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'Tis the Season for Outlandish Gifts
Well, the new Neiman-Marcus Christmas catalog is out, and once again the folks there have done a remarkable job of assembling their collection of Things You Don’t Need, at Prices No Sensible Person Would Pay.
To twist the old saying, nothing succeeds like excess. It certainly works for these people. For example:
How about a two-person Neiman Marcus edition Gem Triton submarine, with a price tag of $1.44 million? Swell guys that they are, the Needless-Markup people even toss in a gemstone keychain so you can impress the neighbors when your kid says, “Dad, can I have the sub keys?”
Not flashy enough? Not to worry. They’re also offering a 305-carat (which is a lot of carats) uncut diamond for $1 million (which is a lot of carrots). The stone will be turned into a custom necklace. And don’t pay any attention to all those movies about how big honkin’ diamonds bring a fearful curse to anyone who wears them. They’re just fiction… aren’t they?
OK, so maybe a big honkin’ diamond that might cause despair and misfortune for generations isn’t your idea of a good stocking-stuffer. For $73,000 – A pittance! A mere bag of shells! – you can get your own pink-and-white diamond encrusted Vertu luxury cell phone, which you can use while driving your 2008 Neiman-Marcus Lexus, a relative bargain at $68,000. Just be careful not to crash into the custom-made dragon topiary, made from indigenous plants with gold-leaf horns, for an oh-so-affordable $35,000.
And for those of you with 499 friends, or at least 499 acquaintances who want to mooch off of you, how about a classical music concert for 500, by the Kirov Orchestra, hosted by television blabbermouth Regis Philbin, for $1.59 million? You’ll also get a film of the concert, and you get to keep the piano.
I don’t know about you, but I look forward to the Neiman-Marcus catalog the way we kids used to look forward to the arrival of the Sears, Roebuck wish book, although not for the same reason.
The Sears catalog helped me sort through all the choices I’d have to make before helpfully drafting a shopping list for my parents. The Neiman-Marcus book gives me something to make fun of, and a rich source of material it is, too, from zeppelins (no home is complete without one) to backyard waterparks (no home is complete without one of these, either).
It also serves as a sort of unofficial kick-off to the Starting To Begin To Commence To Sort Of Kind Of Thinking About The Upcoming Holiday season, which may be its most valuable function.
Let’s face it, the purpose of the catalog isn’t to SELL the concert by the Kirov Orchestra; it’s to get us TALKING about the concert by the Kirov Orchestra, which then leads us to the rest of the catalog, where they have stuff you can actually buy and have delivered to your house. Expensive stuff it is, too … but not as expensive as a zeppelin.
And so it begins. There’s a holiday season looming out there, and Neiman-Marcus has already brought some joy by getting us to laugh at the idea of someone actually buying their more fanciful offerings – which at those prices ought to include free gift-wrap. I’m not sure how they’d wrap Regis Philbin, though. Perhaps with some extra tape around the mouth.
© 2007 Mike Redmond. All Rights Reserved.
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