Sigh, that’s not what they’re saying honey

So what if the poor buy avocados – everybody deserves a little luxury
Emma Brockes

How dehumanising it is when rich people tell those further down the economic food chain they shouldn’t have any small pleasures

What people are saying is two fold.

Firstly, it’s just the basic economic problem. Unlimited wants and scarce resources. So, if you want this over here then you cannot also have that over there.

No one is saying that treats shouldn’t be allowed. Only that choices must be made.

The secondary point is not all that many treats if I’ve got to pay for it too.

45 comments on “Sigh, that’s not what they’re saying honey

  1. “Avocado toast widens the criticism to a larger income bracket, but the principle is the same: you are where you are not for any structural reasons, but because you are a feckless individual.”

    If you’re spending your money on fripperies and bewailing the fact you can’t afford a mortgage, then what else could you possibly be?

  2. “So what if the poor buy avocados – everybody deserves a little luxury”…

    ….”If they can afford it”

    She missed the most important bit!

  3. I still remember my very first economics lesson: “Opportunity Cost”.
    For everything we choose to do, we are also choosing to not do everything else at that time.
    Mr Crowley (my economics teacher) was right when he said that everyone should be taught some economics – just grasping the concept of opportunity cost would be a good start!

  4. If you can grasp that, then add “incentives matter” then you’ve got most of microeconomics right there.

  5. I can appreciate why the boomer generation, for instance, can be irritating bores about this sort of thing. I sometimes hear myself talking, sounding more like my father than my father.

  6. “The mean apartment price in New York City is $1.4m. The median household income is $50,000. There’s an awful lot of toast in that shortfall.”

    What a lovely paragraph- comparing median with mean to genrate a big ratio from a meaningless comparion, and then summing it all up with a slogan.

  7. Avocados are obviously the fruit of the devil. Horrible, pasty, oily, nasty things.

    I’ve very happy if poor people eat all of them.

  8. Disapproving of one pretentious indulgence is not the same as demanding no small pleasures.

    Logic is not the strong point of the Left.

  9. Avocados are two for £1 at my local supermarket, and up to 5 for £1 at the market (if you go at the end of the day). It’s not what you’d choose if you were living on benefits, but it’s hardly expensive either.

    “Avocado toast” means eating out, socialising, building those informal networks. Time was when people would invite each other round to their homes for dinner and/or drinks. This is less popular these days because (a) your poky flat in the arse end of zone 3 has no dining area and is shared with five strangers of questionable sanitary habits, and (b) you can actually afford to eat & drink out from time to time.

  10. I don’t want to read articles like that from the same type of people who bemoan that the poor are forced to use food banks.

  11. It’s almost as if everyone has their own preferences and priorities isn’t it, as opposed to the one-size fits none of socialism.

    — “This war by the rich against the small pleasures of the poor…”

    A war which exists only in Emma’s head. Monopoly’s Mr Moneybags is forever chiding her about her avocado habit. And don’t get him started on M&S ready meals.

    I’m not a psychiatrist Emma, but I’d tell that Mr Moneybags to fuck right off.

  12. While I agree that housing has got more expensive, the same basic principles apply as when I was young. Those boring people who didn’t go out much, who scrimped and saved and were regarded as stingy by the rest of us, ended up with good houses at an earier age, whereas the rest of us who wasted our money on drinking and eating out lived in shitty share flats for years and years.

    But even in those days going out for a coffee wasn’t anywhere near as expensive as it is now. Modern coffee shops should all be called ‘Saw You Coming’.

  13. Andrew M – ““Avocado toast” means eating out, socialising, building those informal networks.”

    Does it? I thought it meant putting some avocado with pepper, salt and maybe a bit of balsamic vinegar on a piece of bread. Then eating it.

    Quite partial to it myself. As the avocado is so oily.

  14. It’s “dehumanising” to suggest that people live within their means.

    You go ahead and splash your money around, Emma. Don’t listen “the rich”, what the fuck do they know about money anyway?

  15. We were living in Queensland when there was a minor recession. The advice in the paper for people feeling the pinch was “save on butter, rub your toast with avocado”.

