For London Bankers, It's Once Again Socially Acceptable To Buy Expensive Stuff, Shove A Bunch Of Hundos In A Stripper's G-String

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I know I don't need to tell you that there have been terrible consequences to the financial crisis. People have lost their homes. They've lost their jobs. Some have lost their wills to live. Many of those whose jobs remained intact saw their bonuses take a painful hit. One of the lesser known stories is that of the financial services employees who lost neither their jobs nor their sizable compensation package. They too have suffered, possibly even more so than the victims the media chose to focus on. Because they had the money to spend but couldn't, for fear of coming off as insensitive, in these trying times. Oh, no, wouldn't want to upset anyone, the thinking was. Today, however, some heartening news comes from across the pond. You don't have to be afraid anymore.

A boom in hedonistic “greed is good” spending is sweeping through London after two years of recessionary restraint...West End stores, clubs and restaurants say they have been astounded by the sudden spike in guilt-free spending in recent weeks on a scale that would have been unthinkable even six months ago. Andrew Hawes, managing director of Bollinger UK, said it was currently impossible to get enough of its £120 a bottle Special Cuvée into Britain because demand is so strong. He said: “There was a time when people certainly didn't want to be seen with an expensive bottle of champagne — but we're past that phase now.”

It gets better.

Even City traders' Tottenham Court Road lap dancing hangout Spearmint Rhino, which fell heavily out of favour during the credit crunch years, is back in vogue. Vice-president John Specht said: “We sold out of Cristal champagne last night and that stuff costs £395 a bottle. Six City guys come in and drop £5,000 to take the VIP area for the evening.

“A few nights ago we had four guys from the Middle East who bought £20,000 in chips for dances and drinks. After service charges they spent £24,000. It's shocking, it's back to the days of five or six years ago. Those sort of customers are starting to come back, there's been a huge increase just in the past five or six weeks.”

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