Saturday, December 15, 2018

Touch of Modern Gluttony



Back in the 1980s- a decade pretty much dedicated to the art of Conspicuous Consumption- there was this awesome store in the local mall called The Sharper Image which sold all kinds of nifty gadgets which all had one thing in common.  Everything in the store was really cool, and really pointless (or, at least, way ahead of it's time- which meant that the concept was there but the tech had not yet quite caught up yet.  For example, The Sharper Image was the first place I saw Wireless Headphones, Hoverboards, and Robot Vacuums, and I'm sure they all worked equally badly.)

It was, essentially, a place for poor kids like me to ogle fancy Toys for Adults, and for upper-class adults to buy toys for themselves.

Well, that particular The Sharper Image has gone the way of almost every other store at that mall, vanished off the face of the Earth to be replaced by a massive Filene's Basement, though I was a bit surprised to learn that the company itself does actually exist somewhere (perhaps as an internet-only entity.)  About fifteen years ago I walked into my first Brookstone's and thought "hey, The Sharper Image is back with a new name," because Brookstone's does pretty much cater to the same audience, but it wasn't as cool probably because I wasn't 18 years old anymore.

Now there's Touch of Modern, where Stupid Rich People Who Have No Change For the Guy with the Bell can purchase electronic coasters which allow coffee cups to hover above the desk or floating Death Star models or super-nifty-SciFi Swiss Army knives or belts which don't quite work like the belts that the plebs buy at JC Penny.  It isn't Toys for Adults- you can get vintage GI Joes at Ebay and video games at Walmart.  These are showy pieces of pointless junk which serve exactly one purpose- to let everyone else know that you can afford to buy showy pieces of pointless junk.  As in "Don't think for one minute that I saved for three years or took out a second mortgage to buy that Lexus in the driveway.  I've got money coming out of my ears!"

So for that rich guy in your life who has everything- here's something they don't have, because they didn't know it existed.  Because there's no reason for it to exist, except that there will always be people out there desperate to throw money around in the most ostentatious manner imaginable.  And because it's 2018 they don't even have to drive to the mall to do it.


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