Fancy dinner. Spin-off on “modern manners” .

My post about dicussing prices and costs caused a discussion that I found very interesting. I want to thank those who shared their opinions in the comments! I’ve thought a lot about the subject, and remembered a dinner I was at a couple of years ago.

I can’t remember exactly what the main dish was, other than that it was some sort of meat with potatoes. But I do remember that it was very “special” – at least according to the hosts. As we were eating, they wouldn’t stop talking about how they went to this special meat store downtown, and not the usual grocery store. There they had gotten the “day’s special”. And since they go there pretty often to buy premium meat, they got a special price. But that doesn’t mean that it was cheap, far from it. The hosts said that of course meat like this costs a lot, but they think it’s worth it. They said that it’s better to buy a little less of something really good at a specialized store than a lot of what you’ll get at the grocery store. The potatoes were also top class – fresh, organic and local.
As the evening went on they started pointing out different things in their apartment and applied the same philosophy on them. I learned that their plates and cutlery were really expensive (the cutlery was pure silver!), but that it felt good to have something that not everyone else also has. They talked about how exclusive the chairs we were sitting on were, how influential the designer was and how often she appeared in different lifestyle magazines.

I’m not against luxury goods or of the opinion that a cheap fork is just as good as an expensive one. It’s essential for the free market that companies can differentiate their products and services by their own unique mix of quality and price, among other elements. Often I’m happy with something mass-produced and less expensive, but sometimes I prefer to have the luxury option, which performs the same job but gives me that “special” feeling that the host couple was talking about.
I just don’t like to talking about it too much.

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6 Responses to Fancy dinner. Spin-off on “modern manners” .

  1. Karen says:

    Gah, I hate it when hosts do that. It’s a bit sad really: look at our expensive plates, at our expensive food, at our quality furniture. Seriously? Who are they trying to impress? If they’re you’re friends you supposedly already like them…

  2. mn says:

    It’s a bit sad for hosts to steer the focus constantly to how much better what they have is compared to other things. Frankly, if it’s their decision to buy luxury goods because they enjoy it- fine. But pointing it our, at a dinner party they are hosting no less, reeks of them trying to get a feeling of worthiness from trying to impress guests.
    I remember a saying I heard once, common people talk about mundane things, intelligent people talk about ideas. As hosts, talking about how much was spent on the evening is worse than common, it’s vulgar.

    • mn says:

      I want to clarify ‘intelligent’ meaning that it is more beneficial to everyone to use our brain power, especially in a social setting where everyone has a different background, to speak about things that will be an improvement to society/culture rather than focus on what is going on in an individuals’ life – the power of the collective is greater than that of an individual- why not use it as a forum for a useful exchange of ideas rather than focusing on $ spent on their belongings.

  3. Nina says:

    When a person does that, it really makes me think that some great insecurities lie behind that talk. Like they don’t have anything else to talk about themselves, or they feel powerful through expensive things. It makes me quite sad actually. I know we all want the best of the best for ourselves, but best doesn’t always have to be the priciest. I try to keep away from these kind of talks. My grandmother always said that a person talks like that because they are tactless and nouveau riche, I don’t think like that but this post reminded me of those words.

  4. NeenaJ says:

    Hilarious! What were your responses to these boasts? To the silver, “Are you sure you weren’t taken? I saw this same pattern at the Flatware-Mart just last week!” To the chairs, “Unfortunately, you didn’t pay for comfort.” LOL! Of course, if they were friends, you wouldn’t want to embarrass them.

    Maybe they were trying to “educate” their guests? Maybe they hoped you would boast of them to other friends, making the hosts seem even more important.

    But, in all honesty, I think people say things like that to justify their purchases. Because the truth is, you wouldn’t know if you were eating fancy potatoes or regular ones unless they told you so.

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