The Cost of Things
Why get a regular room somewhere when you travel when you could get a deluxe experience, and I mean deluXXXe, as detailed in this Refinery 29 profile of the NoCal hotel Stay & Play:
“It is a free-standing, two-level adult playhouse,” [Diva, the proprietress] explains, “like an adult treehouse.” Three years ago, the “adult treehouse” was a barn used primarily for hay storage. Now, the farming tools have been replaced with a menagerie of props for submission and domination. “I am not a submissive. It doesn’t work for me to play that role — it’s oil and water,” Diva tells me. “In corporate America and in S&M, people equate being a dominant woman with being a bitch. I always thought you could attract more flies with honey.” A weekend night at Stay & Play costs $300, minus $50 if you stay through the weekend. It includes full usage of the S&M facilities and (of course) comes with the sweet touch of a home-cooked breakfast. Couples are the usual guests, but the occasional threesome or larger group isn’t unheard of. Guests range from S&M newbies who are curious about the lifestyle to old hands.
This sounds terrifying, but perhaps no more terrifying than the average B&B, which forces you mingle over scones with strangers, or the average Air BnB, which might catch fire. At least this B&B, like the best ones, has character.
On Aug. 11, Mary Ellen Burris, a senior vice president of consumer affairs for Wegmens, a family-owned grocery chain in upstate New York wrote a blog post titled “Sky High Beef” to explain to customers why beef prices have risen lately.
If you invested almost half a million dollars into raising one horse and only a fraction of that raising a second horse, you’d expect the first horse to do better in life, wouldn’t you? Be shinier, sleeker, more confident, faster. Maybe it would jump higher, eat more apples. Brush its own hair, I don’t know, whatever good horses do. Maybe you’d think of it as more valuable. But what about children?
High-income families who live in the urban Northeast, for example, are projected to spend nearly $455,000 to raise their child to the age of 18, while low-income rural families will spend much less, an estimated $145,500, according to the report.
Part of this can be chalked up to the astronomical cost of childcare, especially in certain regions:
In 2012, center-based care for one infant was greater than median rent payments in nearly half of the states, according to Child Care Aware of America’s most recent report. In Seattle, Britta Gidican and her boyfriend spend $1,380 each month on daycare for their 17-month-old son, just $20 less than they spend on their mortgage each month. “When I was pregnant I knew daycare would be expensive,” said Gidican, a public relations manager. “But I didn’t expect to pay two mortgages.”
Their actual value was probably about right, as they were a generic design made from a synthetic material with unremarkable quality. They lasted much longer than they probably should have, and longer than any pair I’ve had since. I still refuse to pay more than sixty dollars for any pair of shoes (do you know what has been on that sidewalk?!) but these remain the best attire investment I have ever made, and I can confidently say they were worth more to me than every other piece of my wardrobe combined.
The Emmys were last night! So many dangling pendant earrings. So much bronzer. (Orange really is the new black, ba-dum-CHING.) So many long sleek hairless legs, representing so many costly hours at the gym and the spa, and so many skyscraper-like shoes hoisting those legs even further from the ground on which ordinary people spend their ordinary days. There are no losers at the Emmys: even people who don’t win get a $50,000 consolation prize.
Nearly all of the shows that do win these days are “premium” content, TV one has to pay to watch or else stream/download on the sly. As the NYT’s Alessandra Stanley puts it,
There is an exhilarating confluence of talent and opportunity at places like HBO and Showtime. Shows like “Breaking Bad” and “True Detective” are more inspired than movies, telling stories that are a complete vision rather than a committee-dulled compromise. But it’s increasingly obvious that the most rewarded series are also the ones that penalize audiences with costs that add up and count many viewers out. And that makes the Emmys, a ceremony that is always carried by a broadcast network, a paradox: a water-cooler event that increasingly exalts the boutique, paid-for television experience.
I don’t pay for either HBO or Showtime, though if I had unlimited money, I would buy unlimited cable. It’s high on the list, right up there with “beach/mountain house” and “Fluevogs.” Instead I settle for Netflix, which, for about $10/month, brings me a lot of the important shows, like “OITNB” and “Sherlock,” and which was basically shut out last night for being a brassy upstart. It’s funny to watch an event celebrating TV and realize how little of it an average person has access to.
Related: What’s an Emmy worth? CNN’s Brian Stelter explains and the NY Daily News weighs in.
So as my daughter’s seventh birthday approached, it was clear we had to do a horse theme, which presented a conundrum: There are riding rings and stables around the area that will host birthday parties, and even a few pony purveyors who will bring one to your house for kids to ride. These options are, of course, rather expensive. I just have a really hard time dropping serious cash on little kid’s birthday parties, and by “have a really hard time” I actually mean “don’t have the funds to do so.”