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From Goop to Oprah, This Year’s Gift Guides Could Signal the End of the World

The last time Salon cracked down on deals listed among Oprah’s Favorite Things or Goop’s Wackiest Christmas Gift Guide items was in 2019, so two holiday seasons would be the first time that a stranger casually suggested to me that the world was ending.

These things are not unrelated, because the person who deduced this was a waiter who was already advising me to order the pasta carbonara. His prediction of the apocalypse was delivered without desperation or even humor, but rather in the casual “smoke ’em if you got ’em” tone of someone who is well past the creepy stage of accepting an impending vape .

And you know what? It worked. The pasta was delicious and I have no regrets.

Subsequently, I was reminded of the impending collapse of society on several occasions, often by friends and relatives, but always in the context of commerce. Where “you only live once” was the pre-COVID, pre-January guilt-cleansing mantra. 6, and before all the other anxieties that have arisen since these horrors assailed us, the new map of reasons to eat dessert first might be a version of “the end is near.”

That’s the only way I can explain why I looked through every celebrity’s current advice columns on conspicuous consumption and, to my surprise, found some articles that, in 2023, seem . . . a reasonable price, comparatively speaking.

Reader, I’m not in the same income hemisphere as any of these women or, let’s be real, as the people who organize these fa-la-la-la-la flexes. There are vibrators in Gwyneth Paltrow’s vacation suggestion extravaganza that are worth more than 10 times the Blue Book value of my 20-year-old car.

And yet, when I looked at the price of $396 for 11 pounds of Parmigiano Reggiano “from Valserena Soladibruna, the oldest dairy in Parma,” I found myself thinking: I would hit that. After all, the only reason I drive a jalopy made during the George W. Bush presidency is so I can more easily pay for my food. Why can’t some of these groceries be absurdly priced every, oh, once in a lifetime? Not to mention that 11 pounds of parm will make a whole pizza as society collapses.

After the easing of pandemic lockdown measures, there has been a post-COVID luxury spending frenzy. But since then, inflation has pushed many shinier items out of reach for most of us, whether everyday or high-end. Perhaps that’s why this year’s Goop list, and many of Oprah’s favorites for 2023, feature relatively reasonable absurd items in the double- and triple-digit range.

Passable versions of items from Goop’s holiday collection can be obtained at a normal store for normal people near you.

This includes Paltrow’s always good for a laugh “Ridiculous but Awesome Gift Guide,” where one can find the aforementioned $15,000 lady buzzer as well as the opportunity to purchase a gift. Backgammon set at $14,580; a chance to share your life with a traditional Heng gong for $2,000; or a chance to own a pair of $2,250 limited-edition skis featuring a design “honoring the iconoclastic spirit of Jean-Michel Basquiat,” the manufacturer says.

In other words, everything you need for a relaxing getaway to the Park City resort of your choice where, if you’re lucky, you might bump into the founder of Goop on the slopes.

This listing is where the cheese sits not alone, but alongside a 53-piece bar cart worth $10,000. And it’s not even the cheapest ridiculous deal — that honor belongs to Asi Wind’s magic show ticket deal which, according to Goop, starts at $120. Counterpoint: what’s in it for you?

Perhaps that’s why the fun we once had in previous Goop vacation guides isn’t as present in 2023.

Earlier versions peddled markers of exclusivity that were impractical, sometimes confusing and often hilariously vulgar. This time around, a lot of things seem basic and overpriced. If humanity is indeed heading towards last call, at least give us something crazier to grab hold of than a $48 dishcloth.

OK, sure, there are those $5,125 Chanel skates, but do they also give you reflexology treatment while you wear them?

We’re kidding. . . somewhat. It’s nice that Goop is generously throwing cake at citizens, among other things, by featuring interesting nonprofits like Women’s Health Access Matters, the Brooklyn Library’s Books Unbanned initiative, and The Ocean Cleanup. Feel free to pair the latter with renting an island in Fiji for $39,500 a night – with a three-night minimum to prove you’re not a total barbarian.

Oprah’s list of favorite things predates Goop, which means its creators better align with consumer sentiment — that is, they understand that we feel broke these days. these days, not to mention our emotional defeat given the destabilizing wars in the Middle East and Ukraine. .

A $999 countertop pizza oven is about as wacky as the influencer gets — and would go great with that parmesan wedge — although Oprah’s hat for a $600 drip coffee maker also makes a reasonable attempt Those of us who aren’t rich, but might like to feel rich, one sip or bite at a time.

If there’s less comedy in Oprah’s list – nothing beats the $45 jar of air she managed to sell in 2017 – it’s because many of her items come from small businesses , with a focus on companies owned by people of color. women and veterans.

Most of the items on the 112-item list cost less than $100 and serve a proletarian need instead of signaling a patrician signal. Things that ring above that threshold reflect, for the most part, our post-pandemic, pre-Ragnarok desire for stylish comfort, like wide-legged pajama pants you can wear to the market without arousing suspicion that your f**ks matters. is overdrawn.

In comparison, passable versions of items from Goop’s holiday collection that might have had a glimmer of rarity in the past can be had, albeit by more traditional manufacturers, at a normal store for normal people near them. YOU.

Namely, these Regalis Black Summer Truffles come at a decent price, $30, but how is Goop-y a jarred item you can buy at Costco? The list has plenty of masks, creams, and scrubs, just like the bins at a TJ Maxx or Marshall’s in one of your city’s hip neighborhoods or suburbs. Don’t even get us started on the $220 “self-care towel set.”

But I understand why Goop is trying. As Reuters reported, this year many luxury brands have faced declining sales as rising inflation and economic uncertainty have led ambitious shoppers to curb their desire to continue purchasing their products. products.

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High fashion brands have withdrawn from the sneaker and streetwear market to redouble their efforts to attract more affluent customers. People like my brother who desperately needs to relax and to whom I could send a $17 bottle of “intestinal support” listed under the site’s gifts for travel enthusiasts.

Maybe this is all a good thing. (Don’t sue us, Martha.) Or maybe this means that Goop has so infected American culture that its holiday list is becoming, if not obsolescing, another catalog of garden varieties off price, although it offers a dog house designed for $1,925. by Hermes. But what does it matter if it feels like the end of the world?

Because, in case you missed it, a chime from what may or may not have been the horn of the archangel Gabriel cut through the noise a few days ago, signaling, ominous, that It’s time.

Or maybe I’m wrong, and what I heard was this:

Either way, order the expensive cheese and $30 pot of truffles. The end is near . . . even though it has been a while now.

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