Everyone wants to be rich, because when you're rich, you can afford luxurious things like moon mansions and Lobsterfest. Thing about being rich, though, is that it doesn't seem to come with an instruction book. So sometimes rich people fall into the same trap every other human on Earth falls into: They hop on the bandwagon of a dumb trendy thing. Except when they do it, it's way more expensive. And dumb. Dumbspensive.
Chickens are gaining popularity among rich folk not as pets, per se, but as swanky little egg factories they can keep in the yard as feathery status symbols. Some Silicon Valley millionaires are paying up to $350 per chicken.
It isn't all about quick access to eggs for these people, which you can get if you're within walking distance of a 7-11, generally speaking. It's a connection to nature for some, as these guys want huggable, resplendent, well-bred, diaper-wearing birds that their kids can play with. Birds that are going to produce majestic eggs in hues that Whole Foods wishes they could slap on a shelf for $30 a dozen. And at least one of these people is alleged to have a personal chef for their chickens, based solely around the logic that if you eat the egg of the chicken, you need to control what the chicken eats. You'll really be able to taste those artisanal grains after they become scrambled into a breakfast burrito.
That extravagant lifestyle for the poultry means the costs only go up after purchasing the already-expensive birds. High-tech coops are running upwards of $20,000. They're forged from mighty redwoods and feature solar panels and automatic doors, because why shouldn't a bird live in a nicer home than I do? One owner says the whole family watches the chickens together, and they call it "hillbilly TV." Ha! It's like being a poor!
The three-digit area code in your phone number probably never meant anything to you, because why would it? It's just part of the ten digits you'll panic and forget the moment any stern woman behind a counter asks you for it. But among a certain group of people, that area code means something, damn it, and what it means is that you're from the "good" part of town. Among this group, it's so shameful to have the wrong area code that they're spending upwards of $30,000 to get the right one.
Consider Manhattan, home to Muppets and Spider-Men and the unwieldy rich, if all the movies I've seen haven't lied to me. It's been ages since they ran out of numbers for the 212, which was the original area code for the city, and are maybe five codes past that now. But 212 is the iconic Manhattan area code, and it's the one tied to most established businesses and those who have roots in the city. So if you want to make like you're an original New Yorker, you're gonna need to put out.
A random number with your desired area code can set you back a couple hundred dollars, but the "perfect" number -- maybe one that spells LAWYER or HAMDICK -- can reach into the tens of thousands. Other companies have banks of phone numbers, and you can rent one and tell people it's your number, and it will just forward calls from the cool number to your busted-ass 646 on your Motorola fuckboy phone.
Why do it? To impress your stupid friends, of course! This Times article on the area code boom quotes one thirsty number badger about how jealous her friends were when she got a 212. Imagine how together your goddamn life has to be for that to be on the list of things you give a shit about. Like, you've got your retirement fund, your kid's education, and scoliosis squared away, so now it's getting your panties in a twist about Mrs. Abernathy's new area code.
What's your main beef with water right now? Tap water too full of chemicals? Bottled water not full of enough chemicals? All water in general too safe and unlike ditch runoff? Man, have we got a treat for you: "raw" water. For $37, you can get 2.5 gallons of maybe-it's-delicious-minerals-or-maybe-it's-hobo-piss water which no one even bothered to run a cloth over to try to filter out whatever the hell is lurking in it.
That could be straight up Cloverfield runoff, you don't know. But some people think it must be better because it hasn't been processed like tap or bottled water, and doesn't have any of that scurrilous fluoride that's been preventing cavities for so long (again, unless it does, because who know what's leached into that stuff). It's not like mankind evolved in a way to protect themselves from the bumbling dumbshit dangers of just putting whatever stupid thing you find in the forest in your mouth and hoping that you don't grow fungal antlers as a result. But whatever, screw science.
