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Quotes / Conspicuous Consumption

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    Anime and Manga 
"Now see to it that the swimming pool is filled with fresh milk upon my return. It does wonders for my complexion. ...Ah, I see we'll be taking the lavender jet today."
Zigfried von Schroeder, Yu-Gi-Oh!

    Fan Works 
He checked his multi-faced watch and scowled. It was all very well and good that it cost the average Ministry worker's salary for a year, but what did that matter when he could hardly even read the bloody thing?


    Film — Live-Action 

If something's for sale, consider it sold
I got so much gold, I gold plate my gold!
I even got a guy to gold plate my cat
(I don't regret much, but I do regret that)
If I could start over I'd do it all the same
But I wouldn't gold plate little Twinkles again
—"Let's Talk About Me", Tex Richman, (The Muppets)

Jewish people driving German cars
Jewish people driving German cars
Jewy people buying German cars
What the
cock is that shit?
—"I Love You More", Sarah Silverman (Jesus Is Magic)

Jupiter: How can someone own a planet?
Kalique: It's just a planet... there are far more valuable things.

I eat filet mignon seven times a day,
My bathtub's filled with Perrier,
What can I say?
This is the life!
I buy a dozen cars when I'm in the mood,
I hire somebody to chew my food,
I'm an upwardly mobile dude,
This is the life!
—"This Is The Life", "Weird Al" Yankovic, (Johnny Dangerously)

"Think I saw this house on Lifestyles of the Rich and Shameless."
Martin Riggs, Lethal Weapon (1987)


For average working folks, America was becoming a puzzle. Who was buying all these two-hundred-dollar copper saucepans, anyway? And how was everyone paying for these BMWs? Were people shrewd or just stupefyingly irresponsible?
Daniel Suarez, Daemon

Am I right in suggesting that ordinary life is a mean between these extremes, that the noble man devotes his material wealth to lofty ends, the advancement of science, or art, or some such true ideal; and that the base man does the opposite by concentrating all his abilities on the amassing of wealth? Exactly; that is the real distinction between the artist and the bourgeois, or, if you prefer it, between the gentleman and the cad.
Aleister Crowley, Moonchild

The [palace] doors shut grandly behind us. Everything here needs that extra weight. There isn't a single gesture that isn't laced with self-importance.

    Live-Action TV 

"My SHOES cost more than your HOUSE!"

Lex: It's the Luthor ancestral home, or so my father claims. He had it shipped over from Scotland, stone by stone.
Clark: Yeah, the trucks rolled through town for weeks, but no one ever moved in.
Lex: My father had no intention of living here. He's never even stepped through the front door.
Clark: Then why he'd ship it over?
Lex: Because he could.
Smallville, "Pilot"

"For the first time in American history, it's considered a good thing to flaunt your success, right? Let people know how rich you are. God bless Ronald Reagan."


Money, it's a gas
Grab that cash with both hands and make a stash
New car, caviar, four star daydream
Think I'll buy me a football team
—"Money", Pink Floyd

That's that: 'Come here, please buy more'
What you want a Bentley, fur coat and diamond chain?
All you blacks want all the same things'
—"New Slaves", Kanye West

They be like, 'Oh, that Gucci — that's hella tight!'
I'm like, 'Yo... that's fifty dollars for a T-shirt'
Limited edition, let's do some simple addition
Fifty dollars for a T-shirt, that's just some ignorant bitch
I call that getting swindled and pimped
I call that getting tricked by a business
—"Thrift Shop", Macklemore

I'm living out in LA
I drive a sports car just to prove
I'm a real big baller
Cause I made a millon dollars
And I spend it on girls on shoes
—"I Took A Pill In Ibiza", Mike Posner

I bought a twelve room house, a mountain lodge,
A lemon-yellow Cadillac in a blue garage
I'm a-breaking my back putting up a front for you

I bought an aeroplane, it's just for kicks
Holds twice as many passengers as a DC-6
I'm a-breaking my back putting up a front for you
—"Breaking My Back Putting Up a Front for you", Desi Arnaz

