Thursday, October 06, 2016

A tisket, a tasket, a Rolls-Royce picnic basket

As I near the first anniversary of my condo reno, it occurs to me that it has also been quite a while since wrote a large check or made a major ‘not exactly necessary, but why not’ purchase (c.f., SubZero fridge). So I thought I’d graze around and see what was on offer, just in case the urge to splurge came over me. It’s not likely to happen, but I do like to be prepared, especially if things turn out all right, election wise, and I don’t feel the need to cash out and sneak over the Canadian border in the dead of night.

It didn’t take long for an object of my affection to come into my line of sight. Maybe we’re heading out of picnic season in these here parts, but who wouldn’t want a Rolls-Royce picnic basket? Even if it does cost $46K.

The picture doesn’t do it much justice, but what actually could do a $46K picnic basket justice, other than someone who looked like Liam RR basket 2Neeson in his prime taking you on a picnic with it.

But it’s plenty luxurious, and plenty snappy, and just the thing that I can imagine Lord Peter Wimsey pulling out of his car’s boot to impress Harriet Vane with. Or put to use by Jeeves, man-servanting for Bertie Wooster.

But why, tell me, do pictures of picnic baskets always portray cheese, grapes, and apples? (They usually feature a baguette, as well, though none is shown here.) Not that there’s anything wrong with cheese, grapes, and apples. Some of my best foods are cheese, grapes, and apples – all of which are currently sitting,at my beck and call, in that SubZero fridge of mine. Most of the picnics I’ve gone on in my life featured food stuffs like ham sandwiches and State Line potato chips, washed down with some lemonade from the plaid thermos jug. Then again, minus the SubZero, I roll in more modest circumstances than Lord Peter Wimsey or Bertie Wooster.

Anyway, the Rolls-Royce of picnic baskets – literally and figuratively – is quite a bit more luxe and pricey than the high end numbers you can get at Fortnum & Mason or Williams-Sonoma. The Fortnum & Mason fancy-pants version is only $700, and Williams-Sonoma has one for $350. Both look plenty luxurious to me, but, of course, I grew up with one that looked more of less like this:


We were a large enough family that we had two, which were used on our annual trip to the beach, and the odd, occasional Labor Day picnic. If I weren’t so lazy, I’d include a picture of the actual one that I inherited, but it’s up on a shelf, full of papers. But this is the look, more or less. Today, something like this could run you $70 or so. I suspect my parents paid less than $5 for theirs.

Alas, even if I really wanted the R-R picnic basket, there’s a catch.

You can’t just buy one online. It’s an add-on, an upgrade for that Rolls-Royce you’re thinking of buying.

In honor of the last 50 Phantom coupes that the brand will ever make, it is also making 50 high-end picnic hampers that fit perfectly in the back. (The trunk of a Phantom, as you may know, opens downward, transforming into the perfect padded platform for a posh tailgate.) If you buy one, the marque will supply custom-made leather straps to keep it locked firmly in place. (Source: Bloomberg)

When you’re fork, knife, and spooning over $400K a car, what’s another $46K for a picnic basket? Especially given that the walnut is hand-carved, and the place settings have “real platinum accents, and the crystal glassware and liquor decanters are hand-etched.”

Maybe Zipcar, which does have some high-end cars for hire, and provides my wheels when I need them, will invest in a Phantom coupe. Don’t forget the picnic basket!

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