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#70 - Personal Chefs

#70 - Personal Chefs

Personal Chefs
Price: Saving the gratuity

If you are like most people, you know that dinner can be as simple as boiling water, opening a box of macaroni, adding milk and butter then mixing orange powder to creamy perfection. At worst, choosing fancy ketchup is as complicated as any meal gets. Sadly, rich people do not have the luxury of simple meals. They must choose a restaurant that is posh, exclusive and on the cusp of becoming trendy. While menus are often ignored, it is important that the restaurant be well-stocked with obscure ingredients so the chef can begrudgingly whip up their wealthy patron’s fanciful whim. All this is complicated by choosing the right car from the fleet in the garage and deciding whether the chauffeur will accompany them. If this sounds like a nightmare, you are not alone and it is the reason that 4 out of 5 rich people recommend retaining a personal chef at their estate.

If you have watched Hell’s Kitchen you already know that ego and incredible kitchen skills go hand-in-hand. It may be a surprise to learn that personal chefs are a special breed of culinary genius; they are talented and patient. Without these key ingredients the chef is as useful to the rich as a mistress with herpes. Fortunately, while money can’t buy happiness it can help choose one’s misery and there are plenty of suitable ginsu masters ready to create mouthwatering menus. They endeavor to provide the wealthy with the nourishment needed to lounge poolside and inform their broker about how to do his job.

Of course, just because rich people have a personal chef is no reason for David Chang and his staff at Momofuku Ko to press the panic button. Rich people will still dine out but knowing that they don’t have to is a paradigm shift. Now, when the hostess at Masa or I Sodi informs that there is a three week wait the wealthy can set aside andger and resentment, casually accept the reservation and enjoy homemade coniglio in padella in the comforts of their quaint 7,000 square foot residence in the Hamptons thanks to their chef’s outstanding talents. Just be sure that the only sampling going on in the kitchen is related to the meal! It would be a shame to have to choose between one’s spouse and one’s chef…good help can be so hard to find. Bon appétit!

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#69 - Butlers

#69 - Butlers

Butlers
Price: Tolerating Fake British Accents

Most people will never understand the trials and tribulations that rich people cope with daily. While country mansions, yachts, wine cellars, exotic cars and private islands sound appealing to most, it is easy to forget that not having a job means plenty of free time which “simply must be managed, darling”. Whether this is lunch at the club, high tea, shopping or attending galas for the latest cause, it is nearly impossible for one person to shoulder that much planning without the specialized training that an eight week butler course offers. In exchange for this extensive and specialized training, butlers are offered a six-figure salary and the opportunity to live where they work by way of a room in the vast estate. Often this is augmented by keys to the wine cellar and the head of the household looking the other way when Jeeves smuggles a full bodied cabernet back to his lonely living quarters.

Butlers’ duties do extend beyond scheduling the lives of their wealthy employers. In fact, the breadth of skills they display is impressive and may include cooking, cleaning, chauffeuring, valet services, secretarial work, event planning and personal shopping. While these qualities are important, the real reason that rich people love having a butler is because it is akin to achieving a Cub Scout badge for self-importance. A butler illustrates to friends, family and acquaintances that a rich person’s time is so valuable that nearly every household and personal task is beneath them. Hired help thus frees their time to focus on “high value” tasks like testing martinis at lunch or having their hair professionally blow-dried at ten o’clock each morning.

The question you should be asking yourself is how does this help you to make friends with rich people? As Yogi Berra once said, “when you come to a fork in the road, take it”; get to know a butler or become a butler! Kissing up to the butler is an art but when performed correctly you will secure social invitations to stately soirees. Becoming a butler is more time intensive but may lead to ingratiation and a lifelong association with the family; think Alfred and Bruce Wayne, Smithers and Veronica Lodge or Geoffrey and the Fresh Prince of Belair. Over time these gentlemen became as important to the family as Lassie was to Timmy. Be warned, as the butler you can never forget your place in the household as wearing a white tie to dinner rather than the hired help black will certainly mean ending your tenure with your tail between your legs but at least you will finally know when to use the small fork!

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#68 - Mounting Animals

#68 - Mounting Animals

Mounting Animals
Price: Losing Vegan Friends

Rich people love to mount animals. Please dislodge your mind from the gutter, if you gasped know that taxidermy is alive and well. Hunting has always been a favorite pastime of the wealthy and as long as there are automatic weapons, ammunition and animals obliviously wandering their natural habitat, they will be shot, stuffed and hung on a wall of similarly ferocious beasts. Back when Captain Caveman, the Flintstones and a young Larry King first roamed the earth, hunting was a necessary and effective means to feed the tribe. Centuries later it evolved into feeding one’s ego. For the rich, a room full of hunting trophies is a sign that a man’s man is among you. In such a setting, the scent of rich leather, mahogany and testosterone is intended to impress the toughest of men and seduce the most virtuous of young vixens.

