Attention: It’s OK to Buy Stuff Again. Just Be Quiet About It

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After enduring month after month of conscientiously not spending, people in certain circles are experiencing “frugal fatigue.” Is an epic shopping binge inevitable?

The NY Times’ Style section says that investment bankers and Wall Street types, armed with fresh, hefty bonuses are bound to spend big-time. They’re sensitive and all to the plight of the working man, however, so the spending is expected to be far less showy than it has been in the past:

Now, after a year of self-imposed austerity and in what is shaping up as a spectacular bonus season, the Wall Street crowd is shaking off what one luxury retailer called its “frugal fatigue.” Unlike earlier spending sprees, however, the consumption will be a lot less conspicuous.

The proof of this “trend,” as a NY Mag post points out, is “extremely anecdotal.”

In any event, a manager at a Saks Fifth Avenue—who just might have been a philosophy major at college—sums up the new understated nature of over-the-top shopping:

“It is about inner self-gratification rather than letting people know how rich you are.”


But who cares anyway. I for one encourage these bankers to spend their money as quickly and as profligately as possible. Spread it around, snatch up whatever furs, Bentleys, and bling you desire. Go ahead and be showy, brag about it, whatever. If that makes you feel good and brings you an iota of “inner self-gratification,” then knock yourself out. I don’t care. I won’t be angry. Just put your money back into the economic stream so that people can keep their jobs and pay their bills.

Besides, of all people, bankers should know the pointlessness of putting one’s money into a bank right now, right?

These folks don’t want average Joes and Janes to be mad at them—or at least, they don’t want angry mobs with pitchforks and torches showing up this summer at their place in the Hamptons. One former Goldman Sachs executive quoted in the Times says:

“I mean, how does it look if you got a $1 million bonus from Goldman Sachs and you are sporting around in a new Audi TT? People will hate you.”

Don’t worry about it. People probably already hate you, Audi or no Audi. So you might as well drive a nice car! More importantly, all of the people who work at the Audi dealership (and all of their families) would appreciate the sale. Hey, why not buy two TT’s?

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