So About That 1%…

Photo courtesy of Serendipity3

From a press release:

“Serendipity3 sold their first $1000 Golden Opulence Sundae today to celebrate a boy’s 12th birthday. The Golden Opulence was presented to the boy this afternoon during his birthday party with his parents and 9 other friends. Interestingly enough, the boy’s mother also celebrated her 12th birthday at Serendipity3 in New York.

The Golden Opulence Sundae is recognized by the Guinness Book of World Records as the most expensive Sundae priced at $1,000. The famous sundae was created in 2004 to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the New York landmark location of Serendipity3.

The Golden Opulence Sundae is a big, luxurious and unique desert that is served in a Baccarat Harcourt Crystal goblet (which you get to keep after). The sundae is made with Tahitian vanilla bean ice cream infused with Madagascar vanilla that is covered in 23 carat edible gold leaf. The sundae has the most expensive chocolate in the world (Amedei Porceleana) drizzled over it and is covered with chunks of Chuao chocolate. It is topped with a small glass bowl of golden colored caviar and sweetened and infused with fresh orange, passion fruit and Armagnac. Other elements of the sundae include truffles, gold dipped French dragées, and marzipan fruits.

Serendipity3 opened their DC location in May 2011 in Georgetown. Serendipity3 is patronized by many famous people today and was regularly frequented by icons such as Marilyn Monroe, Andy Warhol and First Lady Jackie O.
Serendipity3 is located at 3150 M ST. NW”

113 Comment

  • better them spending that money than keeping it.

    • houseintherear

      Exactly. This concept is lost on most of “the 99%”.

      • Seems like there are some concepts that are lost on you as well.

      • Right. SO much better that absurdly rich people spend their money on $1,000 desserts, huge suvs, private jets, insanely expensive leather and fur goods than, say, spending it on things they actually need and investing it in environmental or educational programs.

        Consumerism is NOT the answer. Anyone who thinks so has been brainwashed.

      • At least he spent it in America. Unfortunately, trickle-down-economics is essentially broken given how easy it is to spend the excess cash in America.

        Think about it, quite difficult to spend 500k+ a year in America. That money winds up getting spent on trips to the Greek Isles, and Gucci and Prada. Not really “trickling” down to help the economy here…

      • I think the concept lost on “the 99%” is the idea that people who buy $1,000 golden sundaes can’t afford to see the end of the Bush tax cuts because they’re creating jobs with all the golden sundaes they buy.

  • andy

    I can’t read this without remembering the “Taco Town” bit from Saturday Night Live.

  • My kid would prefer FrozenYo.

  • Emmaleigh504

    That looks disgusting.

  • At a worldwide scale I am in the 1%.

  • Who cares. The issue isn’t whether only 1% of the population can afford a $1000 sundae. The issue is whether the other 99% can, if they choose to, put themselves into a financial position to afford a $1000 sundae.
    It’s not about income inequality, it’s about inequality of opportunity. It’s not about government intervening in “free” markets, it’s about government only intervening on one side of those markets.

    • houseintherear


    • I get that, I do. But I really do believe (perhaps wrongly) that most people who have a lot of money had not only the opportunity to get ahead, but also the intelligence and passion to do it. Of those top top 1%, I’d reckon that the majority of them were not born into that money, but rather earned it. Maybe they stepped on the backs of the people that they worked with, but it’s not like they just stumbled on some treasure.

      I still believe people can make that kind of money if they are smart, talented and driven.

      I think some in our generation (not me for some reason, but I’m probably the exception) that were lied to as kids, thinking that a) they had to go to college for ANYTHING, and they’d have a well-paying job and b) there was shame in work that didn’t require a college degree. Neither one is true now, if it ever was.

      • “…thinking that a) they had to go to college for ANYTHING, and they’d have a well-paying job and b) there was shame in work that didn’t require a college degree.”

        This is what I grew up thinking, and its been a hard struggle to try and put a crack in 20’some years of conditioning.

        • I think that for a long, long time, people who chose to work on a trade versus going to school were looked down on as “blue collar” and unintelligent. I can tell you, by how much they can make with a trade that can weather a recession (always going to need a plumber!), they’re the enviable ones right now.

        • I think for most baby boomers that was true–if you went to college you got a good job. The question to ask is what has happened?

          • We fell into a recession. Even when I went to school pre-recession, I was under no pretense that what I was majoring was really going to land me a great job. Out of college I started out as an administrative assistant, doing tasks I thought were beneath me. But I worked my way up fast, because I went above and beyond what I needed to do, and I did things no one else wanted to do.

