Friday, October 29, 2010

To Spend or Not to Spend

I recently read an article on Mukesh Ambani’s One Billion dollar splurge on his 27 storey home and some readers’ reproachful comments about him frittering away wealth instead of feeding 68 million kids for 20 full days! Mr Ambani is the fourth richest man in the world, has built a vast empire employing several thousand people and still people expect him to be charitable as well as though it is his responsibility to eliminate poverty in the world! Eliminating poverty is certainly not as simple as all the rich people in the world donating their wealth to all the poor. If they choose to be charitable, it certainly helps in some way, however that is not something that should be imposed on them and it certainly is unfair on them to be judged because they spend their money the way they like. And honestly, I wouldn’t even call living in a beautiful home a splurge (even though I found the Ambani mansion pretty ugly!) Everyone has that one dream of having a beautiful home and a comfortable one. Why then deny Mr Ambani that pleasure and insist he live in a 3 bedroom house just because the even wealthier Mr Warren Buffet does. Who is John Galt after all. (for those of who may recall Ayn Rand’s tome Atlas Shrugged)

Well, those were my views on this one rich man spending his money on his dream house. However, this article brought to my mind the other stuff the rich and famous buy and which I don’t approve of! I know, now I m being judgmental just after all those statements above about each to his own. . I completely endorse buying something that would lend value, a technologically advanced car with more features, a large home that’s in a prime location with the latest gadgetry and comforts, to some extent for creativity in outfits and accessories, but I fail to understand how people can actually pay the ostentatious amounts they do for objects that are as ephemeral as passing seasons and stuff that they may not use probably twice. My case in point is handbags

The Luxury bag market is a multi-billion dollar industry and luxury brands Hermes, Fendi, Louis Vuitton, Prada, Gucci, Chanel all jostle for space as new brands try to entice rich gals with their expensive goodies. Well, I was astonished that salaried people even bought these bags at all but apparently they do! Check out the prices of these bags below. Don’t be taken in by the simple design you have probably seen on the roadside purse shop as well! For starters this seemingly simple wallet from Hermes costs $2,600 or Rs 1,16,000.

Now if that ain’t too bad, how about a fancier and larger purse from Hermes for you? Well that costs $7,600 or Rs 3,40,000.

I continued this eye-popping exercise of checking the prices of these bags till I reached a magic figure of…. 1 Million Pounds or or $1.6 Million or Rs 7 Crores for the world’s most expensive bag!!!

Well if Mukesh Ambanis wife, Nita Ambani buys 600 of those bags, it would cost as much as her home would! I guess, the new home is a good bargain after all then!


  1. I remember going to a Louis Vuitton store once at SoHo with a few friends of mine... just to check them out and an make an honest attempt to appreciate their design, quality of material etc. I was really curious to know the reason for them being so famous and in command such a premium
    I was astonished to see how atrocious they looked... the design was simple (no innovation there)..the quality of material was average and printing was absolutely amateurish... Infact the street side fakes look much more real than the real ones! and cost almost a hundred times cheaper!!!

  2. A good post, but I'm somewhat not convinced about your views on Mr.Ambani. Nobody expects him to live in a 3 bedroom house or donate at an expense of his luxury. And its not even about his responsibilities. Its something about one's duty. Look at hollywood actors, or businessmen. Take for example the same Mr.Buffet or Mr.Gates. They have an urge to return back to the society, something thats missing in Indian celebrities. How many times have we heard of Ambanis or SRKs or Dhonis indulging themselves in social works? No doubt, they are all talented, smart and tough. but the society has helped them to become what they are.

  3. @Sandeep: That is exactly the point I am trying to make. Perhaps our middle class sensibiities may not see the value that the socialites see in those luxury goods or maybe they are indeed as you say, pretty average and its just the power of the brand that has its magnetic pull.

  4. @Ganesh: Thanks for your comments. Though I respect your opinion, what I am saying is, even if the wealthy do have more money they can probably ever use, it still is their personal choice as to if they indeed want to give it away or to splurge or to just hoard it and the society has no right on it whatsoever. Though the society has like you said helped them where they are today, it is also indebted to the Ambanis of the world, for giving them employement without which they would have languished.

  5. The price is just for the labels they sport. And labels mean more to the celebrities and wannabe socialites than utility or usefulness. I had window-shopped at the designer outlets in Manhattan and had to physically shove back my eyeballs in their sockets from which they had popped! :D
    Did you read my post, An evening with a culture vulture?

  6. @zephyr: I know certain brands command more 'value' than others, but I do wish, there was more to it than just an inane label worth millions. I totally am not brand conscious, and do believe that something that boasts good quality is better than anything that is bad quality with a label. Will jump right to your post now!

  7. Hey Richa,

    Nice read after a long while....:-)Although I agree with you, there are a couple of points which can be debateable...However, to each is his own...Hahahaha..As you have mentioned above....:P