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As regular Diners know, I had some Bizness in Anchorage this weekend and decided to make a Mini-Vacation of it and liberate some of my Hoarded FRNs into the economy by buying an Expensive Hotel Room at the Captain Cook 4 Star Hotel and Haute Cuisine at the Crow’s Nest restaraunt atop the 20th floor of Tower 3. My Suite was in Tower 1 on the 6th floor.
One day of Luxury 1% Living here cost me about $3oo, $200 for the Suite, $25 to park the car and $80 for the meal. Oh, also $18 for a 12 pack of Alaska Amber IPA I brought in. In theory, spending this money keeps the Hotel Clerks and Maids and the Restaraunt Staff employed, so I am doing a Good Deed by Living the High Life.
This time of year, the Hotel is not too busy of course, but there are some Biz types milling around the Lobby floor Mini-Mall with its high end Tourist Trinket Shops. There is some kind of Real Estate Convention group having a Banquet in a couple of the Banquet Rooms. I spy also a group of aound 5 Older Pilots in their Ailine Pilot Uniforms with the Epaulets. So Cap’n Cook is getting some Biz here even though it is not Tourist Season yet for Alaska.
At Dinner also atop Tower 3, the Crow’s Nest is also decently filledup with Biznessy Types, I earball a conversation at the next table about some kind of Robotic development the guy is describing to two corp type women,they are all in their 40s maybe 50s. Looking around the restaraunt, all the Diners have that distinctly Upper Class “look” to them.
Not only the Diners look Upper Class, the Wait Staff does also, just Younger and Prettier/Handsomer. My first server is the Busboy, who looks like he came right off the pages of GQ Magazine. He is super polite bringing me a choice of breads and icewater. My waitress who follows is only slightly less Model Material than the Busboy. Down at the Desk when I checked in, the two Clerks were both Black, a male and female also. Both awesome good looking people also in their 20s, well spoken and mannered. There are not too many Black people in Alaska, so where did these two come from? Later atfer a Shift change, there are TWIN Phillipino male 20 somethngs behind the desk, also good looking fellows. Sense a pattern here? LOL. Somehow the management of Captain Cook is able to recruit and hire a really good looking and “exotic” staff to please the eye of the Upper Class patrons of the Hotel. They ae NOT coming from Local Alaska people.
I’ll jump ahead in the story here to Contrast with the Employees and Patrons at Walmart/McDonalds where I stopped on my way back to the Cabin today. About everybody working there or sitting eating looks like some variant of what we call “Valley Trash” up here. They are in the same general age range as the staff at Cap’n Cook, but they are about all, well, UGLY. Evenif they aren’t fat, nobody is Model Material here. By contrast, EVERYBODY working at Cap’n Cook was at least close to that level of Physical Beauty.
I can see here where anyone living the life of the top 1% doesn’t see anythig wrong at all. The Hotel Amenties are nicey fit out with Wood Paneling everywhere givng an old time Nautical feel to the place,, the food is excellent and the prices seem like Chump Change to them, and the staff is all polite and pleasing to look at. When was the last time you had a polite pleasing to look at McDonalds Cashier bring you your Burger, Fries and Coke?
There are two completely separate class of people operating here, and really unless you hit a hotel like Cap’n Cook you don’t see it. Even if you go to some of the other “nicer” hotels serving the Tourist Trade in Alaska like Hilton you don’t get quite the same effect. My guess is that while some of these Hotels might be hurting from dominished Middle Class Tourist Trade, Cap’n Cook is still doing pretty good. The 1% are still buying the most expensive Hotel Rooms and expensive meals, and they can jack up prices and it stll doesn’t make much difference to the patrons. If spending $200/night doesn’t bug your pocketbook, $300/night probably won’t either. The Oil Companies still put up visiting Executves on Expense Accounts at these places and Write it Off on the Tax Bill.
So, the 1% is still “Shopping” here and keeping employed Wannabee Models, Actors and Actresses making Ends Meet until they get “Discovered” or end up as a Trophy Wife #3 for some travelling Pigman. Unfortunately though, freely flowing Buckolas in this Boutique Economy does not translate to similar freely flowing buckolas in the Shop-till-you-Drop general economy, well represented by my stop off at Walmat/McDonalds on the way back home.
Prior to grabbing my meal at the In-Store McDonalds food court, I traipsed around the aisles of Wally World looking for Prep Bargains, and they were there aplenty, particularly in the clothing department. Being Alaska is a pretty cold place in the winter, I have a soft spot for Warm Clothing, and when I see some on Sale I fnd it hard to resist buying more than I aready have, which is a lot.