          • What’s your definition of a “good” job? In the context of a discussion about income inequality, I define a “good” job is one that pays enough to allow you to support yourself. I’m not talking car, house, annual vacations; I’m talking food and shelter for yourself, the basic necessities of life with the occasional indulgence in a non-necessity, and some modicum of savings for the future. In prior generations, there was a wider swath of jobs that met this requirement. Many did not require an education beyond high school. Now, the great majority of such jobs require if not a college degree, some additional education beyond a high school diploma (assuming that the person with the high school degree can actually read, write, and do math at a high school gradute level). And the number of these jobs is only increasing.

      • A lot of those 1%, like Warren Buffet, say that most of their money came from luck.

        I also don’t know why it’s OK that someone born into upper middle class doesn’t have to work too hard to get into the 1% and that someone born into poverty has to work a million times harder to get to the same place.

        • how is it not okay? is it okay that turtles can live so long but dogs so short?

          is it okay that tall people have a better likelihood of making the basketball team than short people?

          what is the alternative?
          redistribution of wealth? aint gonna fly.

        • I’m not sure the majority of them would say it was luck. Maybe a little, but I’m sure Bill Gates had a great vision and skills to back it up.

          “I also don’t know why it’s OK that someone born into upper middle class doesn’t have to work too hard to get into the 1% and that someone born into poverty has to work a million times harder to get to the same place.” – I can’t think of one place on earth that this isn’t true, though. Not everyone can have the same opportunities. That’s life. It’s not fair, and you can’t take it with you when you die, but that’s life. And that’s kind of the beauty of this country. A person with the right talent can get pretty far.

          • The 99% aren’t upset because the 1% have so much, but because the 99% often have so little. If the 1% wants to spend a $1000 on a sundae, that’s fine, but it’s hard not to look at it harshly when you know that people are struggling to keep up with the basics, such as their healthcare premiums (if they have insurance), college loans, and taking care of one or both sets of parents, all the while your kids’ school is getting crappier because of cuts in the budget. It’s not that the 99% want the ability to buy that sundae, they just want to live out their lives not stressing so much about how much everything else costs. That 1% gets extraordinary advantages by making money off of money at the expense of the 99% (e.g. capital gains rate, deductions, loopholes). The money they don’t pay is money that can’t be used to better our schools or have a more fair and equitable healthcare system. God forbid the capital gains rate goes up to 25% and they can only afford a $500 sundae. Horror.

          • “The timing was right for the people who got to do it. And that is a lucky thing for them. Certainly, Microsoft got to play that role and involved a lot of people, and it’s been fun.” — Bill Gates

            “Everything in life is luck.” — Donald Trump

            “You’re going to get one ball out of there, and that is the most important thing that’s ever going to happen to you in your life.” — Warren Buffett, referring to the “ovarian lottery”

          • At 15th:

            I 100% agree. I worry about how I’m going to pay my health insurance premiums every month. I just graduated from law school and am currently looking for a job. I don’t care about a $1,000 sundae. But I do care about being able to pay for a serious illness should I ever become diagnosed with one. That’s the crux of the issue.

          • me

            But Sarah, I hate to say it, but you say you just graduated from law school. 3 years ago, when you were getting into law school, they were already saying how there were too many lawyers and there were lawyers who had been in the industry for years that couldn’t find jobs. I knew many because I dated one back then who graduated in the top of his class from one of the top schools with 2 clerkships under his belt, one being federal, and he and his friends still had issues finding anything. When the economy is down, as it has been for years, one should try to find a job skill that would be in demand, which is the opposite of what lawyers are.

            I know someone who is out of work because she has an advanced degree in a super-specialized field, and then gets upset when she can’t find the *perfect* job. So she chooses to stay unemployed, not taking available part-time or full-time jobs in her area at a bookstore or at a cafe, and get upset because she has no money and will have to move out of her apartment because she can’t afford it anymore. That, to me, is baffling.

      • Outliers. It’s true. there is a reason they’re part of the 1%. Opportunity + Luck + Drive usually = success

    • A lot of the 99% spend money on things they really can’t afford.,10836/

      (I know, it’s satire, but it’s funny because it’s true.)

  • that doesn’t even sound like it tastes good. But, on the plus side, that’s $100 in sales tax for the DC coffers, and hopefully at least that in tips for the lucky waiter or waitress.

    • “that doesn’t even sound like it tastes good.”

      From the photo above, it doesn’t look like it tastes good either!

  • this is disgusting. also, I can’t figure out how the kid’s mother had one on her 12th birthday if it was only created in 2004.

  • I don’t think being a little extravagant is something to worry about but this is so stupid and out there.

    I would think great sports tickets with a fun dinner for a few friends may be better appreciated. For a boy (unless he isn’t sporty). Or say a great trip. (both of which might spread that money out a bit better than one dish at a single restaurant)

    This just screams Ugly American to me.

