Here's a story you won't read in Monday's media business section: how the Times's "T" Magazine gift guide shows the same flagrant insensitivity to the current economic crisis that the paper recently exposed in other magazines.
On November 20, the Times business reporter Stephanie Clifford snarkily took Time Style & Design Magazine to task for its high-end gift guide -- noting with gleeful outrage that to buy every item in it would cost $51 million.
And by the time the issue hit newsstands in late November, reports suggested people were not buying much of anything, much less the $36,000 cellphone, $1,000 skin cream or Fendi Persian lamb jacket “misted with gold particles” featured in the issue.
It is a problem many luxury magazines are facing these days: how do you promote expensive goods without seeming out of touch with economic realities?
A Time spokesman defended its gift guide by noting that the magazine had closed in early October, before the current economic downturn had fully taken hold.
So what's the excuse for the Times "T" Magazine's own shamelessly extravagant gift guide in this Sunday's issue? Its swanky offerings cost more than most of the individual items in Time's gift guide -- not to mention the fact that the issue closed in mid-November, well into the current economic crisis.
The combined cost of the Times's gift guide entries comes to $585,324. And that doesn't count the 9 additional items that are listed as "Price on Request," which means they're so expensive the retailer won't list the price. (Many of them cost upwards of $10,000 apiece.)
The per-gift price of items in the "T" gift guide comes to $7,600. Anybody you know have that kind of cash set aside for Christmas presents? Not the Nytpicker.
No one we know can afford the Times's patently ludicrous (but advertiser-friendly) gift ideas, which includes a Fred Leighton (a full-page advertiser in the issue) diamond and gold snake necklace for $177,000, an $18,000 Elsa Perretti 18-karat gold mesh halter from Tiffany (a frequent advertiser), or a David Yurman (two pages of advertising in the issue) pave link bracelet. The bracelet's price is "on request," but rest assured it's more than your current bank balance.
Even the $100 gold-plated Slinky from Barney's (a regular advertiser) seems a bit much, especially when you can buy a brand-new regular Slinky on Amazon right now for $3.99.