When you reach a certain level of wealth, you start to think differently about money. Your time is immensely valuable—at least, from your perspective—so you’ll drop a few thousand dollars on a private flight without a second thought. Need a new car? Buy one. Notice a strange sound while you’re driving? Buy another one.
Of course, in the process, you end up alienating the non-wealthy people around you. Maybe that’s part of the fun. In a recent Reddit thread, users shared their stories of the most over-the-top, unnecessary things they’d ever seen rich people do.
Needless to say, it was fascinating; we collected a few of the best anecdotes, then edited them for grammar and readability.
If you’ve got it, flaunt it (preferably, in your neighbors’ faces).
“A family I know bought the $3 million house next door so they could knock it down for a tennis court,” wrote emaherio.
While ostentatious, that would make sense…if someone in the family really cared about tennis.
“The house that this family owns is already huge, and they had plenty of space for a tennis court, but they didn’t want to move a sculpture they had to the other side of the garden,” they explained. “No one in their family plays tennis. They wanted the tennis court because their 18-year-old daughter wanted a place to throw her parties.”
Tennis isn’t a cheap sport when you buy your own court, but with that said, there are more expensive hobbies.
“One of my dad’s friends from high school is unbelievably rich, and he’s a collector,” wrote OwenLeaf. “He owns a legitimate Stradivarius. Eventually, he decided he wanted to learn how to actually play it, so he signed up for lessons and brought a f*****g Stradivarius with him down to the local music shop to meet his instructor and have his first lesson.”
“I can only imagine the look on his instructor’s face.”
Sometimes, the look on other peoples’ faces is part of the fun. Reddit user twiling8’s boss owns a cottage worth upwards of $15 million.
“He likes to ‘entertain’ and throws some pretty wild parties,” they explained. “His wealthy neighbours down the lake complained about the noise and frequently called police.”
“One day, they saw him on the street and told him smugly that they had a generous offer on their cottage and they were moving.”
“‘I know,’ said my boss. ‘I bought it.’”
Don’t just a book by its cover…or overalls.
“I used to be an optician in a very high-end optical shop,” wrote Lusitania_420. “I had a customer spend $15,000 on glasses in one hour. He was wearing overalls, covered in paint and dirt. No one else wanted to help him.”
“I approached and began to help him when he decided he wanted to look at Cartier glasses. The Cartier case is always locked, and the key is in the owner’s office. I politely excused myself, and on my way to retrieve the key, my co-workers were warning me to be careful—he ‘just wants to steal the eyewear.’”
“My co-workers were all dumbfounded when I walked to the back to ring up his order on the credit card machine. I asked, ‘How do I ring up $14,995?’ My manager’s mouth dropped to the floor. Turns out, the customer is André Rieu.”
André Rieu is a well-known Dutch violinist, by the way. We should note: Reddit stories aren’t really vetted, so we can’t confirm that this actually happened. In any case, Lusitania_420 maintains that they received an enormous commission from the transaction.
“And I still hold the company record for highest sale, so I’m told,” they wrote.
Part of the fun of being rich is driving fast cars…or being driven in them.
“I lived in the international dorms in college,” wrote crazjayz. “First week of school, move in happens, and you get to meet a bunch of people. One of the people I met was this girl from Singapore. She’s pretty cool and whatnot, but after a few weeks she realizes that to get around, she needs a car, as public transport blows. So, naturally, she calls her parents to tell them that she needs a car. No biggie.”
“She tells them that she needs a Mercedes S class. Hmm, okay, nice. But remember, she’s from Singapore. If you know anything about Singapore, it’s that cars cost anywhere from six to nine times what they cost in the United States. Casually, her parents wire her enough money to get an S class…in Singapore.”
“The girl gets $650,000 wired to her account, not knowing that it cost six times less here. She goes to the dealership, then comes back in an hour with no car. I asked her what happened and she says, ‘Oh, it’s getting delivered.’ Sure enough, two days later, a brand new car shows up, except it’s no S class—it’s a Lamborghini Murcielago. Touché, well played.”
“I later find out she doesn’t know how to drive, so she hired a chauffeur to drive her around. She would sit in the passenger side of her own Lambo and be driven places. What made it more hilarious was that the chauffeur would actually wear a black jacket and hat.”
