When Things Were Better: Here's Some Prosperity Porn

Categories: Advice

Photo by Lizzerd Souffle
As we continue to inch through this dark economic period, the only alluring things to hear about are stories of way better times.

I get positively hot remembering the bounty that filled the '80s and '90s, and explode with delight when I come across an old invite, gift bag, or sumptuous buffet residue.

So lube up and let me tell you how it was:

*Parties were abundant, and they had astonishing budgets and infinite guest lists. Even the invites were elaborately thought out and produced--like a pill that opens up in water, dispensing the relevant info, to name one example. Events were incredibly lavish, with food and production values dripping from every crevice. Nightclubs redid their décor from top to bottom on a regular basis, and the managers walked around dispensing free drink tickets as if they were penny candy. One club's employees would walkie talkie my drink choice as I arrived so by time I got upstairs to the VIP lounge, someone was holding the beverage out for me! Now promoters act like they don't see you. And except for HBO parties, crackers and cheese are usually what goes for "sumptuous".

*Even the worst party was worth it for the gift bag. You'd inevitably leave with a year's supply of skin cremes, body scrubs, music, accessories, and useful coupons. These days, gift bags are rare, and even if you do get one, it'll be loaded down with postcards and promos from the sponsors, plus a coupon for "3% off any purchase over $1000".

*Glossy magazines paid as much as $20 a word. You could practically live off one paragraph a month. If you had a contract, they would also send you regular gifts, like elaborate baskets of fruit and sausages, and monogrammed diary books and calendars. Magazines even paid you extra for reprints. And the expense accounts were unlimited. I know people who'd expense anything they could think of--subscriptions, trips, etc.--whether they were job-reated or not, and got reimbursed!

*Books and CDs were automatically sent to press people, by the thousand. Now they make sure to first send a press release and ask, "Would you like us to send you a review copy?"

Spent yet? Good because it's time to go back to grubbing for paper clips and paying for drinks.

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