Please read the foreword to this before continuing reading. If you have already read the foreword then why are you still reading this? Look down dammit.
I am an anime fan. I have diligently followed anime for the past 15 years, since I was 3 years old. This has absolutely nothing to do with the topic of this piece of musing except the fact that this piece is inspired by Ouran High Host Club, an old (well not THAT old) anime/manga that I’ve been reading/watching again recently. If you don’t know, OHHC is basically talking about a bunch of obscenely rich kids and a commoner (to make long story short….very very short).
Needless to say, the way the rich and famous spend money more often than not instigates the desire for us to either strangle them silly or bang our head against the wall, either out of frustration, jealousy or bewilderment (or maybe all of the above). This is especially true about the affluent and privileged of my age, who buys branded goods the same way we buy canned drinks from vending machines. I have a friend, who is part of this fortunate group and splurges on LV, Kenzo and other brands I have never even heard of like nobody’s business. Back then his monthly allowance was twice of a Singaporean office employee’s monthly salary. Rich kid indeed. So while I followed him around shops and feeling totally out of place in a store where even the decorations in the shop window are more than my yearly allowance totaled, he was like fish in water, totally not seeing how it is downright WEIRD for a 15 year old to be shopping in a luxury store like it’s the $1 shop. Probably the many of you reading this book will be shaking your head slowly and complaining about how money isn’t meant to be spent like that. (Aside from being blood-boilingly-> new word I invented; jealous of him?)
Then let me ask you, how should money be spent?
General consensus is that it should NOT be spent. Though, then what is the point of having money again? Letting it sit in the bank and uh….collect interest, gain more money…then what? Money has no value if you don’t spend. The whole point we try to earn money is to pay for stuff, so while spending money on trivial things we don’t need can be considered wasting money, the real concept ought to be NOT spending the amount of money that is disproportional to your income. In fact, the best way to earn money is to spend money. For example buying stocks, buying real estates, you get the drift don’t you? But I’m going off tangent here. The ways children of the rich and wealthy spend aren’t really looked upon kindly, but when you think about it, it’s not without reason.
I feel uncomfortable to be in a branded goods store and generally other high end places, I’m much more at home in places like Espirt and Guess, where I can actually afford the clothes. However, there are those who are less fortunate than me, who find GAP and Zara intimidating and feel much better in places like Wal-Mart and Giordano. In short this sense of discomfort is intimidation, caused by inferiority in face of wealth greater than your own. Whilst I don’t quite support the rich people are sad and poor people are happy concept, it is true that there are certain facades and skills one needs to have to do well in the high-class society and being intimidated by another’s wealth isn’t part of it. Hence it is important for these future heirs and heiresses to get used to such high-class places in order to hold their ground in diplomatic situations in the future. That and, if you’re a rich man, what does your son or daughter reflect about you if they show up to a dinner wearing old converse sneakers and Hang ten t-shirt? Nothing good, evidently.
Not just that, your ability to discern the value of goods are only as good as the things you come in contact with daily. Growing up with a silver spoon in your mouth means shopping at branded shops all day and constantly being in contact with ‘quality’, the concept of good quality and bad quality is instilled from early on. Being able to discern value means not being cheated by property agents about good houses and bad, making the right investments, not buying faux goods and insisting quality service/goods from their own companies.
Then again, there are still spoiled rich brats who don’t know when to stop spending and ruin their parents’ empire overnight, it’s one thing to be in touch with the high-society and another to over-indulge, but even so, these rich spoiled brats probably have a better idea of what’s more valuable materialistically than us average joes.
Bottom line is, the way the rich and famous spend aren’t without rhyme and reason, so instead of clinging onto our self-conceived bubble of comfort that money is evil, the rich are all spoiled and snobbish, maybe we should try and understand why they spend the way they spend and learn from it. We can bitch about money all we want but hey, money really does make the world go round.
So yea, your rich friends may splurge on the limited edition nike shoes, Channel handbag and own socks that cost more than your parents combined yearly income, at least those items themselves can still be considered as ‘normal’, because really, would it make you feel better if they bought penthouses and apartments on a whim instead of customized handbags and branded coats? Think about it.