The rich are SO different from you and me

For those of you who still don’t believe the rich inhabit a different world, from you and me, let me try to persuade you with a list of some of the things that Tyco former chief executive officer L. Dennis Kozlowski had the company buy him.

For starts, there was the $17,000 traveling toilet box.  Now, I’m not even sure what this is.  Is it a toilette box for women’s skin care products?  Or is it really a travelling toilet box? Perhaps they bought this for him to use at long board meetings so he would not have to mingle with the common folk in the executive wash room.  I hesitate to think they bought it for his dog in case of a sudden dearth of trees in their travels. I can’t quite imagine any self-respecting dog using a toilet box.

But then, this dog apparently owned a $15,000 dog umbrella stand.  I only hope my dog doesn’t find out about this. He has long had pretensions way beyond my abilities to provide for them.  But even he probably never thought that someone would blow $15,000 for a dog umbrella stand.  Heck, her doesn’t even own an umbrella to stand in it. And we don’t need to be putting any ideas into his head.

Continuing on, there was the $5,960 for two sets of bed sheets and $6000 shower curtains that decorated his bathroom.  One can only hope the curtains never got moldy and the sheets never got stained considering the replacement cost.  Of course, if you are going to spend $12,000 on your bedroom and bath, you don’t want your clothes to feel slighted, So there was the $2900 set of coat hangers. For $2900, those hangers would have to walk up to my coats, introduce themselves and offer them a free ride back to the closet. Anything short of that and I’d feel cheated.

Do you get the feeling that these people are not shopping in the Martha Stewart section of K-Mart for matching bathroom and bedroom accessories?  In fact, I have to wonder what store they are shopping in.  I have never seen any place offering these items at these prices. So I’ve got to figure there is a secret place, like Diagon Alley in Harry Potter, where only rich people are allowed to shop.

But the purchase I loved the most was the one that I know for a fact caused my grandmother, my dearly departed nonna, to rise up from her grave and shake her wooden spoon in the air in a mighty Italian rage.  This was the purchase of a $6300 sewing kit complemented by a $445 pincushion.  For that much money, as a relative of mine recently pointed out, you could buy an entire Third World sweat shop complete with workers willing to sew their fingers off for you. And you’d be helping their economy.

Of course, Mr. Kozlowski was not paying for these things himself. His company was buying them for him.  And that makes me realize that I clearly spent my life working for the wrong employers.  While I did get the occasional trip for a meeting and a turkey dinner at Thanksgiving, no one ever offered to buy anything for my dog.  Nor did my employer apparently feel obligated to take care of my sewing and bathing needs. 

In fact, I can remember during my days with Indian Health Service in Barrow that it wasn’t unusual for a memo to be sent to staff telling them to return all the pens they accidentally put in their pockets when they left work because we were running out of the right color pen for specific entries.  IHS was very particular that certain chart entries be in certain colors. If the green or red pens were all missing, you were literally paralyzed in your ability to complete your paper work.  One doctor in particular, who shall remain nameless but still practices in this town, used to bring back grosses of pens that mysteriously migrated to his apartment.  Luckily, he has his own practice now so he can probably take home as many pens as he’d like.

As for me, I will never again feel bad about the fact that I would occasionally rip off the Jell-O from the tray of a patient too comatose to enjoy its wriggly delights.  And I will make darn sure any golden parachutes in my future include directions to the stores with the $6000 sheets and shower curtains.