Today’s economic wasteland has unsurprisingly managed to support the very rich. However, unlike the olden days, when being deep-pocketed wasn’t quite as loathed and the rich could spend lavishly and freely in daylight in the open plain, lately they’ve taken to shopping in hidden enclaves. Secret underground shopping parties that take place in hotel suites, private showrooms, or rich people’s abodes are proliferating so the species can shop without feeling — perish the thought — embarrassed about their money. Eve Goldberg, owner of diamond dealer William Goldberg, just opened one such secret salon. “People are saying: ‘It’s that time of year; I want to buy something, but I feel a little weird,’” she told the New York Times. “Often they tell me, ‘I don’t want to be out there making an announcement with a big bag that says Harry Winston.’”
Not only are they avoiding public shame by purchasing, according to the Times, crewelwork pashminas and pavé-diamond pet collars only among each other, these rich people are also having fun doing so. Consumer psychologist Eric Spangenberg calls these secret spending parties “the high-end equivalent of a Tupperware party.” Secret-shopping-party organizer Joan Horton notes the rich people enjoy “the camaraderie and social experience.” They get an even bigger kick out of the whole thing when organizers donate a portion of the proceeds to charity.
The rich must be quite ashamed of their innate need to spend lots of money, because attendees of these underground shopping fests didn’t even give quotes to the Times. But naturally, a few of them had no problem posing for pictures for the story while shopping.