferrari.  He gets little pleasure from owning the high end vehicle, he gets pleasure from knowing that everyone who sees him now, he thinks, has greater respect for him.

There are many examples but one is at the top of the list. Ever heard if Balenciaga? It’s a high end women’s fashion nameplate. They have just come out with an $1800 trash bag look alike. It’s looks like a Hefty bag you take out to the curb an place in your trash can. You can use it to carry your ‘stuff’. I think this was a way for the folks at Balenciaga to test the power they have over their customers. It seems to be working as some folks are actually paying nearly two grand for this little item.

It is certainly possible that some people do get personal pleasure wearing or carrying something with a name (Cartier, Balenciaga, Prada, Hermes, YSL, Patek Phillipe, Versace, Armani, Chanel, and the rest). It is true that most have a built-in craft that give it a reason for expense. And if that’s the reason you buy it, good for you.

Socrates said that an unexamined life is not worth living. Have you sat down and looked within? Do you really understand your motivations? Do you buy the $50 steak because it’s really better, or because you will have bragging rights?

Perhaps its time we all looked within. It’s not a bad thing.

JVH

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