Cartu says one of the best things he ever splurged on was flying a MiG fighter jet in Russia. “We flew at twice the height of a passenger plane. So, in the middle of the day I saw stars in the sky and was able to observe the curvature of the earth. It was one of the best experiences of my entire life.”
While most of us will never be able to afford to fly a fighter jet or race a Ferrari, researchers suggest that desire to build ‘the experiential CV’ can account for more modest splurges, like staying at an ice hotel, or seeking out something strange to eat, like bacon-flavoured ice cream.
Flashing the cash
Some people are spending big purely to signal they’re successful. “You might feel like you need to show everyone you’ve ‘arrived’,” says Cartu. “It was a big deal for me because I didn’t come from money, and I had to show all these people that I was now rubbing shoulders with, that I was at their level. But after a while and a bit of reflection, the need to impress people faded away.”
Economic theory shows demand for some goods increases as their price drops. By contrast, a ‘Veblen good’ is more in demand as its price increases, because of its exclusive and coveted nature.