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Sirens of Convenience

I had a friend, Steve, with whom I shared the same sense of humor. Over time, we developed shtick that we enjoyed doing at every opportunity. One involved the creation of a character who did not care about money – a blowhard, someone like Ralph Cramden of the Honeymooners TV Series who has little but flaunts what he has to appear to be a big man.

Any time we were together, Steve would typically bring out this character without warning for maximum effect. “Mr. Dubé, I don’t care about money. I throw it away. In fact, here’s some money now [Steve would take out a bill]. I’m throwing it away. [he would crumple it and throw it to the ground].” His delivery and style was superb, and we never tired of this bit.

Although this character was not based specifically on any New Yorker, it is not too far from how many New Yorkers appear to treat money. The incredibly high cost of business rents in tandem with incomes that are typically higher and the incredible convenience of services and goods all conspire to develop a very cavalier attitude by many New Yorkers concerning money. This leads to outrageous statements like “Their food is ridiculously cheap. Salad is only $7.95 a pound,” or paying more for a product because you are too lazy to cross the street and go to a supermarket.

Recently, a friend and I noticed small pieces of Divine Organics Raw Chocolate Brittle for $10.89 each in a local natural foods store. We are never daunted by prices in the city, and extreme examples abound and surround us. Nonetheless, we found this product at $10.89 for a 1.6 ounce piece so outrageous (that’s $108.90 per pound), it has become a source of amusement whenever we see it.

I’ve been to places, and perhaps you have also, where the value of money is taken very seriously, where even a dollar or 50 cents means something. I once ate at a diner in rural Maine where I asked for a substitution in a dinner platter. Since something of lesser cost replaced something of greater cost, the waitress actually volunteered a price reduction of some cents. I can’t dream of such a scenario in New York City.

New York City is a seductress, with the sirens of convenience ready to lure you in. If you crash upon our shores, the easiest way to spare your life is with money. Just tell the sirens, “I don’t care about money. I throw it away. In fact, here’s some money now. I’m throwing it away.” :)

5 Responses to Sirens of Convenience

  1. "Dear NYU, you should be glad to know that I absolutely have NO use for money. I completely despise it. Just the smell of it makes me sick to my stomach. So here's $60,000 for my first year. And here I go, throwing it in your face. Now excuse me while I skip all my classes and throw away the rest of my money buying dresses on Topshop and $10.89 chocolate."

    Awesome as always, Brian.
    :)

  2. It's quite nearly true to say that the only thing there is to do in NYC is spend money.

  3. Good Lord, every time I walk into that store I balk at the prices…but this one is completely over the top! Delightful post. Love Rigel's comment!

  4. Yeah Rigel! You, too, Brian!

  5. If its raw (trendy) or it contains sugar(almost a drug) you can price however you please!

    Note to Divine Organics: that packaging is really unappetizing.


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