    Stand-Up Comedy 

"I love money. I love everything about it. I bought some pretty good stuff. Got me a $300 pair of socks. Got a fur sink. An electric dog polisher. A gasoline powered turtleneck sweater. And, of course, I bought some dumb stuff, too."
Steve Martin



I'd build a big tall house with rooms by the dozen
Right in the middle of the town
A fine tin roof with real wooden floors below
There would be one long staircase just going up,
And one even longer coming down,
And one more leading nowhere, just for show!
Fiddler on the Roof, "If I Were a Rich Man"

    Video Games 

One of only 10 ever made, the Z-Type is a car you can really enjoy sitting in, surrounded by army guards, too terrified to actually drive it anywhere.
— description of the Z-Type coupé, Grand Theft Auto V

"Hey, buddy - ah, these pretzels suck - how's your day been, buddy? We haven’t really talked much since I left you for dead! Hey, you think you’ll freeze to death out there? Nah, probably not. The bandits’ll get you first. My day? It's been pretty good. Just bought a pony made of diamonds, because I’m rich. So, you know. That’s cool. 'Kay bye!"
Handsome Jack, Borderlands 2

"I wonder if dictators have that whole one-up thing that neighbours have with each other, like, do they have this “keeping up with the Joneses” for the one percent of sociopaths? Like, did Pagan see that gigantic statue of himself, did he buy that just because Kim Jong-Un has a statue of himself like that? Maybe he also said the same thing, like “Aw man, Kim Jong-Un has a golden toilet, I need a golden toilet, I mean I have to shit in a golden bowl. I have to. I mean look at what Kim Jong-Un has.” Life must be so different for the evil subset of the one percent. Hm..."

"Body in a bathtub? The only time I've ever woken up in a bathtub was when I made the Sultan of Brunei fill a bathtub with diamonds. I wouldn't recommend it - diamonds are harder than rock salt and they have a way of finding their way into all sorts of cavities. I was nervous in airports for the next 6 months."
Kirsten Geary, The Secret World

    Web Animation 

"What The Sims is is a consumerist middle class fantasy about walling yourself off from the real world and reducing all measurement of human development and personal success to one's possessions, your dragon's hoard of crass suburban decadence. And in that game of Top Trumps, the swimming pool is a kingly crown!"

Paulo Dybala: OK, everybody out! The arcade is closed for a private party.[...]
Giovanni Reyna: What are you doing here? I thought you didn't even like arcades.
Dybala: Well, we like spending money, and the day rate on this place is ridiculous.
Alphonso Davies: It's a flex.

"Everyone says [Manchester City] keep winning because we have the money to buy any player we want. But we also buy players that we don't want... because we can!"
Pep Guardiola, The Champions

    Web Original 

Supposedly, a sooth-sayer of Tiberius's said "Caligula has about as much chance of becoming emperor as he does of riding a horse across the Bay of Pigs." Caligula clearly got wind of this as he designed a floating bridge, connecting the province of Baiae to the neighbouring port of Puteoli and road his horse Incitatus across it wearing the armour of Alexander the Great which you have to admit is pretty cool. It nearly crashed the economy however.

Rich people, drop another panda heart into your helicopter's dog kennel and let's get ready to shop! Poor people, this seems like a good time to warn you that I'm in a helicopter, hunting you.

Together, we might just make it possible for Richard Branson to finally land on Europa and finger bang a model.

Paltrow spent most of 2011 performing on awards shows (mostly so people could be like, "OMG! I didn't know she could sing! And now I do! I don't know what else to do with this information!"), pushing shit on Goop that no one except Gwyneth Paltrow would buy, and unleashing her awful cookbook upon the world, a book that included such amazingly vapid sentences as "We've got a wood-burning pizza oven in the garden—a luxury, I know, but it's one of the best investments I've ever made." Is it any wonder we all loved watching her die in Contagion?
Drew Magary, "The 25 Least I fluential People of 2011"

Matt Yglesias publishes article trumpeting Vertu, a maker of a $6,000 luxury android phone. He gets a raft of shit. Responds by posting a photograph he took on vacation in Hanoi of a couple having their wedding photo taken near a Vertu sign. Claims it means $6,000 smart phones are aspirational.

