Perhaps my publisher should triple the price of my book

It is a sad fact that price seems to equate to pleasure in human beings.

Researchers at the California Institute of Technology recently studied a subject’s reaction to wine after being informed about the price of the bottle.

Of course, the researchers were not truthful about the price.

Two of the wines sampled were offered twice, once at an alleged low price and once at a much higher price. And the subjects consistently said they enjoyed what they thought were expensive wines more.

What’s more, a brain scan of the subjects indicated that although their taste centers registered the wines equally, the pleasure centers of their brains registered greater pleasure for the more expensive wine.

Certain aspects of humanity are disgusting, don’t you think?

But are all humans susceptible to this tendency? I can think of a bunch of people who I know who most certainly are, but I’d like to think that I’m enough of a contrarian and a minimalist to be immune to this much of this nonsense.

But probably not.  While I have no strong attachment to material possessions, I could see myself succumb to the illusion that a more expensive golf ball will fly farther or a more expensive club will allow me to strike the ball better.

I think I’m less susceptible than most, given my general distaste for materialism, but sadly, I’m also a little human.     

But you know who might be immune to this tendency?  My new hero.  

Rachael Ray.

I know.  You weren’t expecting that name.  Were you?

I got caught watching Rachael Ray’s daytime program for about two minutes the other day when I couldn’t find the remote control (my dog was sitting on it). She had a segment about the newest fashion trends, highlighting some fashion deals available in the marketplace today.

An odd-looking fellow named Cojo presented several pairs items from the world of lady's fashion.  In each pairing, one item was excessively expensive and one that was not.  At one point Cojo showed Rachael a Valentino purse and told her that it retailed for $895.

Rachael’s response:

That is stupid. I would never buy a bag that cost $800. My mother would kill me.

And you know what? I believed her.

Despite the wealth that she has likely accumulated, I really believe that she was disgusted at the price of the bag and would not purchase it.

I didn’t have much of an opinion on Rachael Ray before today. Even though it seems as if everyone in the world watches the Food Network (including my entire book club), I do not, so I have only experienced Rachael in bits and pieces, on commercials and on the occasional cooking show that Elysha might be watching.  And though the little bit that I’ve seen of her is sometimes annoying, I became Rachael Ray’s biggest fan today when she declared her opposition to these disgustingly inflated, image obsessed, status symbol prices.

Imagine what a delightful world it would be if every woman stood up and rejected the $1,200 sweater and the $400 pair of shoes like the great Rachael Ray…

And if every man stood up and declared a $800 watch or a $35 golf ball to be utter stupidity…

Probably not going to happen, huh?

But at least we know there’s something going on in the brain when someone pays $2,000 for a handbag.  I may still find this behavior disgusting and inane, but there’s a biologic component to the lunacy as well.   

Like a disease…

It also helps to explain the obscenity of objects like this.