Here's a quote from a guy at a grocery store where they sell the water: "It has a vaguely mild sweetness, a nice smooth mouth feel, nothing that overwhelms the flavor profile." When was the last time you had a sip of water and recoiled in astonished terror as it overwhelmed your flavor profile? I know the English language pretty well, and I'm still trying to decode that sequence of words. Shit, you can get a big pack of Sam's Club water at Walmart for only $4, and that probably has no industrial or agricultural seepage inside of it. But maybe the thrill of raw water is like a Russian Roulette "will it or won't it liquefy my insides" deal. I don't know, I'm not rich.
So you've gotten bored with your chickens and decided that what you need is a bird with a little oomph. A bird that's all SCREEEEE!! and dive-bombing your enemies and shit. Basically a dragon from Game Of Thrones, but feathered and less likely to turn into a zombie menace. I'm talking about a goddamned falcon. And while falconry has been a hobby of people who are cool with a poop-covered wrist for millennia, the wealthy have discovered that they are great for racing. Or rather, they're great for telling other rich people that you race them.
A peregrine falcon in Britain is going to set you back $7,000 or more, and count yourself lucky for that, because in the Middle East, at least one bird was sold for $437,590. That's the kind of money people get murdered over in political thrillers. The sport is even televised in the UAE, with millions of dollars going into this, which inevitably caused it to snowball out into other countries. The UK had its first race in late 2017, a case of keeping up with the Joneses where the Joneses spend enough money to keep a thousand poor families fed for years on fast birds.
Obviously there's allure in a race with prize money over $1 million, except the rich people doing it say they don't do it for money, and if you're spending $400,000 on a bird that will usually lose, that's probably true. It's for the bragging rights of having the best bird -- something that will presumably impress other very rich, bored people on their giant boats. And with races that last less than 20 seconds, it's not like anyone is watching this for entertainment value.
Humans are constantly finding new ways to improve quackery. Remember HeadOn, which in the early 2000s made millions off of a commercial that just said "HeadOn, apply directly to the forehead!" about 15 times in a row without ever actually telling you what that might do for you, or what it even was? You know how many people applied that shit directly to the forehead? Point is, people pay a lot of money for bumblefuck pseudoscience, and rich people do it like champs.
Despite the fact that there is no evidence that suggests that a detox diet does anything great for you, the Mayr cure asks you to spend a week at a clinic (for $300 a night), where you dine on Epsom salts, lactose-free goat cheese, and water -- up to 600 delicious calories per day. While there, you chew your food 30 times per bite, eat nothing raw after 4 p.m., and use some laxatives and get a colon irrigation. Maybe cry by the lake. You can spend extra on things like singing bowl therapy for only $122, or muscle training with a man named Galileo. It says it right on their price list PDF. His name is Galileo.
Then there's Dracula therapy, made popular by Kim Kardashian. They call it "Dracula therapy" because your face ends up washed in blood like you just tried to headbutt a bunch of forks to death and didn't win. It's a bastardization of real platelet-rich plasma therapy, wherein a doctor removes some of your blood, separates it with a centrifuge, and injects some yellow serum back into, say, a sore joint in order to speed repair. Meanwhile, Dracula therapy, which can cost in the neighborhood of $1,000, is some straight bullshit in which they mix a vitamin cocktail and force that stuff into your face with many, many, many tiny needles, making you look as if you just washed your cheeks with steel wool.
And if Drac Face won't make you feel better, try cryotherapy, which is like the opposite of a sauna. You go into a small room and someone turns the temperature to -90 C, which you might recognize as somewhere around the right temperature to make your body shatter like the T-1000. Athletes started doing it, and then spas picked it up as a way to burn calories (likely from shivering like a goddamn chihuahua in a rain storm), improve skin, and make you feel better overall. Now it's all over the place, just a little pod cooled with liquid nitrogen that you enter for two or three minutes. Costs are in the $130 range, and remember, that's per two-or-three-minute session. All that to, as one person put it, "make your body think it's dying." Nice!
Look, if you can't get rich, tricking the rich into giving you their money in exchange for stupid bullshit is probably the next best thing.
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