My latest favorite snippet of copywriting genius came yesterday in the J. Crew catalog. It refers to an Italian calfskin bag and, I quote: “Is it a splurge if it’s completely worth it?”
Immediately my thoughts turned to tomatoes. Specifically heirloom, that rainbow resurrection that’s been going on for some years now. Not that I easily toss off thoughts of pretty leather handbags; no, I’ve lost days to handbag dreaming.
But I think it would be a productive exercise for us to consider that word ‘splurge’ for a sec. A splurge is the opposite of economical, hardly provident, never necessary. It’s something superfluous, frivolous, but that you spend money on anyway. An indulgence.
Like a tricked-out, tasseled and pebbled Italian leather bag. Like heirloom tomatoes.
If all you take into account is the cost of something (especially when you compare it to the availability of a similar item of baser quality and a much lower price), than heirloom tomatoes can qualify as splurge material. Then again, heirloom tomatoes can be necessary on so many levels. They are, I learned yesterday, a necessary accompaniment to a fine round of recently acquired bucheron. A called-for late afternoon snack, sliced and flecked with sea salt. An irresistible lure for a hungry, curious kindergartner who really should progress her palate beyond her prized grape tomatoes.
In short, completely worth it.
So does their worth make them a splurge, or an essential? Or something of far greater consequence, as the couple shopping next to me concluded while selecting this and that tomato. I quote: “Let’s just have these for dinner.”