Expensive food. What’s it worth?

When I think of the dinner I had last Tuesday night, I’d be lying if the bill didn’t spring to mind almost immediately.  It’s not that I’m cheap – ok, so I do like a good deal from time to time and yes, I do own the Entertainer – it’s that, Tuesday’s dinner was possibly the most expensive food we’ve ever had. And that may even include that 7 year anniversary dinner we had at Gaucho in London Piccadilly. Even at today’s exchange rate (actually that’s a lie. That was more.)

While I could really get into a debate on the value of the rand, on the fact that annual salary increases are hardly increases at all when you consider one bag of groceries from Woolies for two or three nights dinners costs four or five hundred rand and the diesel price just jumped up about R1,60 a litre. Its about the value of a dinner. And that perhaps dinner at an award winning restaurant for R600 per head (it’s the wine and tip on it all that pushes you into gulp mode) is actually rather reasonable?

I was offered a pair of running shoes (a product) or this dinner (an experience) as my birthday present this year. Ok, little did I know I’d actually land up with both (go Hawkins!) so to really understand the value of eating 5 courses of beautiful, expensive food vs stylish and very functional running shoes that I really needed (and wanted. More wanted than needed) – I did what I do. I rationalised.

Casual dinner out at somewhere like La Parada, or Tigers Milk or Societi Bistro, especially when the evening is shared with friends and the bill is split can easily land up at R500 per couple. And that’s just a casual dinner. A funsie dinner (of patrone shots to start) could land up way past that. I mean, breakfast on Easter Sunday at Millhouse (while amazing) was already R350 for the two of us. That’s only with two cappuccinos and a buffet. Actually wait, that was overpriced.

So dinner somewhere fancy, for a birthday, eating food made by an award winning chef, in an award winning restaurant at an award winning hotel (I’m actually not sure any of those statements are factually accurate) – that is worth three times a casual dinner, right?

For some, no. Not at all. Paying out that sort of money just seems ridiculous. Especially when you could choose the running shoes. You know, the shoes that will make you feel like you’re running on air. Its a product vs experience thing. Choosing the memory (that may fade) over the item (that lives on. Every day. When you go for a run).

I guess its like travelling. Or staying at a 5 star lodge when there is availability at the 3 star one. And we all know how I feel about travelling (and fancy lodges). No prizes for guessing which present I chose. Its lucky I got the shoes as the bonus present.

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