Expensive shit just keeps getting expensiver and expensiver, and both the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal run stories today trying to come up with reasons people keep buying it. But while the New York Times's is basic Economics 101 "Rich people are stupid" chapter (Dork aside, why has the writer not heard of Thorstein Veblen? Don't they read Slate over there?), the Wall Street Journal's story, like a Balenciaga behind its $99 a year subscription fee to the Times's basic Kate Spade, if you will, is full of intricate subtle sub-reasons like:

  • "Pride," Minneapolis retail consultant Dan Hill points out, "is a mixture of anger and happiness."
  • (This sentence exists directly opposite a Viagra banner ad.)
  • In shopping, $14,000 handbags exist to make you "proud" to afford a $400 belt.
  • "In Mr. Hill's case, this played itself out in the purchase of a sweater when what he actually wanted was a certain pair of Jesus Jeans."
  • Jesus Jeans: They died on the cross so all you worshippers of false idol jeans like Denim for Immortality and Citizens of Humanity and People's Liberation could be saved.

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So yeah, rich people are stupid and they like their prices high because they think you can take it with you, as specified by the Church of Jesus Jeans of Latter Day Saints, which also advocates polyamory and using Viagra. Where were we going with this? Oh yes, the universe is absurd, and that is the only reason $14,000 handbags exist. The end.

When High Price Is The Allure [NYT]
The Psychology of the $14,000 Handbag [WSJ]