At the turn of the nineteenth century, these public displays of masculinity may have been enough to bring a young woman to her knees but today woman are more likely to hold a membership in Greenpeace than be green with envy over these feats of manhood. Nonetheless, lions and tigers and bears (oh my) continue to adorn the walnut paneled walls of estates the world over. The simple explanation, the rich are oblivious to shifting social norms and as such believe that donning a pith helmet to tag and bag a rhinoceros is all in a good day’s fun. Furthermore, their hunting junkets are a form of financial aid intended to prop up the local gin and tonic trade and keep the natives from getting restless.

Your distaste for this archaic tradition could still help you to score big. Social gatherings can prove the perfect arena to outwit your host, the cagey hunter. Examine your surroundings and determine if there is division in the crowd. If you are lucky, a beautiful heiress is in your midst looking for a distraction from the cookie cutter guests. The trophy room can act as the ideal conversation starter to distinguish you from the “yes men” attentively listening to epic tales about Serengeti safaris. Mentioning that a skilled taxidermist can make a squirrel look threatening to the young gazelle could prove the difference between an evening among old men with pipes and a romantic tour of her well-manicured garden. That said, do not let your guard down in this setting, you never know when a cougar is in your midst…pad, pad, pounce and it is lights out!

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#66 - Nannies

#66 - Nannies

Nannies
Price: Bribing INS

“Hola”, “kamusta” and occasionally “Reespek mon” are important foreign phrases that every rich person knows. While foreign languages used by the rich tend to be more highbrow than the native tongues of Mexico, The Philippines and Jamaica respectively, the wealthy like to communicate with the nanny no matter how long she has been in the country. This isn’t to suggest that the nanny doesn’t speak English only that rich people will not learn this until their child’s third birthday. At this point house guests will be informed that young Chauncey Alistair Williams IV taught his nanny to speak American, he’s quite gifted after all. From this point onward, they will speak to the nanny in loud, slow English while nodding their head excessively to ensure that she understands what they say.

Occasionally you may encounter a middle class family with a nanny. These people are hypochondriacs and cannot fathom socializing their children in medical cesspools known as daycare; these people aren’t rich, they are crazy. To ensure that you know the difference between rich and crazy, look for two things. First, the middle class use a nanny as needed but rich people will have the nanny follow them everywhere and perform menial parental tasks like raising the child. These include feeding, changing diapers and holding the sleeping infant; nothing is more soothing to a trust fund baby than the sound of their nanny’s beating heart. If you still aren’t sure, ask the parent if they considered raising the child without a nanny. Rich people will instantly develop a look of horror and distaste similar to asking a WWII veteran if he would like to test drive a Volkswagen or share a slice of strudel.

Despite all the benefits of having a nanny, including being socially acceptable absentee parents, there are dangers in bringing a young female into the home. A young girl provides ample temptation for wandering-eyed husbands. Nannies represent a youthful, maternal figure that Freud could have written volumes about. As such, the help should be segregated to a wing of the estate not easily accessed by a philandering husband to ensure that rich people do not literally love the nanny. On the other hand, the man of the house should be wary if his wife agrees to an unusually well-proportioned Swedish au pair. This is a warning sign of entrapment and he should be on the lookout for sharks from top divorce firms. The safe money is on a Mary Poppins look alike. She will get the job done without going above and beyond the call of duty. This should ensure that the husband doesn’t try to feed the birds, if you know what I mean!

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#64 - Prescription Drugs

#64 - Prescription Drugs

Prescription Drugs
Price: A Trip to Rehab

The lives of rich people can be very difficult. Suppose the maid needs a day off or the nanny wants to take the long weekend to see family and friends, what then? The trials and tribulations that disrupt wealthy lives is a long and distinguished list; choosing spas, hiring pool boys, all night parties, dressing for charity galas, and choosing the perfect pair of shoes come to mind. Fortunately there is a cure for all that life can throw at the rich, prescription drugs! 

When rich people tell you about the problems they face, it is your duty to pretend to empathize, ask how they cope and in most circles suggest that your doctor can help. This will win you major points as you have legitimized their habit and it gives them the opportunity to showcase a deep knowledge of pharmaceuticals and their grasp of the social scene. Like everything in wealthy circles, the ebb and flow of fashion plays an important role in choosing the right prescription cocktail. God forbid that they get caught swallowing the same “pick-me-up” that leads to Lindsay Lohan’s next indiscretion!

While rich people don’t approve of illicit drug use, cocaine exempted, they do believe there is a time and place for drugs backed with a doctor’s signature, even if they have to go to a podiatrist to get it. The time is whenever life’s crises arise and the place is the bathroom of any private or public establishment. These medical marvels can be relied on to get any trust fund baby to a pillowed, blissful dreamscape and often play a role in making people interesting. Never forget that there is a dark side to prescription drugs. The best rehab clinics have wait lists so the wealthy must skillfully plan their addictions lest they end up bunking with Andy Dick in Sleepy Hollow rather than tanning with Mary Kate Olsen in an exclusive Malibu resort, ahem, clinic. In the meantime, read two articles at Stuff Rich People Love and call me in the morning.

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