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Witnessing the Upwardly Mobile in Action

Wannaplan?

Bounty Hunter
Messages
3,216
Points
29
What things do people do to set them apart from the unwashed? What do we do to show that we have - ***ahem** - status? I'm talking about the pretentious crap here, not the obvious bling bling adventures.

Here's one that I cannot relate to in any way at all: Talking about scotch whiskey with all your buddies and discussing the type of barrel it was stored in and how long it was aged. Not my kind of thing. I don't have anything against scotch whiskey - I just don't find it interesting enough to talk about.
 

Jen

Cyburbian
Messages
1,704
Points
26
Upwardly mobile in action?

Applies to both sexes >coiffured, manicured and wearing hosiery 24/7.
 

nerudite

Cyburbian
Messages
6,544
Points
30
With my friends it was wine tasting... talking about the wine's different attributes. Bores me to death.

In L.A., the cool thing with my friends were personal trainers. Bleh.
 

Tranplanner

maudit anglais
Messages
7,917
Points
36
I don't find anything pretentious about enjoying good scotch/wine/beer. I admit I don't take it quite to the level described by Wanigas?, but I look at it more as a hobby than as a way to give myself "status". To each their own I guess.
 

Wannaplan?

Bounty Hunter
Messages
3,216
Points
29
jordanb said:
Whoops! That would the "obvious bling-bling" thing I was talking about. Nerudite's thing about personal trainers and SAC's "synergy" freaks gets closer to the intended tone of this thread.
 

H

Cyburbian
Messages
2,850
Points
24
Tranplanner said:
I don't find anything pretentious about enjoying good scotch/wine/beer. I admit I don't take it quite to the level described by Wanigas?, but I look at it more as a hobby than as a way to give myself "status". To each their own I guess.
I am with you. I talk about this and food and even art, but not to be pretentious. Just because someone knows and talks about life’s finer items doesn’t make them pretentious. It is only when someone looks down on someone for ‘not knowing’ are they pretentious.
 

donk

Cyburbian
Messages
6,970
Points
30
Oh, oh

I like drinking good scotch and beer and I work with a cycling coach.

Next someone will mention something about shoes.
 

Wulf9

Member
Messages
923
Points
22
jordanb said:
Around here, the SUV is the drive of choice for the unwashed because they think it will make them look "washed." The washed tend to stand apart from the crowd. The SUV is so common, it is part of the crowd.

I think SUVs are so popular now because they were once a unique vehicle of the upper middle class (Incomes over $250-500k but not in the multiple millions.). I suppose a SUV is still a washed ride if (a) it is not from Japan or a U.S. carmaker(except Jeep), (b) it is a working vehicle, (c) "working vehicle" means driving to a country house that needs four wheel drive for access, and (optional d) your other car is not a pickup truck.

Pretty much a subjective analysis.
 

Cardinal

Cyburbian
Messages
10,080
Points
34
Cigars.
The New York Times.
Perhaps food and wine... depending on whether you are doing it for status or because you really love it.
 

el Guapo

Capitalist
Messages
5,995
Points
31
When I wish to put someone in their place I'll mention the resale on my 1985 Volvo 244GL is at least $1500.

I live in a blue-collar town and occasionally get a comment from the masses like "buy merican" I retort "Like your made-in-Mexico Ford Escort? Hey, does that thing got a Hemi? Sunday Sunday Sunday....Cletus is going to by some Skoal and rubbers in his 1973 Dodge Dart...Sunday Sunday Sunday..."

No...not really, but in my mind I say those things to the unwashed. And i say them very firimly, and in no uncertain terms. :)

I do tend to get deep into the details of things like certain guns, coffee and homebrewing. I don't do it to put others down though.
 

biscuit

Cyburbian
Messages
3,904
Points
25
Wulf9 said:
Around here, the SUV is the drive of choice for the unwashed because they think it will make them look "washed." The washed tend to stand apart from the crowd. The SUV is so common, it is part of the crowd.

I think SUVs are so popular now because they were once a unique vehicle of the upper middle class (Incomes over $250-500k but not in the multiple millions.). I suppose a SUV is still a washed ride if (a) it is not from Japan or a U.S. carmaker(except Jeep), (b) it is a working vehicle, (c) "working vehicle" means driving to a country house that needs four wheel drive for access, and (optional d) your other car is not a pickup truck.

Pretty much a subjective analysis.
Pretty good analysis. Although, the picture posted by Jordanb is a Land Rover Discovery and if it didn't have those giant tires it would still be very much one of the vehicles of choice for the upwardly mobile types.
Wouldn't you agree Chet ;)
 

H

Cyburbian
Messages
2,850
Points
24
el Guapo said:
... I retort "Like your made-in-Mexico Ford Escort?...
No...not really, but in my mind I say those things to the unwashed. And i say them very frimly, in no uncertain terms. :)
It is not an ‘Escort’, but my wife’ s Ford has a “Made in America” certification.
 

