Wednesday, July 6th, 2011

My Ten-Point Action Plan for Spending One Million Dollars at Tiffany

Perpetual presidential candidate Newt Gingrich made news last month when it was revealed he and his wife Callista carried a credit line of up to $500,000 at Tiffany, a jewelry store catering to the powerful and virtuous. He made news again last week when it was revealed he had a second line of credit—this one up to $1,000,000. (New Gingrich’s top fundraising staff has since quit.)

Friends, you shouldn’t be surprised by the Gingriches’ million-dollar credit line at Tiffany. After all, people spend a million dollars at Tiffany every day—regular people just like you! How do they do it? By following my Ten-Point Action Plan for Spending One Million Dollars at Tiffany. This exciting, foolproof system is designed to get results—and fast.

STEP 1. Burst through the doors of your local Tiffany with a song in your heart and a million dollars in your wallet. If you don’t have access to cash, inquire about opening an interest-free line of credit; odds are Tiffany will be happy to oblige.

STEP 2. Start buying necklaces! When it comes to jewelry, necklaces are the perfect “gateway drug.” I’ve bought many beautiful necklaces for $5,000. You’ve got $1,000,000 in credit; why not buy 30? After all, the only image more alluring than a woman gliding into a room wearing a fine necklace is a woman staggering under the weight of 30 of them, looking like a wayward galaxy smashed into her collarbone.

Ladies, try mixing and matching: drape a diamond necklace over a gold necklace. Then add a ruby necklace. Then add twenty-seven more necklaces. This funky bohemian look will charm the crowd at your next poetry slam.
30 necklaces at $5,000/necklace = $150,000

STEP 3. While the sales associates are polishing your necklaces, move on to earrings. Earrings are surprisingly useful; I can’t count how many times I’ve silenced a naggy-ass lover by flinging fistfuls of brand-new, sparkling earrings at her. Because earlobes are an inappropriate forum for advertising one’s poverty, my rule of thumb is “Never spend less than $2,500 on a pair of earrings.” $100,000 should get you 40 decent pairs. Coupon-clippers, remember: 40 pairs of earrings is actually 80 separate earrings; there’s no limit to the mixing and matching you’ll be able to do (especially if you pierce your nose).
40 pairs of earrings at $2,500/pair = $100,000

STEP 4. The bad news: You’ve already spent a fourth of your credit. The good news: You still have three-quarters of a million dollars, which is nothing to shake a stick at. It’s time to start buying engagement rings. According to my pastor, a gentleman should spend $50,000 on his fiancee’s ring; anything less says, “I think you’re human garbage.”

Already married? There’s nothing wrong with a contingency plan (i.e., a box of rings buried in the backyard). Assume you’ll be married four times, just to be safe.
4 engagement rings at $50,000/ring = $200,000

STEP 5. After all that shopping, you’ll probably be hungry. Pay a Tiffany employee $25,000 to buy you a burrito.
1 burrito at $25,000/burrito = $25,000

STEP 6. All of a sudden, $525,000 doesn’t seem like much money. It’s not even $600,000! If the past few years have taught Americans anything, it’s that financial stress can be overwhelming: “Are we living within our budget?” “Do we have enough money to make ends meet at Tiffany?” Relax by treating yourself to a really nice brooch, like a diamond-encrusted pin of a gazelle, emu, yak, ibex or hartebeest. Animal-shaped pins are a great way to remind your peers that you are an interesting, creative person who likes the idea of nature. (NOTE: Remember to ask the Tiffany employee to write down the name of the animal, so you’ll have an answer when someone asks, “What’s that blob on your lapel?”)
1 animal pin at $125,000/animal pin = $125,00

STEP 7. You’ve got 30 necklaces, 80 earrings, four engagement rings, a burrito and a brooch. Maybe it’s time to buy something other than jewelry? Fortunately, Tiffany showrooms are filled with conversation pieces. Buy them. Do you like the jeweler’s bowtie? Buy it. Would the flowers on the counter look nice in your kitchen? Buy them. The wainscoting behind the counter might work in your den—buy it. Intriguing magazines in the employee break room? Buy them. Soon you’ll be able to recreate the “Tiffany experience” in the privacy of your own homes.
Miscellaneous items = $160,000

STEP 8. Buy a car.
1 car at $85,000/car = $85,000

STEP 9. I can’t believe I almost forgot wristwatches! Wristwatches (some call them “chronometers”) are unique among jewelry in that they use science to tell time. Support the spirit of scientific inquiry by buying ten wristwatches: one for telling time in the morning, one for telling time in the evening and eight for telling time in the bathtub.
10 wristwatches at $15,498/wristwatch = $154,980

STEP 10. Congratulations on the successful execution of my foolproof system! Who’s a big boy? You are! You still have 20 dollars left, which is a testament to your frugality and fundamental decency. Why not dabble in philanthropy? Give it to a homeless person loitering outside the showroom; it’ll make his day.
1 philanthropic gesture at $20/gesture = $20. (NOTE: Make sure he promises not to waste it on drugs.)

David Rees is a former political cartoonist. Now he is an artisanal pencil sharpener.

36 Comments / Post A Comment

Matt (#26)

No sponsored post?

Renee Dumas (#7,992)

I think first I have to rob and murder a rich person or perhaps a few of them? So who's down, is what I'm asking.

TroutSavant (#1,990)

$25000 breakfast burrito at Tiffany's!

