How European Pipe Carvers Dig their Own Graves

What do you do when you have lots of money? When you have more money than you need? When you don’t know what to do with your money?

You splurge.

You acquire stuff.

You go about buying collectibles and what you collect may include expensive wine (which you drink with 7-Up), red sport cars (which you use as a missile to kill people) and women (screw them and dump them.)

These nouveau-riche are on an acquisition trail. They buy everything.

Just like George Mallory when he was asked why he climbed Everest (“because it’s there”) these individuals with deep pockets buy all kinda shit because they’re there.

Even tobacco pipes are not exempt.

Meticulously carved briar pipes are now prized collectibles among these mainland Chinese nouveau-riche retards who visit pipe shows and buy up entire displays. Not one pipe, not two pipes but all the pipes on display.

Some aren’t even pipe smokers!

Some even offered to buy up the museum pieces in a particular pipe museum! Imagine that!

And some pipe carvers sensing a windfall sell at high prices. For many of these carvers, these are rare chances to make a killing so they sell. For some it’s their only chance.

They sell at exorbitant prices without knowing that in the long run they’re digging their own graves.

Genuine collectors like the rest of us, priced out of the market will look elsewhere – there are good carvers all over the world if you search hard enough – and nobody will go back to those carvers who now only sell to the nouveau-riche collectors.

Soon these collectors will move on to the next collectible – could be perfume bottles, could be back scratchers or shoe horns for all I fucking care – and those opportunistic carvers will find their source of income disappearing.

Very short-sighted.

In the end they lose everything because of short-term profiteering.

A report I read on September 25 indicates that these European carvers may get their comeuppance sooner than expected.

Luxury brands banking on a rebound in China may be in for an unpleasant surprise. Weak demand in one of the world’s largest luxury markets may last longer than the economic slowdown as Beijing cracks down on conspicuous consumption.

China today is sensitive to anything that raises suspicions of corruption, especially after the scandal involving the Communist Party official Bo Xilai and his wife, Gu Kailai, marred the once-a-decade transition of leadership taking place this year.

The government is set to impose a “frugal working style” rule on its civil servants, which goes into effect October 1, barring them from spending public money on lavish banquets or fancy cars, and from accepting expensive gifts.

Gifts are often offered in return for favors in China, where bribery is widespread. The culture of gift-giving has been a source of demand for the world’s top luxury brands.

Now the official line is: “Officials who possess luxury products should give convincing explanations on how they got them.”

Luxury brands were already struggling with a slowing economy and a bit of fatigue as Chinese shoppers have shunned flamboyance in favor of understated displays of wealth.

“There is definitely a general moving away from the bling and the gold taps. This is a permanent shift,” said Rupert Hoogewerf, founder and chairman of the Hurun Report, a luxury publishing house based in Shanghai that compiles a rich list for China.

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