“Luxury”, ah now there’s a word we need to use less and less these days. God be with the days when a man could enjoy a little luxury on a business class trip from Dublin to LA. For those of you unfamiliar with such things, that’s the part where you board a plane and turn left instead of right. Right brought you in to cramped, proletarian quarters. If you turned left you were immediately swarmed by a bevy of hostesses (and it was always hostesses!) looking to take your coat, ply you with champagne and see you comfortably ensconced in a huge leather seat with enough leg room for a basketball player.

Then there was the luxurious surroundings and pleasure of staying in a five star hotel. You know the type, the one where your heart has palpitations when you first look at the menu prices until you remember that everything was on company expenses. After that little shock you soon settled in to enjoying the luxury to the nth degree. Alas, both of these experiences were afforded to me while working with a great company several years ago. Strangely, that company no longer exists. Seems they ran in to financial difficulties. I wonder why?

Of course there are lesser, ostentatious levels of luxury to be enjoyed. There is the luxury of the four ply, toilet tissue with a hint of camomile freshness. And if you think there’s no such thing as luxury toilet tissue, you weren’t brought up suffering Granny Lizzie’s shiny, one ply grease proof toilet paper. Sweet Devine, using it made your eyes water. If you think I am exaggerating, go to the kitchen and cut yourself a few small squares of grease proof paper and apply accordingly. Then you’ll understand why even the morning paper was considered by me to be luxurious compared to Lizzie’s tortuous solution. So a four ply, camomile infused tissue is sheer luxury, lad.

Now, what brought me on to the topic of luxury – you may well ask? What has set me off was a recent visit to a shop in Galway. There displayed before me was huge collection of Christmas cards. Across the top of this impressive display was a banner announcing: “Try our luxury Christmas Cards”. Now, I once had a similar encounter while travelling to Boston airport in the back of taxi. At the side of the highway was a huge billboard (as they call it there) inviting people to apply for a well known credit card brand. And if you did apply you would be given – wait for it, “A luxury PIN number”.

My question is this: how, in Heaven’s name, can Christmas cards and PIN numbers be classified as “luxury”? What marketeer got paid a fortune to come up with that ingenious idea? What moron company was stupid enough to be sold on buying the idea? And do they honestly believe that the buying public is so stupid as to fall for that ploy? Stick the word luxury on it and the dim public will buy them. Pretty pathetic marketing, I would venture to say.

Then of course, if the said Christmas cards were actually made from recycled (hopefully, unused!) four ply, camomile infused toilet tissue there might indeed be a case to be made for using the word luxury to describe them. After all, once Christmas was over, they could be carefully redeployed in the smallest room in the house. I bet they would still be better than Granny Lizzie’s shiny, one ply grease proof toilet paper. Oh, the horror!

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