Bittersweet (#765)

@TroutSavant: I'm betting the dude will get you a burrito for $100. That's $24,900 more to spend on animal brooches!

HiredGoons (#603)

@TroutSavant: how much do you think I would have to pay Mickey Rooney to serve it to me playing an offensive broad-stroked Asian stereotype?

But you forgot china! How can you live without this: Better open up another line of credit!

@Kelly Faircloth@facebook I… wow. It's a trifecta of vaguely racist, over priced, AND completely impractical. Over $1500 for a PLATE? A dinner plate? Not even, like, a serving plate?

SeanP (#4,058)

@AngerMonkey@twitter Not impractical! Flava Flav could wear it around his neck!

cherrispryte (#444)

Two words.

Statement. Jewelery.

sarahf (#10,906)

@cherrispryte Agreed. There are definitely some pieces of statement jewelry that are well over a million dollars.

deepomega (#1,720)

I'm sorry, but if you're only spending 85,000 on a car you're probably not Tiffany's Material.

how can you even LIVE without sterling silver monkey straws? A relative steal at only $250 each!

raincoaster (#628)

@Gloria Dube@facebook I think I must have one of those. I seriously must.

pdxerer (#15,195)

What Tiffany's is good for is PRESENTS. Presents for people you love and cherish, who have done nice things for you. People to whom you need to say, "I love you. I value your friendship. I appreciate your discretion."

Once you owe REALLY BIG favors to a couple hundred people, a million dollars won't go that far at all.

Abe Sauer (#148)

Why not just buy 55,000 or so of those Tiffany & Co. keychains that everyone loves so much? Give every primary voter one. You know the ones, they look like Prince Albert penis piercing rings?

becky@twitter (#14,213)

@Abe Sauer those are only $120 each. 55,000 of them would only be $660,000.

Abe Sauer (#148)

@becky@twitter I think Newt Gingrich has a position for you.

SeanP (#4,058)

@becky@twitter There's a reason why Abe's not running for president.

whizz_dumb (#10,650)

$20 to a homeless? That's downright liberal.

petejayhawk (#1,249)

@whizzard Easy solution. Buy the homelesser a paperback copy of Atlas Shrugged instead ( Only $14.36, and they can use the wisdom contained therein to Objectivize him-or-herself. Plus it allows for a $5.64 tip at Peter Luger this evening.

David (#192)

You know, Tiffany used to sell sterling silver bicycle ankle-clips that worked to keep your pants from getting stuck in the chain …. alas, they discontinued that item. But they still have sterling silver collar stays.

raincoaster (#628)

@David They likely still have the pattern. If you're willing to pay them, they'll make it for you.

katiebakes (#32)

True confessions, I'm prettttty prettttty obsessed with that ring on the far left.

laurel (#4,035)

I only just realized that David Rees is Mr. Get Your War On. Oh, the crushing.

scroll_lock (#4,122)

One time at Tiffany's I was admiring a $250,000 diamond necklace and the saleslady offered to let me try it on! Naturally, I did not want to be rude so I did and it was UNBELIEVABLE and heavy.

(ps- they don't have layaway, so don't ask)

SteveinMaine (#15,260)

OMG I…LOVE…DAVID…REES! "GET YOUR WAR ON"! What a fantastic writer. Laugh out loud hilarious!

petejayhawk (#1,249)

@SteveinMaine OMG! LOL!

Redacted (#2,882)

But do they sell Kale City t-shirts?!?

You know how modern jewelry shuns traditional motifs and representational forms? What you do is get a bunch of these in whatever diamond-encrusted iteration they come in. (Is Tiffany strictly silver? Because some pink gold would be a nice way to "mix it up." No matter.) Also, ornate picture frames! Who doesn't need more picture frames for giving that extra "zazz" to the many fabulous moments of your life! You can make a neat counterpoint to all the Modernity by restricting yourself to Rococo forms or the like. And if the Sterling gets to be a little monotonous, set some of that mil aside for some gold leaf, or even plating – you deserve the best, so go with the gold plate!

Now, here's where you can truly make this your own: imagine that these abstract geometrical forms were having conversations! You could even make little set pieces or dioramas with the picture frames!

Of course, you have to make up little stories to accompany these scenes, even just a couple lines of dialog to hint at context or tension. Jewelry always seems to create some of that tension or misunderstanding between the sexes, so that might be a way to elevate and give purpose to the activity, at the very least to fend off inquiries from people who just don't understand that you're just having a little fun.

Just throwing some random ideas out there – they all kind of coalesced during the process of writing them down, so they might need a little refinement. What do you think?

dcheng (#15,409)

If I have that kind of money, I will spend it all on bracelets,earrings and necklaces.

dcheng (#15,409)

If I have that kind of money, I will spend it all on bracelets,earrings and necklaces.

kari6devan (#14,883)

wow good necklace

GailPink (#9,712)

I love you

rusl (#15,711)

This reminds me of the NEA army web page which unfortunately no longer exists but waybackmachine has it:

Summary: use the entire NEA budget to buy 1/12th of a B-2 bomber and use it to build a monument in washington called "priorities"

raincoaster (#628)

All you really need to do is walk in and buy a Tiffany Ribbon Bracelet in every colour and for each wrist. One inch wide, invisibly set diamonds, rubies, emeralds, and sapphires. So that's eight bracelets and you're done.

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