Tranplanner

maudit anglais
Messages
7,917
Points
36
H said:
It is not an ‘Escort’, but my wife’ s Ford has a “Made in America” certification.
[OT]
My Escort was made in Fort Wayne, Indiana [/OT]

I guess what I'm getting from this thread is that one person's pretenciousness is another person's necessity/desire. What if I wanted a personal trainer because I need serious help getting back into shape? (I don't, and yes I do)
 

Dan

Dear Leader
Staff member
Moderator
Messages
18,706
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69
I saw it in Denver a lot. With the mountain casual look dominating local fashion, and small bungalows selling for $300,000 and up, displays of wealth wasn't always obvious. You could see it reflected in expensive SUVs, choice of music (usually smooth jazz), home appliances and hardware (commercial refrigerators and stoves, European washing machines and dryers, elaborate sinks and faucets), entertainment (expensive restaurants with "bistro," "trattoria," or "New American Grill" in the name), and certain things dropped in casual conversation (mentioning condos in Vail, personal trainers, adventure vacations in Africa or Antarctica, and so on).

It was a hoot going to open houses in Denver, and seeing Sub-Zero refrigerators, Viking ovens, Miele dishwashers and $3,000 microfiber slipcover couches in 750 square foot bungalows. Oh ... stereo softly playing the local smooth jazz station, of course.

I also encountered upward mobility at dog parks, of all places. Labs dominated the Denver dog scene, but many weren't ordinary Labs. They were either "field Labs" or "show Labs," and people would talk about their pedigrees, or sending them away to spcial gun dog training camps. Only in Denver did many people recognize the breed of Bailey; Portuguese Water Dogs were considered a "yuppie puppy" and a fashionable breed for the upwardly mobile. "How much did you pay for her" was the most frequent question.

The big difference between someone who might just be upper middle class and the pretentious new-money Denverites was that the new money folks had no concept of dimishing returns. Does a $2,000 dishwasher imported fron Switzerland really get dishes four times cleaner than a normally high-end $500 KitchenAid dishwasher? Is the organic free range chicken at Whole Foods that much better than the chicken at King Soopers? Is a $100 bottle of wine distinctly five times better than an otherwise well-regarded $20 bottle? Is a $5,000 amplifier ten times better than an otherwise audio-hile quality $500 NAD or Adcom amp?
 

donk

Cyburbian
Messages
6,970
Points
30
I also want to add something else.

I spend insane amounts of money on things that are important to me (bikes, clothes, art, music, books, camping equipment) and some people find it pretentious.

However, they don't realize that I spend almost no money on things that are not important to me and considered "normal".(don't own a VCR, rarely go to the movies, older car, housing way below my means, rarely eat out).

There is a big difference in keeping up with the joneses, being pretentious or aquiring for aquirings sake, vs prioritizing what is important to you and spending your income on those items.
 

Plannerbabs

Cyburbian
Messages
1,037
Points
23
donk said:

Next someone will mention something about shoes.
Cole-Haans or Manolos, dahlings.

Seriously, it is a matter of preference and income and how it's presented. If you like, for example, Saabs, fine coffee instead of gas station paint stripper, and the New York Times on Sundays because Saabs are safe and nice to drive, the coffee tastes good, and the Times eats up several hours with interesting articles and journalistic integrity, then fine. But if you drive the Saab because it's quirky and oh-so European, read the Times because you think you should, and choke down the fancy coffee because the Times recommends it, then yup, yup, yuppie, you're pretentious.
And if you write really long sentences, you should have listened to your English professors more.
 

Wannaplan?

Bounty Hunter
Messages
3,216
Points
29
Dan said:
I also encountered upward mobility at dog parks, of all places. Labs dominated the Denver dog scene, but many weren't ordinary Labs. They were either "field Labs" or "show Labs," and people would talk about their pedigrees, or sending them away to spcial gun dog training camps. Only in Denver did many people recognize the breed of Bailey; Portuguese Water Dogs were considered a "yuppie puppy" and a fashionavle breed for the upwardly mobile. "How much did you pay for her" was the most frequent question.
Whether you are into dogs, shoes, cigars, or scotch, the thing that blares out one's attempts to be upwardly mobile is how they talk about the things they like.
 

donk

Cyburbian
Messages
6,970
Points
30
Wanigas? said:
Whether you are into dogs, shoes, cigars, or scotch, the thing that blares out one's attempts to be upwardly mobile is how they talk about the things they like.
I think you've hit the nail on the head. I try not to talk about the gear I own for the activities I do, I talk about the activity. Price and "exclusivity" frequently come up because some products show their quality and it makes people curious.

