Friday, December 08, 2006

Who Can Afford It? Who Deserves It?

Still thinking about the whole luxury spa resort thing. It's not like I really think it is this terrible immoral thing to enjoy spa treatments, as the last post might suggest. I just have a conflicted attitude about it. And whenever I come to these places, I wonder how anyone who is not part of a corporate group affords it. At the lower-end restaurant in this hotel, i.e. the one I am allowed to eat at, you can't get a glass of wine for less than $9. Hardly any dinner entrees are under $30. They offer a shrimp cocktail of jumbo or giant or whatever shrimp-- you tell them how many shrimp you want, and they are $5 each. The bottles of water they serve are $7 a pop for what looks like maybe half a liter.
Honestly the place doesn't seem all that crowded other than my group, but there are definitely other people here. I think the basic rooms are about $200 a night, but that might just be our group rate. Do you ever just wonder how many people can be out there who are the customers for these places? If the population of the US is 300 million or so, how many of them can afford vacations in that price range? The top 10 percent? The top 5 percent? I have no idea what the real percentage is, but I guess that is still millions of people, being served by only hundreds, or maybe a few thousand resorts. Even if there are 365 days in the year, that makes it seem like this place should be overrun!
Back to the issue of enjoying self-indulgences, or really just enjoying any aspect of our high standard of living while children are starving elsewhere, etc etc, people often say they "deserve it." What does that mean? What makes people "deserve" to spend money in certain ways, aside from the fact that we live in a free country? Are there people who don't deserve to have these luxuries?

11 comments:

Kira said...

A similar idea to when people survive some kind of disaster and they have an epiphany that God wanted them to survive so that they could do whatever important work there is to be done. So that means that God wanted everybody else who didn't survive the disaster to die, and they weren't important enough to do the work you're doing?

Like you I also take issue with the notion of "deserving" special things. People have had it drilled into their heads by the whole buying culture that you work hard and you deserve a rest and you deserve fine things. You aren't living a worse life than anyone else, and if you were living a worse life, your idea of luxury would cost a lot less but you would get more enjoyment out of it. When your everyday life is luxurious compared to other people's, I don't think you get as much enjoyment out of a treat because it is only a little bit better than your regular life.

mapgirl said...

"Deserving" is a stupid, horrible marketing ploy. We are all deserving of luxurious things in life. But deserving and self-indulgence when you can't afford it are two different things.

How many times have people been suckered into buying something they can't afford by hearing, 'Don't you deserve this? Don't you owe it to yourself?'

Gah. Crazy. Makes me feel like sheep when I fall for it, even when it's just a fancy chocolate bar. (80+% cacao in Seattle. I still haven't eaten it b/c it's too precious!)

Anonymous said...

I don't know who all is at your resort, but I know that I have been able to take some really nice vacations due to business travel. I travel so much and stay in hotels so often that I accumulate enough hotel points for a weeklong stay in a resort every year. In my experience, hardly anyone at a nice hotel is paying full price; most people are on conference rates or using some points to make it affordable.

Golbguru said...

$5 a shrimp, $7 a bottle of water !? Thats not luxury or self-indulgence..thats stupidity. Sometimes I think when people say "I deserve this self-indulgence" they are just try to hide their guilt under the carpet. You say "I deserve this" a 100 times ...and sure you will start thinking you did the wise thing by buying a $7 bottle of water. :)

Anonymous said...

I see a lot of my friends making poor financial choices (buying multiple $200+ handbags, always choosing the luxury route instead of something more in line with the reality of their true income)all justified with the three little words "I deserve it." I suppose they also deserve the debt they incur with those choices...and it all snowballs as they are paying for those luxuries long after the luxury's been enjoyed. Leaving them with less money, more stress... all leading them to want to relieve the stress with more luxury-type indulgences. I'd save those "I deserves" for truly special choices that have a long-shelf life...and not when they incur more debt.

Anonymous said...

When I find myself at a spa resort (paid for my company), I'm always happily suprised to see how many of the patrons are regular, middle-class Americans. Nice vacations are a huge priority for many people, who may earnestly save all year (or all decade) for a $2000 cruise. Disney World costs at least $200 a day, but you'll find plenty of blue collar families there. And easy credit makes it possible for most Americans (not just the top 5 or 10 percent) to enjoy the ocassional fancy hotel stay.

Anonymous said...

Like you I also take issue with the notion of "deserving" special things. People have had it drilled into their heads by the whole buying culture that you work hard and you deserve a rest and you deserve fine things. You aren't living a worse life than anyone else, and if you were living a worse life, your idea of luxury would cost a lot less but you would get more enjoyment out of it. When your everyday life is luxurious compared to other people's, Car Insurance-2421322I don't think you get as much enjoyment out of a treat because it is only a little bit better than your regular life.

iportion said...

Something’s I find are worth the expense and others not. You might want to bring plastic bottle and fill it with hotel water. Bottled water is mostly filtered tap.

Though having a pedicure might be worth it.

cheapstreet said...

What is a luxury?

We've all heard stories such as that Ivana Trump 'needing' to support her lifestyle...needing millions of poor Donald's money to 'live a lifestyle she's become accustomed too...'

An economist (I don't know who) has said, that "if everyone is driving a Mercedes and you are driving a Toyota, you are poor"

Luxury, wealth, poverty...to a certain extent are states of mind...

Wanda said...

I think it's important to be grateful for what you do have, but there's no point in beating yourself up for enjoying nice things. There's no harm in indulging once in a while, especially in experiences (as opposed to "stuff").

hazygrey said...

I've occasionally used the "I deserve it" justification. But usually it's more of a balance mechanism - like when I have to work 12 hour days including Saturdays and Sundays and "I deserve" a nice meal out and a nice drink instead of heated leftovers. It's not saying that I don't normally deserve it or that other people don't deserve it, but to stop feeling guilty about the splurge.

But anyway, I wouldn't feel I "deserve" something I can't afford though.