“Eventually, she got a driver’s license and was able to drive the car herself. I think the chauffeur was around for two or three months though. After moving out of that dorm, I didn’t really keep contact with her, but I assume she went back home just like every other ballin’ international student.”
Some rich people are fairly generous with their wealth.
“During college, I worked at a place selling very high-end patio furniture in the richest D.C. suburb,” wrote EmergencyM. “One day, a Washington Redskin comes in and buys a custom patio furniture set for his deck and pool area. The total cost for 10 pieces was over $24,000.”
“He paid cash, and I set up delivery for six weeks later, because the furniture had to be made at the manufacturer. Three weeks later, he was cut by the team. I called when the order came in, and he said, ‘Oh, I’m in the Caribbean now. I think I’m selling that house, think I’m going to retire. You like the furniture?’”
“Me: ‘Yeah.’ Him: ‘You can have it, thanks for being a fan.’ Fourteen years later, and I still have that furniture and the fanciest patio setup in my middle-class neighborhood!”
That’s pretty awesome, but this next story is downright incredible.
“My hometown of Hobart is a working-class city right at the end of the world in Tasmania, where nothing much ever happens,” wrote brodme. “In the past, not many people came here except a few hikers or outdoors people who want to admire the natural beauty of the place, but nothing else was really going for the town.”
“A guy who made hundreds of millions of dollars gambling opened his own private $150 million art museum and has turned the city into a major tourist draw. Best of all, locals are allowed in for free whenever they like, and free parties and festivals are thrown year-round. In under five years, he’s single-handedly transformed the entire city.”
That rich guy was David Walsh, one of the most successful professional “numeratis” in casino history. Financial Review has an excellent write-up on Walsh’s eccentricity—and generosity—here.
If you get a chance to go to a rich person’s party, take it.
“My dad’s boss was the billionaire CEO of a Fortune 500 company,” wrote Exeunter. “We were invited to his private July 4th party at his home in Corona del Mar, where Robin Williams was hired to entertain, and he had his own fireworks barge anchored in the water just beyond the house. The fireworks alone cost more than $300,000—I wouldn’t be surprised if the whole party cost half a million dollars.”
“By the way, Robin Williams’s private comedy shows were NOT family-friendly.”
That wasn’t Exeunter’s only run-in with the wealthy.
“Several years ago, I worked with some folks from a large business jet company that were raving about their last job. A Saudi prince had just purchased a new jet for a cool $80 million. He spent another $80 million in upgrades and interior finishes alone.”
“We’re talking about rare-wood furnishing throughout, exotic stone, handcrafted upholstery, and everything else is gold or gold-plated, including a gold-plated Xbox integrated into the custom entertainment system. The plane was painted this obnoxiously bright-yellow color from nose to tail.”
“The reason? It was a birthday gift for his 16-year old son, so that the color of his plane would match his Lamborghini.”
Fruits taste sweeter when they’re delivered by hand.
“I work for a wealthy man, and he once had me fly on a private jet to the other side of the country to pick up six perfect heirloom strawberries that cost $100 per six-pack,” wrote yeastybeast. “They were placed in a Chinese silk, hand-molded box so that each strawberry wouldn’t be jostled during the trip.”
“He ate three, then gave me the rest for my trouble. Not gonna lie; it was the most amazing strawberry experience I have ever had. They probably cost him $25,000, all said and done, between flights and my wage.”
Of course, other Reddit users asked for more details, and yeastybeasty was happy to oblige.
“My lips parted as I slowly brought the impossibly red berry to my mouth,” they wrote. “Its scent was too powerful for something that small, and the aroma filled my head until nothing else remained.”
“Gingerly placing my teeth on the seed-covered tip, I took the smallest of bites. The explosion of flavor was overpowering, and each time my teeth broke the flesh of that perfect berry, an impossible amount of juice gushed out. As I sat there slack jawed with juice dribbling down my chin, my employer looked at me in disgust and said, ‘You can go home now.’”
“Haha, the last sentence is a complete lie, but honestly, the strawberry was incredible.”
If you’ve got enough money, you can basically go anywhere you want…at any time.
“At an airport in Sweden, a man comes up to me and says, ‘When is the next flight to Chicago?’” recalled Mocorn.
“I say, ‘Well, that would be tomorrow at 11 p.m. The last flight was about an hour ago.’ He goes, ‘Who do I talk to about getting a flight out of here today?’”
