According to a new marketing analysis paper by Bain & Co. tracing guilt patterns associated with luxury shopping, the recession isn't limited to financial effects. Turns out, those lucky few who can still afford to buy ridiculously expensive stuff aren't, because this nasty recession is making them feel horrible about it. So retailers are trying to trick them into buying again.
In fact, "luxury shame" is being identified as the most significant obstacle to the retail market's recovery. Apparently, neurological tests have determined that, despite the ability to buy a $1,000 bag, the rich suffer from a snowballing mental process that paralyzes them from flaunting their luxury purchases in fear of being judged, and, we suppose, hated by the rest of the (broke) population.
That "let them eat cake" concept has always been superficially deigned, but now is the time in which the upper classes might actually fear a trip to the guillotine for such flagrant behavior. It remains up for debate whether those fears are legitimate in any way, but it makes sense.
So, retailers are taking an equally unsavory response to the problem. Pop-up stores help ambush consumers purposely avoiding certain thoroughfares by sticking the stuff elsewhere, while slapping a charity cause onto certain luxury items (not fraudelently, of course, but perhaps motivated by other things than, well, charity) is another little trick.
To each his own, but it's just the other side of the materialism coin, when people's personal style is based not on their own instinct or preference, but what others will think of them.