RUSH: This story is from Morgantown, West Virginia, at the Wine Rack — it’s a wine store — ‘At The Wine Rack, where sales from the $10-and-under shelves are booming, Jocelyn Vorbach says aloud what most of her customers won’t: Friendships now have price tags, and dinner guests are gauged. ‘There are friends who get the $300 Caymus and there are friends who get the $10 bottle,’ Vorbach says. ‘They’re saying, ‘I like them, but I don’t like them THAT much.’ Even wealthier customers are stocking up on bargain bottles, though they tend to purchase by the case. ‘Before, they wouldn’t be caught dead with a $9.99 bottle in their presence,’ she says. ‘But now they will. As long as I tell them it’s a good one,” they’ll spend under ten bucks for a bottle of wine. So the upscale West Virginia population, the West Virginia rich, are really dialing it back, ladies and gentlemen, when it comes to buying wine and other things. ‘Consumers now may be considering things like clothing labels and coffee brands or cooking at home versus dining out. … When times are trying, the focus turns to value. The ‘status premium’ people are willing to pay shrinks, whether the product is a high-end lipstick or a gas-guzzling vehicle. ‘Great chunks of the middle class have the needs down pat, so it’s all shopping for emotion. Now, instead of trading up, we’re trading down. But we’re still trading. It’s not as if we all of a sudden went into voluntary simplicity.” This is a spokesman for the rich. James Twitchell, spokesman for the rich. Explaining what the rich are doing.
They’re still trading, they’re still buying, but they’re not buying designer labels, they’re not buying designer wine, they’re buying functional stuff. I am embarrassed. I am embarrassed by this. ‘Conventional wisdom suggests the rich are spared when the economy tanks. But that’s wrong, says marketing expert Pamela Danziger, who studies the consumption habits of Americans earning at least $75,000, about 32 million households. Those ‘comfortably off,’ with an average income of about $150,000, ‘really do the lifting when it comes to consumer goods,’ she says. ‘We’re talking about the people who shop at Nordstrom’s and Macy’s and Nieman’s [sic] and all the small specialty chains. And they feel a great lack of confidence, which is translating into significantly reduced spending.” and they’re going to different stores. Also within the report, ‘Affluent Americans say they will continue to travel, though within the US more often than overseas. They will take more short vacations, and businesses like cruise lines that trade in American currency could benefit.’
Okay, I guess even the rich are taking it on the chin. Well, they’re not taking it on the chin, they’re just dialing it back a little bit. Now, rich here is $150,000 or above. Snerdley, can you tell me what’s wrong with this story? The whole premise of this story is wrong and I want you to tell me what it is. You used to buy the $300 Caymus? I would love to be able to find a bottle of Caymus for $300, by the way. Maybe that’s a West Virginia price. (interruption) That’s right! Snerdley got it. People have always shopped for bargains. I don’t care who they are, it is a very few number of people who don’t care about the price. I mean, folks, some of the most hard-nosed negotiators on price are the people who would never notice the difference in the price that’s being asked and what they end up paying. It is a matter of principle. The more you make, the more sensitive you become to being ripped off, and you don’t want to be ripped off. The more you make, the more you learn that there’s an entire industry out there designed to separate you from your money. The more you make, the more you learn that there are people out there in business who don’t think you care what something costs because you’re so busy, you don’t have time to worry about such mundane things.
The people that earn a lot of money and have a lot of wealth are out there trying to make deals just like everybody else is trying to make deals. It’s just as silly as saying all of a sudden at Christmastime, consumers are bargain hunting, as though they never do the rest of the year. The whole premise of this is wrong. They’re just trying to create the notion that it’s so bad economically that even the people who normally don’t have to worry about the cost of things are worrying about the cost of things. Snerdley asked me if I have any nine-dollar wine. None that I have bought. I might have some that somebody gave me, but I don’t have any that I bought, any nine-dollar wine. But what have I got to do with this? You’re just trying to divert me here from the story. Folks, I’m telling you, this whole notion that whoever’s wealthy, and I don’t care what level of wealth you’re talking about. I know some billionaires, and these are some of the toughest negotiators when it comes to what things cost. I guess there are some, people in Palm Beach, probably, they couldn’t care what things cost, they just pay it and move on because they’ve got other things to do in the day. But there are a lot of people — (interruption) yes, Snerdley, that’s where I live.
I’m telling you, this idea that the rich don’t bargain hunt or that the wealthy don’t, it’s a matter of pride. Some of the biggest tightwads I know are some of the wealthiest people I know. And, frankly, it’s funny to watch. It is funny to watch. We were talking about the oil price, gas, I know some people who used to have — don’t any longer — used to have their own airplane. And let’s say they had to go to New York. They would scour around at all the available airports — this is long before the gas price, the oil price became what it is now — they would scour before they decided what airport they’re going to land at, where the jet fuel price was cheapest, and if it was a dime cheaper, they would fly 30 miles out of the way just to avoid being ripped off. The idea that people throughout the spectrum of affluence don’t care what things cost is absurd. So the point of this story is just so make it appear that the economy is so bad that even the wealthy are cringing and going cheap, which you ought to feel good about, because this is the whole point of liberal Democrat politics, to not improve the lives of the poor and the middle class, but to make the rich suffer, so here we got a story about the rich suffering. The Drive-Bys have outsmarted themselves. This ought to make people happy!