By Darren Smith, Weekend Contributor
While I consider myself to be more of libertarian and believe individuals should be able to spend their money as they please, no matter how foolishly, there are times where conspicuous consumption is so insulting and demeaning to those who have little it can only be described as a bit immoral.
I read a review by Robert Frank of CNBC of a restaurant that serves a Five Thousand Dollar Hamburger created by Chef Hubert Keller’s “Fleur” restaurant at the Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas. The articles author claims the burger was “absolutely worth it.”
Obviously, I don’t doubt the quality or the hype–reportedly twenty-eight of these burgers have been reportedly sold so far–congratulations to them for being such a good business model and their windfall but what is the social cost to this level of arrogant consumption given that ordinary people must work to pay for basics.
The ingredients of this oxymoronic ‘exquisite hamburger’ include the following:
- Wagyu beef ($100 a pound)
- Prime foie gras ($45 a pound)
- Sliced black truffles ($1,500 a pound)
- 1995 Petrus ($5,000 per bottle)
The bottle is an accompaniment to, as Jules from the film “Pulp Fiction” says, as “your tasty beverage to wash it down.”
The experience of the Fleur Burger 5000 is described by Mr. Frank as:
With wine in hand, I lifted the earthy, oozing Fleur burger to my mouth and took my first bite. And for the first time ever on “Secret Lives of the Super Rich,” I was completely at a loss for words. My exact quote, on camera, was, “Oh! Wow. Oh. My. God.”
And there it is. A five thousand dollar experience digested to one paragraph.
The penultimate line in the article, “Would I pay $5,000 for a Fleur burger? Absolutely — if I were a billionaire.”
For curiosity purposes I sorted a spreadsheet of mine to determine the cost of our food consumption over the course of a year. The food expense for my household, comprising three adults, was $7,295.94 or $2,431.98 per person. For the cost of this one meal in question, my wife and I could have eaten for a year. Once a month, my church serves dinner for the needy. We provide dinner for around one hundred fifty persons for less than two dollars each. (food is donated)
That is the problem my friends. Even if one was fortunate enough to acquire a billion dollars in net worth you have to ask yourself if it is a higher calling to subsist on four figure dinners or to consume food of a higher standard, yet forgo the arrogance and accept that you are rare in situation. But for those that choose otherwise, spare us the tokenism and hypocrisy of self-promoting a regal lifestyle but professing the façade of “caring for the little people” by tweeting how you are a champion for social justice.
Again I say that a person should be free live a lifestyle of their choosing, but have at least a modicum of understanding of others.
Still, if a fleur type burger is something you must have. I might suggest Buddy LaFleur’s restaurant in Wenatchee, Washington. A Buddy Burger with a Lime Rickey is my recommendation–if you want a tasty burger for five hundred times less.
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