Consumerism Food'n'drink

Freaking HOW MUCH?!?

BarbecuesEvery so often, some junk mail will sneak past the No Junk Mail sticker, often in a kind of junk mail Trojan horse, such as a copy of the Bayside Weekly. Last week a Barbecues Galore catalogue snuck in. Now, I know that they stock a wide range of barbecues, including the modest type of small unit that I’m considering, costing perhaps a couple of hundred dollars. But the catalogue highlights the high-end.

Holy crap. $17,990 for a barbie? Do people really buy this stuff? Are they out of their freaking minds?

Even the “cheaper” (and I use the word loosely) models on that page are $6990 and $7990.

Seriously folks, if you’re pondering spending this kind of money on a barbecue, take a good long look at yourself, go and buy one for 5-10% of the price, and give the rest of the money to charity. That kind of dosh would set up whole villages with supplies of water and food for years — if not forever.

(If I’ve missed something fundamental and there really is an actual reason for spending the price of a small car on something to cook sausages on, please enlighten me.)

By Daniel Bowen

Transport blogger / campaigner and spokesperson for the Public Transport Users Association / professional geek.
Bunurong land, Melbourne, Australia.
Opinions on this blog are all mine.

14 replies on “Freaking HOW MUCH?!?”

totally agree with your verdict.
BBQs, like electrical goods, have come down in price over the past 20 years. You can get what you want for $200 easy. My only tip: when not in use, keep the BBQ out of the elements.

Well what does a kitchen cost? Because that’s essentially what that $18,000 beast is. It’s an outdoor kitchen ready to go. Taps, fridge, benches, drawers and a BBQ.

I’m sure it’d be cheaper to build benches, buy a fridge, install a sink and put in a cheaper BBQ, but some people are lazy and want a ready-made solution and they are prepared to pay for it. The same thing happens with employing painters or house cleaners or landscape gardeners, eating take-away all the time instead of cooking, using commercial car washes or buying disposable nappies. If all of those people put that cash into charity I’m sure the charities would be able to do far more work. But we don’t live under communism so people can use their money as they wish.

If I had the capacity to build things like those BBQ kitchens and get people to pay that much for them, I’d do it. And then I’d be able to give more to charity.

The idea that lies behind buying a bbq worth $18K, a posh 4WD or a mini ocean liner like the one that sits permanently in my neighbours driveway is that many of us pursue material trappings in an attempt to convince ourselves we are successful and happy. As the saying goes the most important things in life aren’t things and the frenzied pursuit of them is getting us into serious moral and environmental strife. On that theme the series on SBS with Pria Viswalingam is as brilliant as it is sobering.

Love the reaction “are you out of your freakin’ mind?” LOL! I know what you’re referring to, as well. Bloody ridiculous to spend that chunk’o’change on one! Geez for quite a few years my family got along just fine with charcoal!! and a round steel BBQ. I can recall thinking “oh such luxury to have gas!” on the BBQ when we got a propane one. Sorry, no explanations from this corner, just a similar reaction.

Do we not all have the right to have interests and tastes?

If someone just uses a BBQ for crappy sausages then, sure, a $199 BBQ is just fine.

Likewise if you just eat McDonald’s then feel free to rip out your kitchen and replace it with a rumpus room, why the hell have a kitchen worth thousands upon thousands of dollars?

But for me, the BBQ is THE way to cook your meals. Even my wife loves the majority of food cooked that way.

To that end when I designed our home I routed gas, sewerage, and water to where I intend to build a permanent BBQ – I’ve also cemented off a very large bench area in the middle of my pavement specifically for this. I will, very soon, be beginning work on finishing our “outdoor kitchen” complete with sink… and yes it will be around the $6k mark which for what I’m building is remarkably cheap.

Since it will be a true “outdoor kitchen” that will be used for anywhere up to 80% of meals, the comparison would therefore be against an indoor kitchen…

People spend thousands upon thousands upon thousands of dollars on their interests… heck I’ve spent very big money in recent time on state-of-the-art LED lighting that enables me to run my entire household on batteries, so compared to mere 49c light bulbs is that not utterly crazy? I have friends that think it’s crazy to spend money on computers, TVs, etc… but that’s just because they have/see no value in it… that’s their choice.

I’m not saying those $18k BBQs are worth that money, simply that yes someone who would be interested in them would have a reason and right to. You might say it’s a waste, but I say everyone has something that to others is an absolute utter waste of money simply because it has no use or value to THEM… ;)

Ah! Using it for the majority of your meals, eg instead of a conventional kitchen… okay so that makes some sense. It still surprised me though that the catalogue had such emphasis on the high-end BBQs, given I would expect them to be a niche market.

Daniel – while they are a niche market, they are very profitable, and generally these customers won’t be going to Barbecues Galore, they’ll go to a customer kitchen maker, or a designer. BG is trying to extend their customer base beyond their current demographic.

Some opportunity cost sums:

– $18k with an effective life of 10 years = depreciation of $1800 per year

How many delivered pizzas could that fund in a year? Assuming it’s $45 a shot (big pizza plus drinks, salad, etc) $1800 makes it 40 times, which is nearly one a week, and YOU don’t need to supply labour, clean up etc!

– $18k invested @ 5% = $900 pa in perpetuity to your favourite charity.

– $18k is also a 10% deposit on a $180k house, or, if combined with the $10k FHOG 10% of a $280k house. Going with the conservative $180k figure and 5% annual appreciation, that’s $9000 pa of capital growth being foregone.

Here in the states folks are moving “indoors” out, as well. However, I read an article recently in the newspaper telling about how all the fancy appliances and furniture become really expensive and elaborate nesting places for birds, bugs and rodents.
One of the things that I guess is big here (in warmer climates) is to have a wide-screen TV outside so you can sit on the patio and watch TV. Unfortunately, the article says that ants are attracted to something inside the TV and eventually their nests become so huge that they destroy the TV.

I think there are plenty of people who have so much money that $18K doesn’t really seem like a lot. I am not one of those people.

Amen to the comment above me about the $18K being a trifle, to some. Here in Canada it wouldn’t be practical with the snow/ice/temperature anyhow. I would compare it with a $76,000 Hummer vehicle that yeah gets you the same place as a $20,000 Subaru car. The one is all class and money and wastes gas. The other does the same thing but cost about 1/4 the price. Just what do you want with that Hummer anyhow?

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