Whole Lot of Money but Not Much Sense

Did you hear about that fan who spent more than $190,000 on a pair of old shoes worn by Michael Jordan in the 1984 Summer Olympics? I think it was a cry for help. “Someone help me! I have too much money and I don’t know what to do with it.”

Do you know what you can buy with $190,000? New shoes, for one thing. And a whole house to put them in. Or a really fancy car. Or a whole fleet of not-very-fancy cars exactly like mine, only brand new, without the scrape on the fender and the sticky stuff in the cup holders.

All this big spender has to show for his $190,000 is a pair of 33-year-old sneakers he can’t even wear unless he has really big feet.

Then there’s the Japanese billionaire, Yusaku Maezawa, who recently bought a painting by artist Jean-Michel Basquiat for $110 million. I don’t mean to take anything away from Mr. Basquiat. He was probably a fine artist, but he died in 1988, so he’ll never know his painting set a new auction record. Come on, Mr. Maezawa. Now you’re just showing off.

I read about a Russian billionaire named Vladimir Potanin, who in 2013, spent $95,000 on a single, four-pound white truffle. In other words, he dropped almost 100 grand for a mushroom. Granted, this truffle was no trifle. It was an extremely rare culinary delicacy that can only be found with the aid of trained dogs or pigs. Those pigs really bring home the bacon. Sorry.

Did you know you could replace your computer mouse with one that’s covered in crystals for just $34,000? Or your iPhone with one that’s been recreated using 24-carat gold, 26-carat black diamond and 600 precious stones for a mere $16 million. Actually make that 16,764,000. Once you get to $16 million, what’s another $764,000 or so?

In a related story—sort of—I read that one in five people drop their smart phone into the toilet at some point. If you’re going to drop your $16 million iPhone into the toilet, you might want to drop it into the 18-karat gold, fully-functional toilet at the Guggenheim Museum in Manhattan. Yes, they have one. And anyone is welcome to use it and, presumably, drop their phone into it.

If rich folks have anything in common with the rest of us, the wife of the Michael Jordan fan will probably toss those sweaty sneakers into the giveaway box when he’s not looking because they don’t fit him anyway. And the Russian billionaire’s mother-in-law will find the white truffle in the fridge, think it’s a rotten potato and toss it onto her compost pile. And the children of the person who paid $115,000 for a lock of Elvis Presley’s hair will find it after he dies, and not knowing who Elvis Presley was, toss it directly into his $10,000 gold-leaf trash can. Yes, there really is such a thing. It’s what you buy when you have a whole lot of money and not much sense.