    It wasn’t much use to us: we grew mangoes not avocados.

  16. “This war by the rich against the small pleasures of the poor…”

    Next week in the Guardian:

    i. Article calling to restrict air travel (actually trying to stop the working classes going to Ibiza)
    ii. Article calling for sugar taxes on “sugary toxic drinks”
    iii. Article calling for minimum pricing of alcohol
    iv. Article demanding smoking is banned in all council properties
    v. Article about ‘obesity’ and why food is too cheap.

  17. Andrew M,

    ““Avocado toast” means eating out, socialising, building those informal networks. Time was when people would invite each other round to their homes for dinner and/or drinks. This is less popular these days because (a) your poky flat in the arse end of zone 3 has no dining area and is shared with five strangers of questionable sanitary habits, and (b) you can actually afford to eat & drink out from time to time.”

    Move out of London.

    This article, and the linked article by Rhiannon Lucy Coslett both cover New York/London house prices. Why are these people, who could write their stuff in the Auvergne, Lincolnshire or Kigali, living in one of the most expensive places on earth and then complaining about it?

  18. She says ‘the poor’. She doesn’t mean the poor. She knows nothing of them and cares less.
    Her only concern is that she can’t buy the swish flat she thinks she deserves.

  19. BiW,
    I’m not describing my life, but rather that of quite a few people I know. Agreed that it’s very much a London / Sydney / expensive city problem.

    Why don’t they live in Lincolnshire? Because then they’d have nothing interesting to write about. Matthew Parris regularly writes about his cottage in Derbyshire: it bores the socks off me. The interesting stuff happens in places where people have to find creative ways to make a living.

  20. Thing amuses me, when I read these people complaining about house prices, is the reason the prices are high is there’s rather too many people just like them want to live in the areas they’re complaining about.
    I’ve a suggestion. We have an annual tournament. Herd all the 20-30 somethings, from “good schools” & with university educations, onto a big piece of ground out past the North Circular. Let ’em have at it with each other with spiked clubs. Survivors get to buy a two bed flat conversion at the southern end of Kilburn for an “affordable price”.
    Well, it’s still a market. Of a sort. And would be hugely entertaining.

  21. oho and why the fuck am I paying for your low browed Brexit crap. Take schools , I have three children in them and around here we are looking at about a 9% per pupil funding cut ( aka a £4bn rise as per BlueKip manifesto)
    So in order to disguise the impact of setting the Nation`s course by asking the clients of Bet Fred OK and Fuckwit`s are us we have reschedule our debts into the land of never , acquired more National debt / GDP and debauched interest rates …. Plenty of money for that isn`t there
    Why not let all the people who can`t iron without sticking their tongue out send their kids to cheapo useless schools where they get taught how to buy the Daily Mail and light their farts and my children go to elite institutions funded along pre Brexit lines where they can learn fencing how to Waltz play tennis and be in the FO ?
    Seems fair

  22. She says ‘the poor’. She doesn’t mean the poor. She knows nothing of them and cares less.

    Exactly: she means the millenial middle classes whose parents live in £500k plus houses who have just pissed away fifteen grand on a pointless university degree.

    She doesn’t mean the genuine poor at all.

  23. Andrew M,

    “Why don’t they live in Lincolnshire? Because then they’d have nothing interesting to write about.”

    But these Guardian types just write commentary about stuff printed in the Guardian or on the BBC. You could sit in Portugal or the Czech Republic and do that.

    “Matthew Parris regularly writes about his cottage in Derbyshire: it bores the socks off me.”

    The Derbyshire Dales are just a retirement/weekender/tourist place. Faux bucolic rural idylls for the wealthy. At best you get the same sort of rural diversity that Brighton, Hay and Salford provide.

  24. Writings about pretentious London bullshit bore me. I’d rather read about life in rural Derbyshire.

  25. Matthew Parris regularly writes about his cottage in Derbyshire: it bores the socks off me.

    Poverty isn’t always about money: it can be about the rotten cards that fate deals you, like being one of newmania’s benighted offspring. No number of avocados can make up for that.

