Hey Big Spender

“The minute you walked in the joint, I could see you were a man of distinction, A real big spender, Good looking, so refined. Say, wouldn’t you like to know what’s going on in my mind?”

“Hey Big Spender” (Music written by Cy Coleman and lyrics by Dorothy Fields) is one of those songs that just about everyone knows. Since its debut in 1967 on Shirley Bassey’s album “And We Were Lovers,” the song has been rerecorded by countless artists, from Queen to The Supremes.

Of course, it’s never been as applicable before as it is today.

Remember when I told you a couple of weeks ago that consumer debt had exploded to £1 trillion in Britain? Well recent data show that a large part of this debt is a result of spending sprees on clothing and fine dining…

Now get this:

A restaurant in London’s Knightsbridge district called Zuma has just added the quintessential “big spender” item to its menu: The Wagyu beef burger. This burger, made from imported New Zealand Wagyu beef, costs a whopping £55. That’s about US$100.

The restaurant’s manager explains the exorbitant price as follows: “This is a legitimate price for an excellent product. Wagyu beef is reckoned to be the best in the world…”

And, if you’re not into red meat, check this out:

Kai restaurant, in London’s Mayfair district, is now serving a new soup for only £108 a bowl. If you want a taste, keep in mind that the abalone, shark’s fin, and sea cucumber concoction has to be ordered five days in advance.

These high-end restaurants are appearing all over the UK. Patrons of these establishments say the food quality and presentation is worth the price, but many socialites also admit that ordering these pricey entrées is more about the status than the sustenance.

“Wouldn’t you like to know what’s going on in my mind?”

I’ll tell you!

To impress friends and colleagues alike, people in the UK (and America, and Canada, and everywhere else) are buying up brand-name shoes, shirts, and now soup. It’s all about the show.

What this tells me is that people’s lives are so empty that they’re trying to earn points in their social circles by spending money they don’t have on disposable items. Unemployed? Go shopping. Ill? Go out for drinks. Depressed? Buy a car. Lonely? Have a Wagyu burger…

Talk about advertising gone wrong. No wonder there’s a huge problem with consumer debt.

Let me be the first to tell you “big spenders” out there that there’s nothing glamorous about racking up compound interest on a £108 bowl of soup… Next time you want to show your status off to your friends, pay cash–or order a glass of water. Trust me. These days, that’s impressive enough.