August 29, 2007

These People Are Completely Insane (Part II)

LOYAL RANT READERS know I am not much of an outdoors person. This is because the wild contains all sorts of things I would rather avoid, such as angry woodland creatures, mosquitoes, non-potable water, mosquitoes, rather nasty diseases and mosquitoes. Still, even I about choked on my Diet Cherry Coke when I read this wretched story about upscale "camping" trips from the Los Angeles Times:

GREENOUGH, Mont. -- When 6-year-old Ethan Bondick told his mom and dad he wanted to go fly-fishing in Montana, his well-heeled parents were stumped.

"We looked at each other and said, 'Oh, God, now what?' " said Gigi Bondick, 37, of Massachusetts.

"We're just not the camping kind of people. We don't pitch tents. We don't cook outdoors. We don't share a bathroom. It's just not going to happen," she said. "This is a kid who has never flown anything but first class or stayed anywhere other than a Four Seasons."

After typing "luxury" into a Google search along with "camping" and "Montana," the couple settled on The Resort at Paws Up, a 37,000-acre getaway in the heart of Big Sky country. It's a place for affluent travelers who want to enjoy the outdoors but can't fathom using a smelly outhouse.

The Bondicks, who live in a sprawling home outside Boston and hire a personal chef at home, shelled out $595 a night, plus an additional $110 per person per day for food.

It's a hefty price to sleep in a tent, but the perks include a camp butler to build their fire, a maid to crank up the heated down comforter at nightfall and a cook to whip up bison rib-eye for dinner and French toast topped with huckleberries for breakfast.

The number of visits to U.S. national parks is declining, but "glamping," or glamorous camping, is on the rise in North America after gaining popularity among wealthy travelers in Africa and England, where luxury tents come with Persian rugs and electricity to power blow dryers.

I suppose my thoughts on this can be summed up as follows: these people are completely insane.

I mean, I don't know about you, but when I was growing up, my brother and I Most Certainly Did Not get to decide where the Kepple family went on vacation. We went where Mr and Mrs Kepple decided we were going, and that was that. True, the vacations were all extremely enjoyable, and we went to some pretty cool places, but that does not take away from the point that the kids were not in charge. Furthermore, the idea the kids would be in charge would have sent my parents into hysterics. (In fact, I think it still does*).

So the fact the Bondicks -- who would be from Massachusetts -- actually spent precious vacation time on a faux-camping trip at their son's direction leaves me -- I don't know, a bit stunned. It shouldn't, I know, because these people clearly have more money than sense. I mean, the fact the mother is actually named Gigi -- oh dear -- is telling enough in that regard, but the fact they went camping even though they're not camping people is just weird.

Besides, if you're actually going to go camping, you may as well rough it and teach the boy a bit about the joys of material sacrifice, self-discipline and wanton suffering. For a boy, these are good things to learn, because they will help him adapt to the uncaring, cruel and unpleasant world that awaits him. As amazing as it may seem to many people these days, the real world requires that one develop these types of survival skills or one will be ground into the dust. So they may as well start teaching the kid now. Then, they could move on to more advanced lessons in survival, such as flying coach. It would suck at first, but before too long the kid would get excited at the little joys in life, such as when they serve the red snack box. (Yay red snack box!)

Of course, I should note that I don't begrudge the parents any of their expenditures. They're adults, after all, and it's their money. If they want a cook (that's the old name for a "personal chef") and weekly maid service and all that fun stuff, then that's their business. If they want to spend $900 a night on a camping trip that's not really a camping trip, that's their business. In fact, generally speaking, I like it when the rich spend a great deal of money on overpriced things. That spending boosts the economy, which boosts the stock market, which boosts my bottom line. I approve of things that boost my bottom line. So I encourage the rich to spend. Come on, spend. I'm not getting any younger here and I've only got 29 years, five months and change before I retire. Chop chop!

However, while I approve of adults spending on a profligate basis, I don't see why they extend that to their young children. At the rate the Bondicks are going, before they know it their boy will announce that he's skipping college and heading off to Europe backpacking. (Quelle horreur!) It doesn't help the kid become self-sufficient and it doesn't help him learn that he's going to have to work to earn his keep. Once that lesson gets lost in the shuffle, the specter of downward mobility can't be far behind.

(via The Bitch Girls)
* As evidenced by the fact my father still refuses to let me buy he and Mom dinner.

Posted by Benjamin Kepple at August 29, 2007 08:41 PM | TrackBack
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