See that quaint little house to the left? Looks like a simple, cozy home, right? Wrong. It's an overpriced playhouse for children of the rich and not-so-famous.
Today's New York Times treats readers to an eyeful of ostentatious, sickeningly expensive playhouses in a feature on the front of its Home section. Prices for the featured items range from $50,000 to $248,000 -- for a playhouse. Please tell me I'm not the only one who felt my stomach turn at the sound of that.
It's no secret that the Times -- and many of its readers -- are out of touch with what real people do, think, buy, although they assume they know us like the back of their hand. Today's story is just one more example of the great divide that separates the Times from most of America.
Here's a snippet from the story:
Built in the same Cape Cod style as the Schillers’ expansive main house, the two-story 170-square-foot playhouse has vaulted ceilings that rise from five to eight feet tall, furnishings scaled down to two-thirds of normal size, hardwood floors and a faux fireplace with a fanciful mosaic mantel.
The little stainless-steel sink in the kitchen has running water, and the matching stainless-steel mini fridge and freezer are stocked with juice boxes and Popsicles. Upstairs is a sitting area with a child-size sofa and chairs for watching DVDs on the 32-inch flat-screen TV. The windows, which all open, have screens to keep out mosquitoes, and there are begonias in the window boxes. And, of course, the playhouse is air-conditioned. This is Texas, after all.
“I think of it as bling for the yard,” said Ms. Schiller, 40.
Some people might consider it “obnoxious” for a child to have a playhouse that costs more and has more amenities than some real houses, she conceded. But she sees it as an extension of the family home. “My daughter loves it,” she said. “And it’s certainly a conversation piece.”
Oh, well, her daughter loves it AND it's a conversation piece. Now it totally seems worth the cost. When I want "bling" for my yard I pick up a bird feeder at Lowe's. Even then, I'm loathe to part with what seems like an exorbitant price ($25) for something unnecessary.
In a world where people are losing their real homes, many of which do not have media rooms or mosaic mantels, it's telling that some can -- and would -- spend this kind of money on a child's play thing. It's like a microcosm of our society in general, isn't it? Nothing is too good for us, or our children. Especially our children. No matter that other people's children have no homes, no clothes, no food.
Maybe next week's Home section could venture out into the real world, where people do not, cannot, would not spend $248,000 on a playhouse (even if they could afford it), or $4,700 on a chair (even if it's one of only two made by a famous designer). Clearly no one at the Times has ever watched a child spend more time playing with a cardboard box than the present that came in it.