The other day my wife, Michelle, started watching yet another realty show. You know, the ones where they look at three homes, then buy one. Next to zero in production costs, yet highly addictive to the viewers.
The most recent one is Buying the View. Instead of being on HGTV (Home and Garden Television), which makes sense, this is yet another show of this variety on W Network. I used to think W stood for women, but these days it’s more like what ideas we can steal from HGTV.
Buying the View takes the House Hunters template and cranks it up a few notches. The idea is very, very rich people buying very expensive homes, with a view (Duh!).
Lots of people like to dream of life on the other side of the one per cent equation. That’s why we buy lottery tickets, isn’t it? Well, this show pretty much put me over the edge.
I would consider myself to be a fairly conservative, right-wing capitalist sort of guy. I have my own business. My philosophy is basically this: my luck gets better the harder I work. So I understand that if you are successful at what you do (and when I am, I’ll let you know), you should be rewarded.
Episode 5 of the first season was called Luxe Apartment Toronto. It’s episode summary reads:
“A father and daughter team up to buy a property they can share in Toronto’s downtown core. Their budget is around the $10 million mark, and realtor Jay Egan is confident he can find them something that fulfills their wish list. They are looking for a view to kill, space to party and an open concept. The three properties they tour include a private infinity pool, a free Rolls Royce and 360-degree view of the city. Mark and Julia are spoiled for choice.”
They are from Vancouver. Dad works in the mining business and wants a condo in Toronto for when he travels there for business. (Mom is not to be seen, and presumably this is no longer a nuclear family). Daughter is attending university in Toronto and needs some place to live.
My numbers are a little fuzzy, but essentially the three properties were around $6 million, $9.5 million and $13 million. The middle one was in the Toronto Trump Tower. Yes, that one.
They chose the $13 million one, because going $3 million over a $10 million budget apparently wasn’t an issue.
Watching this pampered daughter go through these properties is what made my blood boil. Dad? Sure, I get it. He put his time in, he made his millions. But she’s a freaking university student, one who will now go to class in the included Rolls Royce limo.
I was incensed, to say the least. Oh, wouldn’t it be great to have a view of Toronto through an infinity pool on an upper floor?
When I was in university, there were times when I didn’t know if I would have the $21 I needed to buy my next bottle of life-sustaining insulin. When my sister finally graduated nursing, my mom was so tapped out, the dress she bought to wear for convocation cost $12 at Sears bargain centre.
It made me think of the communist revolution in Russia. Marxism and communism came about, in large part, because the proletariat, i.e. working slobs, could not believe nor tolerate the excesses of the bourgeoisie who owned the factories and mines. It is clear that condo-buying dad, in this case, was the ultimate example of the bourgeoisie.
What had this pretty girl in high heels and pencil skirt done with herself to justify being presented with a $13 million condo? What could she have done? What course could she possibly take that would allow her to earn enough to cover just the property taxes in the years after she graduates? Oh, wait, daddy’s rich. Must be pampered, you know.
Watching this, I thought, “Now I get what all the fuss was about regarding the one-percenters a few years ago.”
As I stay up regularly until 2 a.m., working to keep my struggling business afloat in addition to my regular job, I now understand what jealous rage those communist revolutionaries must have had. Can you imagine a peasant serf walking into the gilded halls of St. Petersburg? This is about the same thing.
There’s only so much privilege a man can take, and I think Buying the View just crossed that line.
— Brian Zinchuk is editor of Pipeline News. He can be reached at email@example.com.