“Let me tell you about the very rich. They are different from you and me.” F. Scott Fitzgerald, from “Rich Boy,” in All the Sad Young Men.
As a writer, I read just about anything I get my hands on. Not just Fitzgerald, although his prose does make me swoon. I’ve read trade pubs, out-of-town newspapers and even the phonebook. That was a demographic thing; I wasn’t really all that bored.
A few days ago I started thumbing through a copy of Show Boats International. As the name would imply, it’s a magazine all about yachts and super yachts and mega yachts. Er, show boats.
And then I slowed down and started actually reading it. Not that the pictures alone weren’t worth my time. But, I started thinking about the fact that somewhere, someone owns each and every single one of these boats. Oh, sorry, yachts.
In one picture of one marina, there were more yachts than I could count. Granted, it was an advertisement for a super yacht rendezvous in Monaco, which took place a little before and after the Show Boat Design Awards.
Wondering what the folks with an embarrassingly large amount of disposable income look like, I went to the website to gawk at them during the gala awards ceremony, which took place at the Monaco Opera House.
The first thing I noticed is that they tend to be quite tan. And, well dressed. It was a gala, after all. But, other than the fact that they are even interested in the awards, and judging from the clips of the presentation, I’d say it was about as boring as an awards ceremony could get, unless of course you were personally hoping to win an award, these folks really didn’t look all that different from the people you’d see at your local Target store.
I’m sure they’re really just a bunch of down-to-earth bazillionaires who just happen to enjoy tooling around the globe on their own private, 250-foot yachts. To be fair, some of these 30,000 Euro toys are actually chartered out. Guess that helps with expenses and upkeep of the yacht for the wealthy who are merely zillionaires.
If you’re but a lowly millionaire with no yacht to call your own, you can charter one of these floating palaces. And, it’ll only set you back about 325,000 Euro a week, plus expenses, of course.
Who am I kidding? The people who own these show boats don’t even breathe the same air as you and I. And they sure as heck don’t shop at Target. No, I more imagine them sending the help to shop for them at only the most exclusive (read “over-priced”) establishments.
The wealthy can flip open the Nieman Marcus catalog and decide they just can’t live through the day unless they order a pair of lamps for $350 each. Or, maybe it’s a $595 suitcase they need to pack their designer duds to take to the yacht for that week in Monaco.
The ostentatious sums of money which are thrown around in one issue of Show Boats International is enough to make you wonder if the Great Recession was a hoax.
How can there be such financial trouble in the world when there are thousands of yachts floating around? I’m not just talking about your regular old, run-of-the-mill yachts either, but super- and mega-yachts. And as near as I can tell, they aren’t in foreclosure.
In fact, in just one issue of the magazine, there are roughly 200 sail and motor yachts for sale. All of these potential purchases cannot be for investment or write-off purposes alone. No, there are some seriously loaded people out there. And, all of them aren’t buying boats.
If it only takes $350,000 a year income to be part of the 1%, then I don’t think it’s too far of a leap to say these people are living in an even more rarefied status of being the financial crème de la crème as the .001% if they can throw around multiple millions for what amounts to a floating RV, albeit a sumptuous one.
As an advertisement for the brokerage boatinternational.com asks, “Is your yacht being seen in all the right places?”
Oh, Lovey, I do hope so. Gotta unload this pig so we can keep the jet. Flying commercial is just too déclassé to be endured. If worse comes to worst, there’s always a charter jet for the not-quite-fabulously wealthy.
Join me in a future post when I take a look at some of the yacht owners who have been profiled in the magazine.
Image from superyachts.com, via Google images.