A co-worker had a $250 bottle of wine recently and called it
“life changing.”

It’s fascinating how we assess value. I had one pair of Timberlands that I wore daily for ten years, so they wore clearly worth more than the $92 I paid for them. And my gazillion-ruble Tempur-Pedic bed is worth it.

I’d like to think I wouldn’t fall for the shoes bit. But damn.

6 Replies to “Palessi”

  1. Goddamned limbic system. We’re idiot apes, basically.

    I’m reminded of all the bourbon connoisseurs who swear Pappy Van Winkle is worth the rectum-clenching price tag. Make sure you’re sitting before you click this link.

  2. Confirmation bias is everywhere, and everyone is susceptible. I find it helpful to keep in mind that anyone, even (especially?) intelligent people, can be full of shit. They’ll blow a lot of hot air trying to convince themselves and you that their extravagant purchase was worth it. I’d prefer to hear, “yeah, it was too expensive, but it made me feel good, so fuck off.”

    The Pappy I’ve had was good, but nothing’s that good. The last time I had an opportunity (that I didn’t seek) to buy a bottle, it was $250. That was sometime between 2012 and 2015, and Pappy was fetching more than that even then. I didn’t buy it, becuase I’d never pay even $100. There’s just too much good bourbon out there for under $50. In retrospect, I should have bought it and put it away so I could now sell it to someone with more money than sense. But who knew how crazy things would get? I remember thinking back then that the bourbon bubble would soon burst. Boy was I wrong.

    There have been blind tastings of wine where people prefered cheaper wines to expensive “it” bottles. There was a blind tasting of ten bourbons, including Pappy. The Pappy didn’t even make the final cut. The winner was Maker’s 46, which is under $50, or was last time I bought a bottle. It’s tempting to look down our noses at someone buying Pappy, and I’m sure for many it’s just status-seeking. But anyone can think something tastes better when they know the price.

    Back in the 80’s, some audio magazine did a double-blind test of stereo amplifiers. Insanely expensive audiophile amplifiers (some tube, some solid state) were pitted against mid-priced ones as well as the cheap, mass-market Japanese receivers common at the time (and hated by audiophiles, many of whom now consider them “vintage” and love them). No one could consistently tell any of them apart, although they claimed to hear differences when they were told the brands. People absolutely lost their minds about that test. The tendency is always to shoot the messenger.

    Several years ago someone in Britain did a large double-blind test between 24 bit high resolution audio and standard 16 bit (CD quality). No one could get better than 50% accuracy. But when people were told the source, they either heard or claimed to hear a difference. We’re just wired that way.

    Monkeystador, I have no doubt that your co-worker was sincere about his $250 life-changing wine. But the real, non-hallucinatory life change occured in his wallet.

  3. I’ve had the coffee that is made from monkey shit. I didn’t think it was worth any great shakes. It’s better when you pick the peanuts out.

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