Signs of the economic times - our first global bubble?
If Hirst designed a vegetable display, it would look like the shop window at the just-opened Whole Foods Market Inc. branch in Kensington, one of London's ritziest shopping areas. Analysts at JPMorgan Chase & Co. calculate that Kensington could contribute as much as 1.8 percent of the food retailer's total sales. Whole Foods said last month that second-quarter revenue was $1.46 billion.
It's a food-porn cathedral dedicated to organic this, natural that and locally produced the other. On a Monday afternoon, the place was packed with gym-buffed yummy mummies driving designer pushchairs and doing battle in the produce- crammed aisles with trolley-dragging wealthy retirees.
The zeitgeist-defining product among the free-range bananas, organic spring water and corn-fed soup is a 60-year-old Vecchia Dispensa balsamic vinegar, costing almost $200 for a triangular 100 milliliter bottle stoppered with red wax seals.
You know there's a bubble when an overgrown U.S. chain store can sell antique vinegar to Britons at 32 times the price of Nicolas Feuillatte champagne. [More - check out how kids are getting to summer camp these days]
Try as I might, I cannot wrap my mind around the staggering wealth growth in the world, and especially our own country. Sometimes anecdotes help to get a perspective, but mostly I think I've dropped out of the mainstream.
Or I'm just clueless.