One measure of a society's economic health is the quantity of useless luxury items it produces. At some point, the supply of goods has to exceed not only practical need, but also the wealthy classes' seemingly bottomless (but in fact finite) desire to consume conspicuously. Chatterbox feels that moment has arrived. Today's Wall Street Journal carries, in the back pages of its "Marketplace" section, an article by Sarah Ellison reporting that next month's issues of Vogue and Elle will advertise what is billed as the first perfume for dogs. Manufactured in France, "Oh My Dog!"--a mixture of rosewood, orange leaves, freesia, osmanthus, and vanilla--will be sold (for $38 per 100 milliliter bottle) at the women's perfume counters at Saks, the Bon Marché, and Printemps. (The scent is also written up on the Fashion Planet Web page, which further reports that Bo Derek will soon launch her own line of high-end doggie toiletries, including perfume.)
Readers are invited to submit examples of similar harbingers of worldwide economic depression (or, if your bent is political or religious, bloody revolution or punishment from a wrathful God) in the form of unusually decadent luxury items now on the market. Please submit nominations (along with some form of verification) to firstname.lastname@example.org. Chatterbox apologizes in advance to the Bush campaign for inciting class warfare.
To see the reader nominations, click here.
Illustration by Robert Neubecker.