“I was not sure whether he was joking or not, so I jokingly reply, ‘I guess you could charter your own triple-seven with a skeleton crew.’ He goes, ‘Yeah, let’s do that.’ I reply, ‘That would be extremely expensive,’ and he goes, ‘That’s okay, who do I talk to?’”
“I said, ‘Give me a minute,’ and called up the [Airport Development Office]. The call went something like this:”
“‘Um, hey man, it’s Mocorn. Yeah, listen, man, there’s a guy here who wants to charter his own triple-seven so he can get to Chicago tonight. What do I tell him? Yeah, he wants to go as soon as possible…uh huh… wait, we can do that? Really? Oh..okay, thanks.’”
“I then turn to the man and say, ‘All right, they’re making the calls, and someone is on their way down here to coordinate. He goes, ‘Sounds good, thank you.’ About two hours later, an empty 777 takes off. Destination: Chicago.”
We wondered how much that would actually cost. Fortunately, Mocorn did some quick math.
“The flight time is about nine hours,” they noted. “Privatefly.com puts the 777 at $20,771 per hour in the air, which comes out to $186,939. Add to this the salary of the (at least) six-man crew, the cost of ground crew and facilities, the cost of take-off and landing slots, and possibly a minimum buffer cost for flying empty. Now, add overnight hotel stay for crew once they reach their destination, and factor in ramp time for the aircraft before they fly off again.”
“Now, take all of this and double it, since they need to get back as well, and we’re probably looking at somewhere around at least $450,000, if not more!”
That’s a rough estimate, of course, but that’s sort of the point—the guy didn’t even ask what it would cost.
One Reddit user worked for the rich and famous for several years.
“I used to be a nanny to celebrities and high profile New York financial families,” wrote skootch_ginalola.
She shared a few highlights from that time in her life, and they’re pretty over the top.
“One CEO of a famous athletic-wear company and his model wife paid for an entire wardrobe for me to keep at their home. They didn’t want ‘outside clothes’ contaminating their house or infant.”
“I was to take my street clothes into the bathroom near the entrance, take them off, change into my ‘house’ clothing, and then only change back after I was finished with the baby for the day when I was getting ready to leave. They also had a safe filled with cash that I was to use exclusively for my meals, drinks, and take-out food. Then, I was to leave the receipts in the safe.”
“There was a famous fashion designer who paid for a wardrobe for me to wear in the house that was entirely black and white…so I would match the home decor. Didn’t matter what brands of clothing, but everything had to be pure black or white, no patterns or other colors. This included accessories, sneakers, and socks.”
“There was the family who flew me to Antigua from Manhattan for a long weekend to watch their three kids because the parents wanted to ‘relax.’ They had a private-island compound near a famous male celebrity, and the island only was accessible by private plane or private yacht.”
“There was the CEO of an international firm that was married with four children, and each child had their own nanny (I was the nanny to the infant). The couple paid for apartments in Paris and Manhattan for each of us nannies. The family spent six months in Paris and six months in New York every year.”
“Then there was the 20-something-year-old gentleman from a millionaire family who owned a penthouse on Park Avenue. I was hired to work as his housekeeper after he broke his leg in a skiing accident and needed help with daily upkeep and cleaning. When his clothes needed to be washed or the dishes cleaned, instead of cleaning them, I was instructed to throw them away and take the credit cards and just buy new ones. I was yelled at because I didn’t spend enough on the dishes.”
“Working birthday parties for young children of the elite, I’ve seen entire hotels, stadiums, and professional sports training facilities (like equestrian and gymnastics places) completely rented for an entire day just for a toddler party.”
Finally, a slightly depressing story. Remember, people: If you’re lucky enough to get rich, don’t forget about what’s really important in life.
“I was interviewed for a nanny position for two sweet twin girls [who were] about 8 years old. The previous nanny interviewed me. I was puzzled and asked where the parents were.”
“The parents lived in Europe and the twins lived in a mansion in New York. As the nanny, I would have access to all bank accounts and credit cards, and basically raise them in the mansion, taking them to school, appointments, sports, etc. I would have my own black American Express (this was around 2004) and my own floor of the home. I would call the parents in Europe if there were any major issues. This is how the girls had been living for years. No idea if they ever saw their parents.”