icon11.gif
On Dan's amp question, if a stereo is tuned you can tell the difference between a MacIntosh amp(example) and a NAD amp or B&W speakers vs high end sony's. The warmth and nuances an insanely expensive amp projects is quite different then a good home systems amp. Same with the speakers.
 

ludes98

Cyburbian
Messages
1,264
Points
22
donk said:
On Dan's amp question, if a stereo is tuned you can tell the difference between a MacIntosh amp(example) and a NAD amp or B&W speakers vs high end sony's. The warmth and nuances an insanely expensive amp projects is quite different then a good home systems amp. Same with the speakers.
I am an electronics junkie. I have rarely discussed this with anyone in casual conversation though. Electronics are not something that just come up in conversation. When people start asking questions about what they see or hear in our home, I talk about it. Even still, most people think I am nuts as opposed to some status thing.

Something I just don't get: Kaleidiscope collecting. My father in-law is into this and it is ridiculous to me. Why pay $3000 (not a typo) so that you can have something on display that you rarely look at, but inevitably have to talk about to whomever you invite into your home?
 

Dan

Dear Leader
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Moderator
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18,706
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69
donk said:
On Dan's amp question, if a stereo is tuned you can tell the difference between a MacIntosh amp(example) and a NAD amp or B&W speakers vs high end sony's. The warmth and nuances an insanely expensive amp projects is quite different then a good home systems amp. Same with the speakers.
True, but we're talking low to mid-end audiophile equipment versus quality consumer equipment. Now, start looking above the Mac, above Rotel, above NAD, into truly esoteric equipment from Boulder Audio, Conrad-Johnson, Fanfare and Accuphase -- we're talking about things like $5,000 CD players and $10,000 amps advertised in The Absolute Sound, Stereophile and other high-end audiophile publications -- and that's where the dimishing returns really becomes evident.

Sure, if I had the bucks, I'd buy a new MacIntosh amp for $2,000. Is a $20,000 Halcro amp ten times better? An $80,000 Jadis amp forty times better? Are nuances that can be measured only by lab equipment and a few golden ears worth $18K? $78K?
 

El Feo

Cyburbian
Messages
674
Points
19
el Guapo said:
I live in a blue-collar town and occasionally get a comment from the masses like "buy merican" I retort "Like your made-in-Mexico Ford Escort? Hey, does that thing got a Hemi? Sunday Sunday Sunday....Cletus is going to by some Skoal and rubbers in his 1973 Dodge Dart...Sunday Sunday Sunday..."
Volvo (headquarters - Sweden)+Mazda (Japan)+Jaguar+Aston Martin+Land Rover (UK)+Ford+Lincoln+Mercury (US of A) = The Ford by-god Motor Company.

What's more American than merchant empires comprised of co-opted foreign businesses? ;)
 

SlaveToTheGrind

Cyburbian
Messages
1,445
Points
27
Plannerbabs said:
Cole-Hahns
Hey, I have a pair of Cole Hahn. But I only bought them becasue they were half off at $75. Still a little much but they are great shoes.

My view that is if you want somthing, then you have every right to buy it. I am tired of the SUV bashing. I used to have an SUV and prefer driving one of those than my car I now have.

Everyone's life can be analyzed and wasteful habits or expenditures found. Unless all of our energy sources we use are renewable, then we area wasting resources. You can always set your thermostat 2 degrees warmer in the summer or 2 degrees colder in the winter...among many other things.

My point is that if you can afford something, then you should have every right to purchase the item even if it is viewed as excessive. And who is anyone to judge what products I buy or use?
 

PlannerGirl

Cyburbian Plus
Messages
6,377
Points
29
agreed its my money I will spend it as I see fit for ME.

If that is silly imported hand made candy or cashmere so be it.
 

BKM

Cyburbian
Messages
6,463
Points
29
I think Slave to the Grind makes a good point. Every single on of us is pampered and lives excessively by world standards. I still hate trying to see around a Lincoln Navigator or being taligated by an Escalade driven at 80 mph by a platinum blonde soccer mom, but still...

I also agree with DONK. A lot of my fetish expenditures are things I like. I''m sure I could psychoanalyze why I like European furniture, pottery, and heavy metal cd's, but since most people don't have any interest in these things, then I doubt its because of "keeping up with the joneses." I like fancy restaurants, but I also like taquerias, so..
 

Plannerbabs

Cyburbian
Messages
1,037
Points
23
Eee-zackly. I have a couple of pairs of Cole-Haans, but I found them clearanced. Would I buy another pair? Sure, because they last and they're comfortable. Would I buy a pair for $250? Heck, no, I'd rather buy a CD or a book or some gourmet food. It's just a matter of priorities and living within your means.
 

ludes98

Cyburbian
Messages
1,264
Points
22
Plannerbabs said:
It's just a matter of priorities and living within your means.
Oh but that is slippery ground too. The "average" american has 14 credit cards. Consumer debt is at an all time high. 20% of the world GDP is US consumer spending. Do most people rationally spend within their means? I think the answer is no.
 