  26. Newmania – if your kids actually are yours then the poor fuckers have your genes. Based on your written output, I doubt it matters what school they go to, or how well it’s funded – they’ll still end up thick, poor and bitter. Life’s shit, for you.

  27. JuliaM, newmania makes about as much sense as DBCR. Maybe they are related or the same person. Perhaps newmania is DBCR after a few tabs of E?

  28. The interesting stuff happens in places where people have to find creative ways to make a living.

    Like Lagos? Don’t see many of them living there.

  29. BiW, TimN,
    You’re looking at it the wrong way around. The Guardian’s editors are pandering to their readers. They choose which freelancer’s output they’re going to accept on any given day. A piece about hundreds of thousands of evictions in Lagos is of equal value to their readers as a piece about how Emma (educated at Oxford and living in New York) struggles to afford an apartment in a good part of town.

  30. Newmania’s post speaks volumes. It appears that in the syphilitic mind of a lefty other people not giving you money is you paying for stuff.

  31. @ Dongguan John
    Oh! But it is.
    He/she is already deeply in debt despite people like me paying for his children’s education because he/she has spent monet that he/she hasn’t yet earned and if we don’t give him/her even more money he/she might have to pay something for the schools’ non-statutory provision of extra-curricular activities.

  32. “It takes a jerk to give away money, then complain about what the recipients spend it on.” – GC

  33. AndrewM,

    Sure. But you could live in Ulaanbaatar and write the same piece about young people struggling to live in London. It’s not hard to understand. Plenty of other people complaining about it to get a feel of what it’s like.

    It won’t be long before Google’s AI can knock this out. How hard is writing some obvious guff about the evil Tories and peppering it with references to Thatcher and neoliberalism after you’ve mastered Go?

  34. On house prices, my parents bought a modest semi in Rochdale in ’46 for a few hundred quid. I went to Kew Gardens yesterday, and walking past an estate agent window I saw a similar semi for £1.4M! We’re currently refurbishing a 3 bed mid terrace in Huddersfield bought for £80k. London is nice to visit occasionally but definitely not to live.

  35. BiW:

    It won’t be long before Google’s AI can knock this out.

    Given the repetitive shite in the Guardian I’d say they’re already doing it on a ZX Spectrum.

  36. Avocados are bloody expensive, mind. They’re six quid a kilo in my supermarket. That’s due to the Mexicans allowing their crop to get infected and therefore banned and the local agricultural lobby using it as an excuse to ramp the price up to stupid levels. I have never eaten avocado on toast and am not abut to start but I likes me a spot of guacamole. It’s a bugger.

    But what is the point of being middle-class and self-righteous i.e. the likes of Emma Brockes and Rhiannon Lucy Coslett (she’s got form, the whinging little slapper) if disgusting shabby greasy poor people can afford to do the things you like? She couldn’t give a shit about them.

  37. @Jack Hughes, May 26, 2017 at 8:32 am

    Avocados are obviously the fruit of the devil. Horrible, pasty, oily, nasty things

    +1

    Like Kale, Brocoli, colonic irrigation and other tendy hipster fads; I think many people pretend to like them to fit in. Rather childish.

    .
    @Tel, May 26, 2017 at 9:33 am

    +1

    I’m one of the “stingy” ones and the only one who owns a nice house in a good location.

    .
    @Rob, May 26, 2017 at 10:02 am

    +1

    Excellent post on left’s control freakery

  38. Once upon a time (WWII era), avocado trees were used to provide shade and windbreaks in southern California’s orange groves. The fruit just fell to the ground and rotted.

  39. The rise and fall of luxury food is rather interesting, lobster being the classic case study.

  40. the reason the prices are high is there’s rather too many people just like them want to live in the areas they’re complaining about.

    No. The reason house prices are high is because banks are willing to lend 200,000 pounds to buy a flat made out of half of what used to be a council terrace.

  41. The reason house prices are so high is because people realise the government will do anything to maintain their value or keep it increasing. It’s the only investment which the government has basically guaranteed returns on.

    Add to that a national obsession about owning property, and a supply shortage so obvious that a Labour Party pledge to build ONE HUNDRED THOUSAND houses a year makes the news, no wonder prices are at insane levels.

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