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Tighten Those Belts

by Stephen Lautens


March 29, 2002

Apparently North America's super-wealthy are just like you and me. It seems like this economic downturn is biting them like the rest of us ordinary Joes.

The place it's the most obvious is on those "Top 100 Wealthiest People" lists. Some of the people who were billionaires just last year will apparently have to content themselves with just being multi-millionaires now.

You've got to feel sorry for them, with only two or three hundred million between them and the poor house. They'll have to learn to economize if they expect to make what they have left last through the recession.

Here's how you'll know when it really gets tough:

  • They'll be seen in the grocery store buying "Caviar Helper."

  • You'll find them on their hands and knees on the floor of their Rolls Royce looking around for loose change to put in the parking meter.

  • They will be forced to buy an indifferent year of Chateau Latour (probably the '87).

  • The men will be reduced to keeping one forty-two year old mistress instead of two twenty-one year olds.

  • No more thousand dollar tips to pretty waitresses. From now on they'll have to be content with 15% on the amount of the food bill before tax.

  • Their daughters will have to live with last year's nose.

  • They'll sneak their own snacks into the movies.

  • They'll have to change the name of the yacht from the "Stinkin' Rich" to the "Comfortably Well Off".

  • They'll also have to stop christening boats with champagne. From now on they'll have to throw a cardboard box of wine at the side.

  • They'll start seriously collecting "Club Z" points.

  • The maid is going to actually have to do some cleaning, rather than just running around the house in those little outfits.

  • They'll have to rent their racehorses out on weekends to give rides at children's birthday parties.

  • They'll have to dig up the helicopter pad at the cottage and plant vegetables in its place.

  • The older multi-millionaires will have to see the movies on Tuesday afternoons when they can get the seniors' discount.

  • They'll have to buy two-ply toilet paper instead of using fine Irish linen.

  • The dogs will have to get used to eating stewing beef instead of sirloin.

  • Instead of $100 bills, they'll start lighting cigars with tens.

  • Unable to afford their own subscriptions, they'll have to read newspapers at their Club and magazines at their broker's office.

  • They'll always say no when the guy at the counter at McDonalds asks if they want to "supersize" it.

  • They will no longer be able to buy politicians, but will have to time-share them.

  • From now on, when European nobility drops by for lunch they'll have to bring the potato salad.

  • When anyone asks, the Lear Jet is always "in the shop".

  • They'll have to stop buying premium gas for the Bentley.

  • Instead of a cruise around the world, they'll have to settle for a day trip to the Buffalo outlet malls.

  • Two words: Leftover pheasant.

You see? Anyone can get used to living on a budget.

© Stephen Lautens 2002

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