PlannerGirl

Cyburbian Plus
Messages
6,377
Points
29
i have ONE creditcard and its not even maxed out-even had them lower the limit on it.

i save up then spend on nice things. My view is many times it costs more for long term value. Why pay x several times over and over in a year for an item when you pay XX and only have to buy it once every few years?

I buy my nice clothing on sale or at TJ Maxx (picked up a bottle of Burberry parfume for sister for christmas for 20 bucks)

But 2x a month i take the boyfriend out for a nice 75-100 buck dinner and we enjoy. The rest of the time its eat smart.
 

SlaveToTheGrind

Cyburbian
Messages
1,445
Points
27
Two credit cards - Visa and Discover. To be used only in case of emergency. I hate them but I think they are necessary.
 

biscuit

Cyburbian
Messages
3,904
Points
25
I think this was said above, but the real difference between the upwardly mobile and the “great unwashed” (excluding those in poverty) is how they spend the money they have. It’s a J-Crew vs. Wal-Mart kind of thing. I for one will drop bucks on a great meal out while Sunday night dinner at the Sizzler may be a fancy outing for others. On the same note, I would never consider paying more for a new pick-up truck than I make in a year. It’s all about priorities.
 

BKM

Cyburbian
Messages
6,463
Points
29
That is one of my two biggest weaknesses-poor self-control with credit. Sometimes I wonder if I will ever learn. :(
 

Wulf9

Member
Messages
923
Points
22
Dan said:
I also encountered upward mobility at dog parks, of all places. Labs dominated the Denver dog scene, but many weren't ordinary Labs. They were either "field Labs" or "show Labs," and people would talk about their pedigrees, or sending them away to spcial gun dog training camps. Only in Denver did many people recognize the breed of Bailey; Portuguese Water Dogs were considered a "yuppie puppy" and a fashionavle breed for the upwardly mobile. "How much did you pay for her" was the most frequent question.

Does a $2,000 dishwasher imported fron Switzerland really get dishes four times cleaner than a normally high-end $500 KitchenAid dishwasher?
Dogs are a true test of being in the "washed" or "unwashed" grouping. Quality dogs (usually big dogs) are "washed" dogs. The "washed" would never ask what you paid for a dog. Of course you paid a lot. But they would find out without asking to your face.

One interesting fact about kitchen appliances. The truly "washed" do not cook. They have help. People who try to gain status with high-priced appliances are middle class folks trying to rise a little bit above their other middle class peers.

That's enough gross oversimplification for now.
 

ludes98

Cyburbian
Messages
1,264
Points
22
Dogs are a true test of being in the "washed" or "unwashed" grouping. Quality dogs (usually big dogs) are "washed" dogs. The "washed" would never ask what you paid for a dog. Of course you paid a lot. But they would find out without asking to your face.

I agree that asking the price paid for a dog, or rather for any item, is an "unwashed" characteristic. I couldn't however, pass up your "quality dogs are big dogs" comment. People I meet in the park usually display this attitude as well. We have two Minature Pinschers from champion lineage and they are indeed "quality dogs."
 

Zoning Goddess

Cyburbian
Messages
13,852
Points
39
The current rich-folk gotta-have in SW FL is multiple bronze statues in the front yard. A recent newspaper article detailed a rash of stolen statues from homes in Naples (big money area).
 

SkeLeton

Cyburbian
Messages
4,853
Points
26
What's the point in having expensive paintings, jewelery, china, etc?
Besides giving thieves a nice prize, I can't understand it.

Also, what's the deal with having huge stereos when a small stereo has the same or better sound for less price...
 

Wulf9

Member
Messages
923
Points
22
Zoning Goddess said:
The current rich-folk gotta-have in SW FL is multiple bronze statues in the front yard.
There's a big difference between being rich and being in the "washed" category. An unwashed person with lots of money is still unwashed.

Another test. The house you live in is in a high priced area that has been a quality area for more than 50 years - preferably more than 80 years. Or, your imported oriental rugs are threadbare from use.
 
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5,352
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31
The latest craze and a WTF? in my book is those portable televisions that people have installed in their cars, like in the seats and the visors.
 

Seabishop

Cyburbian
Messages
3,838
Points
25
Planderella said:
The latest craze and a WTF? in my book is those portable televisions that people have installed in their cars, like in the seats and the visors.
Yeah, cause kids don't watch enough TV at home. They should also come with automatic dispensers that feed twinkies every 30 seconds. :-@ They would be good for long trips though.
 

BKM

Cyburbian
Messages
6,463
Points
29
That television thing really annoyed me. They can't be separated from the damn electronic heroin for even a few hours? Pretty sad commentary. There is nothing weong with being bored once in a while.
 
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