Well, first there was long sleeve Thermal Undershirts for $7 each in a variety of colors. This is less than a pack of cigarettes cost up here nowadays. So I throw a Black one and Blue one in the basket. Then there are some Lined Hoodies on Sale for $15 each. Thow a Blue and Gray one in the basket. Then some Sweatpants which make nice warm Pajama bottoms for $7 also. Then I pass Winter Coats and there are some on Clearnace for $15. FIFTEEN DOLLARS for a WINTER COAT! BRAND SPANKING NEW! Man, I remember my Mom spending $150 for the Parka I had in HS back in the 70s I badgered her into buying for me. Granted, that one had real Goose Down Fiing and real Rabbit Fur trimming arond the Hood, but even so most Winter coats in those days ran $50 at least. These coats perform he sae function, are just abut as warm and $15 2013 Dollars, which according to Inflation Stats transltes to maybe $7.50 1970s dollars. IOW, there is not, has not been Inflation in Clothing Prices since the 1970s. Same wth Jeans, I remember spending $25 for Jeans back then, now wen I buy new ones, I usually spend only $15-20 on them.
So here I am in the Walmart Clothing Department with my now overflowing basket of clothing to keep me warrm on Cold Alaska Nights, all of which together costs less than I spend on Beer and Cigarettes in a Week and I STOP. “WTF do I NEED this stuff?” I DON’T! I got warm clothes up the WAZOO already! I leave the Full Basket right there for the Walmart Night Staff to Restock and leave with my one purchase, a 16GB MicroSD Card to drop a copy of my ever increasing Library of ebooks I am downloading fr $40 for month of UNLIMITED downloads. If this isn’t DEFLATION in the cost of Knowledge and Books, I don’t know what is. Even Paperbacks in the 70s cost $2.95 each. Now,even factoring in the $250 cot of the Samsung Galaxy Tablet, the 16GB MicroSD Card and the $40 Monthly Membership fee of UNLIMITED downloads, the MOST I could have bought was 100 or so paperbacks. Instead, I have 1000s of books already, some vey exnsive textbooks and Hypelinked as Help Files in some cases too! Not to mention the Audio Books, not ven vailable to buy in the 70s at any price.
Now is where this really gets good though. With all those fabulous BARGAINS in Clothing and Knowledge/Infomation availble, why aren’t the Shoppers PACKING Walmart and D/L all those great book. Answers slightly different though the commonality is that people don’t NEED any more of these things but they keep being produced in greater numbers all the time. Even with increasing poplation numbers we have WAY more clothes than anybody needs, here in the FSoA for sure on this one. I could fully clothe probably 5 people ou of stuff in my wardrobe. Do we NEED more Books? Man, there is more Great Literature already written than anyone could read in a LIFETIME, and you can squeeze all of it onto a MicroSD Card the size of your FINGERNAIL.
So on the one hand we have vast overproducton of these things,while at the SAME time the expanding population has ever decreasing per capita MONEY available to buy them, and stops buying so many. Between India, China and Egypt all producing gobs of clothing with Slave Labor, the stuff is stocking up in Walmart, they are running Outta Room and cutting Low Low Prices Everyday even lower, and STILL nobody buys it! So obviously at some point here the factories producing tthis clohing will go outta biz, which will then leave MANY even MORE unhappy and impoverished Chindians than there already are.
As you walk through Walmart and sit at a formica covered table in Walmart surrounded by generally poor, stupid and ugly people, you get sense of depair in everyone there. They aren’t going anywhere in life other than deeper in debt if it is offered to them, they’ll never be hanging out even for a night in Cap’n Cook Suite and eating Thai Coconut-Curry-Crab soup and Elk Rack in the Crow’s Nest, obsequiously served by the Beautiful People.
As I left Walmart, even the “Missng Childen” board Walmart runs which substitutes for the Milk Carton ads was depressing in a new way to me as I scanned it. The “kids” pictured appeared to be mostly Teens, and the photos looked like Mug Shots from Juvey. Teen girls wth Piecings and Bleach Blond hair, Teen Boys with Bue Mohawks and Angry Looks on their faces. A few Kidnap victms in there perhaps, but mostly I think Runaways, kids whose home lives were so vacant of Hope and Opportunity they just Left School one day and never went “Home”. Absorbed somewhere in the vast Underbelly of a decaying and dying society, until almost mecifully an Early Death from Drug Overdose or Violence takes them to a Happier Place in the Great Beyond.
For most of the 1% at Cap’n Cook, they never see any of this. They simply don’t SHOP at Walmart. Life seems just fine to them,well insulated by layers of money, well served by the Beautiful People who if fortunate can leverage their Looks into the Upper Class before they lose them. They are still Shopping at the Top, but that too will pass in the Bye & Bye. The Shopping is Stopping down below, and this will collapse the foundation of the Waste Based Society that Feeds the Rich, while it Buries the Poor. As Axel Rose noted, it can only end in Civil War.