Martha Stewart got a drone for her birthday last year ('in Maine,' she notes, Martha Stewart-ishly) and it turns out she just can't get enough droning. In a TIME op-ed titled 'Why I Love My Drone,' she explains why: Because it makes it way easier to craft a marzipan Peter Rabbit cake that's an exact replica of her farm. <—-ACTUAL REASON.
Lindy West, "Martha Stewart Has Her Own Drone And She Fucking Loves It"

An HDTV without an HD signal is like a pair of glasses without lenses. Yeah, you can probably still see stuff, but who wants to see through a smear of peanut butter over their eyes when there are better options readily available? People would rather use HD screens as decorative accents. They're status symbols. They're the new version of an animal's stuffed head mounted on a wall.

    Web Video 

"It wasn't that long ago that I was living in a little Lamborghini, sleepin' on bookshelves in the Hollywood Hills, with only forty-seven billion dollars in my bank account, and only forty-seven Lamborghinis in my Lamborghini account, and only forty-seven Hills in my Hollywood account."

"...And they say 'Can we sit on the bed?' and I say 'Sure, but these are expensive Japanese linen.' and they say 'But they're not even soft!' and I say... 'Sometimes... things that are expensive... are worse.'"

"...eating this pizza, I feel like a Bond villain. I want to eat this in my Volcano Lair."
Andrew on the gold-dusted $2000 pizza, Buzzfeed Worth It


    Real Life 

In this book, dating from 1899, Veblen discovers and defines the leisure class, whose strange duty is to spend money significantly. So, they live in a neighborhood, because it is said that this neighborhood is the most expensive. Liebermann or Picasso fixed large sums [for their paintings], not because they were greedy, but to not disappoint the buyers whose purpose was to show that they could afford a cloth bearing their signature. According to Veblen, the golf boom is due to the fact that it requires a lot of ground.... If a manager does not have time for conspicuous waste, his wife or their children do so for him, so that periodic changes of fashion provide liveries.
Jorge Luis Borges prologue of Thorstein Veblen's Theory Of The Leisure Class (The reader can find more about this book at Conspicuous Consumption, Real Life).

“It’s insulting to say that I spent $30,000 on wine. Because it was far more. By the way, it was not $3 million to shoot Hunter into the fucking sky. It was $5 million.”

I’m sure that Nicolas Cage is pfft-ing at that one, because I bet he spent $15 million on sending the ashes of a 13th century Scottish prince to space where a drone scattered them on the moon.
Michael K., "Johnny Depp Is Living That Opulent Wine Hobo Life"

"Because I can."
David A. Siegel, on building a scale replica of Versailles for himself

"They had to stop exporting it because they were cutting down the rainforest, or whatever."
Jackie Siegel on importing Brazilian mahogany for her home construction

"I don't think people went around saying to themselves: 'I need to have a 10,000 square foot house.' We weren't exposed to things we didn't have in the same way kids these days are. There was not that window into the lifestyles of the rich and famous. Kids weren't monitoring every day what Kim Kardashian was wearing, or where Kanye West was going on vacation, and thinking that somehow that was the mark of success."
Barack Obama on the American Dream, old vs. new

It's a funny thing about Americans, we love to bitch about paying too much for the things we really need and are really a bargain, like gas and postage stamps, but we willingly shell out outrageous amounts for unnecessary crap like gourmet coffee and soap to make your crotch smell good.

"On clubbers: They were all photographing themselves. In fact, that's all they seemed to be doing. Standing around in expensive clothes, snapping away with phones and cameras. One pose after another, as though they needed to prove their own existence, right there, in the moment. Crucially, this seemed to be the reason they were there in the first place. There was very little dancing. Just pouting and flashbulbs."


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