Scatter My Ass Over Costco
I recently watched a documentary (what else do I have to do?) entitled Scatter My Ashes Over Bergdorf Goodman. It was late at night when I noticed it on Prime so at first I thought it read scatter my ass over Bergdorf Goodman, which really peaked my curiosity, but I digress.
The place has a fascinating history and supposedly a cartoonist from The New Yorker magazine had coined the phrase years ago.
I began to watch, and of course the store is amazing. Wall to wall materialism all wrapped up in the heady air of if-you-have-to-ask-the-price-you-shouldn’t-be-here.
Quality is king because apparently founder Herman Bergdorf was a tailor so he fixated on the workmanship of the garments allowed into the sacred halls of this palace of yummy, couture creations. The store sits atop the site of the Cornelius Vanderbilt II mansion on Fifth Avenue so perhaps wealth is already in the soil’s DNA.
BG buyers spoke of how they discovered and brought along designers until they were Bergdorf worthy and demanded exclusivity from those lucky enough to make the cut.
Personal shoppers spoke of anonymous clients too famous to mention, like we can’t guess, and of course since they work on commission it was revealed that someone working at Bergdorf could make as much as half a million dollars salary a year.
After seriously rethinking my career choices while inhaling two almond snickers bars, I continued my journey through this capital of couture. It wasn’t so much the fact the store was filled with beautiful and expensive merchandise; it was their method of display.
Even the windows had risen to an art form. I must admit I was more taken with many of the objects their artisans created for Bergdorf’s windows than the Marcel Duchamp’s Urinal Fountain sculpture, so there’s that.
Now begs the question, what qualifies something to be expensive? In real estate it’s of course location location location, but even that changes. Bet you could get a hellava deal right now on a New York condo.
Is it merely the way something is presented that catches the eye of the lover of all things expensive and exotic?
Does Bergdorf have the formula for success that proves entering a world so beautifully appointed it stands to reason everything within must be coveted and desired?
If that’s true we must closely examine Costco.
They as Bergdorf have created their own brand in Kirkland, and like BG have searched for only the best to bestow their own label upon and allow within their hallowed, concrete walls. However, if quality is also measured by design than Costco has quite a way to go.
The whole warehouse ambiance doesn’t quite do it for me. Although it does give one a feeling the bargains stretch on forever.
On the opposite side of the equation, walking into Bergdorf’s one is immediately taken by the rich woods, marble and glass surroundings providing a luxurious atmosphere of wealth and privilege. Although one might surmise this was designed to scare off those whom may recognize the aroma of luxury, but can certainly not afford such opulence, the desire to mingle with money is indeed seductive. It’s Newport on steroids and offers familiarity to coveted customers.
However one story amused me about Mr. Goodman told by his grandson.
It seems a bag lady walked into the fur department one day and admired a coat.
Of course Mr. Goodman was polite but evasive when asked the price, thinking she was unable to afford such luxury.
Now we all know the ending to this one, she reached into her paper bags paid cash and bought the coat, teaching him a valuable lesson about not judging a book by its cover.
I was surprised he had not learned this earlier in his life since I was well aware of its truth early on. My grandparents, who dressed like bag people, once drove from Detroit to Miami in their new Cadillac with 100,000 dollars in my grandmother’s pocketbook to buy an apartment building on the beach. They didn’t trust banks.
Could one have easily mistaken them for the janitor and housekeeper? Absolutely, so this lesson came to me young.
Mr. Goodman’s naïveté aside it’s the policy of BG to be polite to all who enter the perfectly appointed surroundings and even if you are there to simply drool over that six-thousand dollar Bottega Veneta handbag, courtesy will be extended.
This respect isn’t a bad thing; in fact it’s actually very good. Since I’ve noticed that of late many Neiman Marcus sales people treat even those who walk about the store sporting Gucci as though they were the dirt under their Louboutins. Not hard to figure out why the bottom line has reached rock bottom in that retail scenario.
So I must ask myself, is it in the fantasy that the reality of value exists? And do we all crave a small slice of that high-class challah?
BG can no longer demand exclusivity as in the past when Halston was asked to leave when he aligned himself with, wait for it, J.C. Penney. Gasp and clutch the pearls.
If one claims to be the best, are they? Who should challenge a belief system backed up with such confidence? Not me I’ll tell you. Whatever gets you through the day, that’s my mantra.
Yes, if it’s true clothes make the man, it follows that ambiance makes the store.
When one declares, “Scatter my ashes over Bergdorf Goodman,” are they actually saying, “let me luxuriate forever in that air of refinement and sophistication?” I want to spend eternity with Fendi and Dior and can you throw a bit of Alexander McQueen and Prada into the mix? For many there is of course some stability and comfort in knowing that lavish world still exists.
Beats the hell out of a desire to spend one’s eternity fighting off the Christmas rush at Walmart.
Still, I’ve decided that if I’m going to be doing time in some sort of eternal afterlife Costco would be the best choice.
After all, they’ve achieved a great business model, despite their whole cheesy warehouse cache. But on the upside there’s a bakery with a damn good apple pie, samples to munch on while I laze about unnoticed watching those still breathing, and of course if needed they offer a wide variety of underwear, shoes and giant screen televisions from which to choose.
“Hey lady, where did you get those samples of chocolate popcorn?”
No matter where you opt to spend your next foray into some sort of existence one consideration remains apparent if not a bit ironic; your ashes will be swept up a lot faster at Bergdorf Goodman than at Costco where ashes would only enhance the ambiance. So be like Indiana Jones and choose carefully or your whole afterlife could be really, really short.
Gold Dust Cupcakes
1 box yellow cake mix
Water, vegetable oil and eggs called for on cake mix box
2 containers chocolate frosting
1 tablespoon of edible gold luster dust
Heat oven to 350° F (325° F for dark or nonstick pans). Line 24 regular-size muffin cups with gold metallic paper baking cups. Make and bake cupcakes as directed on box. Cool cupcakes completely before frosting.
Transfer frosting to large decorating bag fitted with a star tip. Pipe frosting onto cooled cupcakes. Let cupcakes stand uncovered until frosting is set, about 2 hours. Gently touch-test frosting with fingertip-the outside should be dry to the touch. If frosting is still wet and smears, allow additional drying time.
When frosting is set, load small soft-bristle dry artist’s brush with gold luster dust. Gently brush over frosting portion of a cupcake until a gold sheen is achieved. Repeat with remaining cupcakes. A second coat of luster dust can be applied for intensified golden color.
Store cupcakes loosely covered with plastic wrap or in air-tight plastic cupcake-keeper.