Not long ago, the rich abandoned shopping for luxury goods because they didn't want to seem flashy in the terrible economy, when average- and low-income folk were struggling to pay for anything at all. It was like losing five pounds: You don't really need to, but it would be nice. But now that they've put in a couple of years of good behavior — you know, laying off the $800 Louboutins, denying themselves the $1,300 Crème de la Mer skin cream — they're ready to buy that Yves St. Laurent bag in two colors, and get on the waiting list for a $9,000, sequined Chanel tweed coat. So much for all that self-restraint: They've yo-yoed so far in the other direction that stores are even able to jack up prices on many items by a couple hundred bucks. The rich just think the higher the price tag, the more worth it the item must be.
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