Right before heading out the door to work on New Year's Eve day, I sat at my desk perusing the morning news on the internet. There were the various local events, and the nostalgic pieces focusing on the important moments of 2013, but at the top of the page was an article about Guy Fieri's restaurant in Times Square:
"Guy Fieri's Restaurant Charging $795 For NYE Dinner"
"Can you believe the nerve of this guy?" was the tone of the article. The story went on to list what was included for the price (which was meant to make you huff and puff and shake your head) and stated what was even more offensive was that the tickets had already sold out. Not only was the price ridiculous, but there were actually idiots out there willing to pay it! HA! Can you believe it?!!
But then down in the comment field, buried under knee-jerk responses and vitriol galore, was one calm, collected, level-headed line of complete sense:
"Different strokes for different folks. I wouldn't pay that, but I don't see where it's my place to tell people what they should and shouldn't do with their money."
I sat there and said to myself: "How logical."
I have my own views about what a whisky company should or shouldn't charge for a bottle, but ultimately there's little I can do other than recommend something else to customers if they ask for my opinion. I'm not going to walk around the store belittling the choices of consumers because they're buying brand names or fancy booze. If we were to only sell products that never went up in price and were guaranteed to rise only at the correct rate of inflation, I'd be out of a job fast. On top of that, I'd be going against the wishes of the majority of our customers. 90% of K&L shoppers don't read whisky blogs and they don't care what you or I think about fair pricing. There are plenty of people who email me every day asking when we'll get the new Brora, the new Port Ellen, and all the fancy new Diageo releases--even at the doubled, tripled, and quadrupled prices. These people aren't dumb. Much like the people who paid $795 for a ticket to Guy Fieri's dinner, they don't need to be told that these prices are expensive. They know it and they're fine with it.
What do you think would happen if a bunch of women went into a Chanel store and started telling customers that $5000 was a ridiculous price to pay for a handbag? Nothing. What would happen if you walked onto a Masarati dealership and started telling the prospective buyers that they would be better off spending their money on a Prius, a mortgage payment, and a year's worth of groceries? They would give you a funny look, probably have you escorted off the lot, and go on about their business. People spending large sums of money on booze don't need to be told that these bottles might cost more than they did a few years ago. They do not care. They also don't care about what you would or wouldn't spend their money on. AND.....they're not just a bunch of brainless idiots with money to blow. There are just as many people out there who think guys like me--who spend around $60 to $100 on a bottle of whisky--are out of our minds blowing that kind of cash on liquid.
It's all relative. We all have the choice to spend money on what's important to us. As the one wise commenter said concerning Guy Fieri's dinner in Times Square: I don't see where it's my place to tell people what they should and shouldn't do with their money. Especially when they never asked me in the first place.