High Inflation Holiday Shopping Ideas

Portfolio Armor's Photo
by Portfolio Armor
Friday, Nov 24, 2023 - 8:45
A stylish woman shopping for perfume.

A More Civilized Way Of Beating Inflation Woes

Every year on Black Friday, we see videos of the uncivilized way of beating inflation: fighting through the scrum at Walmart or another big box store for their doorbuster deals. Our friend Isaac Simpson offers some more civilized suggestions below. 

Authored by Isaac Simpson, who writes at The Carousel and leads the marketing agency WILL

Inflation Woes? Try These "Low Ticket Luxury" Gifts For The Holidays

If you’re like me, several of your friends have recently asked you: ”am I crazy, or did the price of [insert favorite thing] go up like 30% in the past three months?” 

They’re right. Inflation has gone crazier than a witch on Christmas. Instead of ignoring it, embrace it. Get creative. Figure out a way to thrive under its crushing weight. 

Smart shoppers know how to signal class with affordable purchases of just the right items. It’s called “Low Ticket Luxury”—things that may be expensive for their category, but in the grand scheme are quite affordable, and worth every penny when it comes to quality and perception. 

High inflation environments are the perfect time for mini-indulgences like these. They show that you get it, aren’t an idiot with your money, and aren’t duped into spending huge amounts on the hollowed-out shells of former luxury, now only enjoyed by bourgeois diversity grant recipients and Amex Gold Card holders. 

I founded WILL, my branding agency, because I could read the writing on the wall—less words than large bold arrows—pointing towards a parallel economy. An economy apart from both woke marketing, or the lame reactions to it (e.g. Black Rifle Coffee, Ultra Right Beer), where a new kind of elite selects products based on their genuine quality. 

Low Ticket Luxury is the realm of this new elite. Little secrets, hints, that they lay out for each other. Here’s some suggestions for the holidays. Buy them individually, or all at once, and give them out at inflation-themed dinner parties. 

  1. Le Labo - Elegantly crafted and perfectly branded french fragrances originating in Grasse. The fragrance names alone get the heart pumping.Aesop Hand Soap - Simple, understated elegance. The beauty of Prada and the smell of a 5 star hotel right in your bathroom. Casually luxuriating.
  2. CLEAR - Airports don’t need to feel like a cross between a prison processing station and a bus station. CLEAR makes it feel like just a bus station. Add in a lounge pass and going to the airport can actually be fun!
  3. MASA Traditional Tortilla Chips* - Currently the number one chip at LA grocery store sensation Erewhon. The only tortilla chip made with beef tallow, in a beautifully-designed bag. Nothing’s sexier than an expensive chip, and the crunch is to die for.*
  4. Traveler’s Company Pens- Striking brass Japanese-crafted pens. Sophisticated design, affordable, beautifully engineered. Fits neatly onto the spine of your meeting notebook.
  5. Caviar Bumps- Yes it’s a reference to cocaine, except you dollop a bit of high end caviar on your thumb joint and slurp it up. Perhaps the best party snack ever invented, especially for those of us on Weight Loss Journeys. All you need is one tin of expensive caviar to “blow” your guests away.
  6. Caraway Pans - Health conscious ceramic and stainless steel pans with none of the gross coatings that are killing you. You can feel and see the difference. Basically the new Le Creuset but affordable.
  7. La Maison du Chocolat - French chocolate, highest end, yet somehow middle-priced. Lots of cool variations you haven’t seen before. 
  8. Ophora Water - The most indulgent and perhaps least practical on the list, this Erewhon hit is the priciest water you’ll ever buy. But it’s definitely worth the story, and the Twitter post.
  9. Blue Bottle Single Origin- Now, Blue Bottle is owned by Nestle now, which should DQ it from this list, but somehow their single origin product has remained untouched by the consultant class. In fact, perhaps it’s gotten even better from its independent days, and remains a status symbol. 
  10.  Laka Matcha- Three years ago no one knew what matcha was, now we can’t live without it. Samidori ceremonial Laka matcha offers “natural levels of buffered caffeine” from the Wazuka region of Japan. What does any of this mean? Who cares? It comes in a cool amber bottle.

*Ancient Crunch, the parent company of Masa, is a client of my branding agency WILL.

A Blast From The Past

Isaac's mention above of Black Rifle Coffee as a lame reaction to wokeness, reminds us of our bet against it earlier this year (Fake and Gay).

From that post: 

The “gay” in the online phrase “fake and gay” can mean “stupid” rather than “homosexual”, but in the case of our most recent bearish bet, both meanings might apply ("Not that there's anything wrong with that!").

This a consumer staples brand that markets itself to conservatives as a macho alternative to liberal brands in the same category, via gratuitous use of guns, camo, and flag imagery, along with displays of performative masculinity. It turns out, though, that its CEO was sued by one of his male employees, for, among other claims, suggesting they engage in anal intercourse with each other.

We exited that trade for a 53% gain in September. If you'd like a heads up when we place our next trade, feel free to subscribe to our trading Substack/occasional email list below. 


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