    • I agree with you. But I think the actual sadness is that they probably took a great trip, went to a sports game, ate at Komi and still had $100 million dollars left — so they decided to buy the Sunday just for the hell of it.

      Overconsumption is a social problem with drastic income inequality. And it is the problem with this Sunday.

      Aside from all of our political, philosophical and economic leanings I would hope that we can agree it is a sadness that one human being can be sold a $1,000 dessert while others starve to death.

      • You don’t buy something like this for the hell of it–you buy it because you want attention.

        What do you want to bet that this family isn’t even that wealthy? People who are secure in their money don’t usually feel the need to flaunt it like that.

        • False. They are just more careful about picking the audience to which they are flaunting it (their other rich friends).

          And this is Serendipity3’s press release to drum up interest in their Georgetown location. It doesn’t mention the name of the family.

    • What does that mean – Ugly American?

      I saw lots Americans acting Ugly over in Europe…

      This sounds like a little sour grapes and alot of hating.

      • No sour grapes (I was definitely upper middle class growing up) and not a whole lot of hating (I don’t spend a lot of time hating on people who aren’t worth it when there are plenty of people to hate on who are worth hating on).

        It just seems sad to me – extravagance for extravagance sake.

    • funny you say that. i am NOT in the 1% but just laid out a pile of money for a pair of tix (at the end zone, second row up) for me and my 7-year old to see his first pro football game (Patriots hosting Miami). still feeling buyer’s remorse (and the deserved scorn of my spouse), but the boy is super sporty, obsessed with football and is a big Pats fan. i can’t wait to see his face when he discovers where we are going on an “errand” that day…

      • me

        That warms my heart- he will remember that for the rest of his life. Have a fantastic time.

        • thanks! I am so excited i can almost NOT keep it a secret…

          I hope he will remember this for a long time. i bet Richie Rich forgets that sundae well before he craps it out of his gold-plated bunghole.

  • I think Serendipity3 should give one to each of the Occupy DC protestors as a gesture of good will 😉

  • Color me middle class, but I prefer to pay $7 for a pint of Dollcezza or Pintago gelato than blow a grand on a sundae.

  • Yeah… for being $1000 worth of ice cream, that doesn’t even look very tasty.

  • Beyond everything else, why would you want to eat caviar along with ice cream? Nauseating.

  • Whole bit’s good, gets relevant at 3:37 –

  • Anyone ever hear David Cross’ bit about edible gold? Comedy genius! For good measure, I bet this kid turns out to be a trustafarian.

    • He’s probably already a horrible little shit.

      it’s one thing to have an obscene amount of money and spend it on yourself. it’s another to raise a child with such a ridiculous standard of living that they never get a concept of the value of money.

      • just like the buddha.

      • Did it ever occur to you that maybe this was the only thing this kid wanted for his birthday, and maybe his parents scraped together enough money to give it to him? I mean it’s not impossible, right?

        • I’m sorry, but if his parents had to scrape together $1,000 to buy this as a birthday present for their kid, that is an incredibly stupid use of money. No 12-year old needs a $1,000 sundae for his birthday, but someone who’s parents can barely afford it really doesn’t need one.

          I don’t have a problem with his parents buying it for him if they could easily afford it. I still think it’s a waste of money, but that’s up to them.

        • +1

          It’s so easy to assume that this was a rich-family scenario. It is possible that the family saved, maybe worked more than 1 job in order to make a birthday to remember for their child. No matter who are the parents, parents often try to do what they can to make the child happy. Would it change your view if you knew the family worked their butt off to buy this sundae for their child’s birthday? Just sayin’

      • Does the sundae come with an oompa loompa?

    • “But Nunu needs her medicine” “Pffffft” Hilarious!

  • I think the bigger issue is not that people can afford $1000 sundaes, but the fact that someone thought it was appropriate to buy a 10-year old a dessert so expensive that it warranted a press release.

    What great values to instill in a kid–lets spend our money on ridiculous extravagant stuff to show off how rich we are.

    No matter how much money I have in the future, I’d try to raise my kids to appreciate simplicity, humility, and frugality. I can think of a zillion better ways to spend $1000 on a child.

    • I wholeheartedly agree with this comment. Someone celebrating a 30th anniversary or a 65th birthday that had the money and purchased it would not bother me. The fact that someone would buy it for a twelve-year old troubles me.

  • This makes me think of Vercua Salt in the chocolate factory:

    “Hey Daddy, I want a golden goose!!!!”

  • In what world does caviar go with ice cream? And when that kid dies are they going to find all the gold leaf stuck up against his intestines? Gross, practically child abuse. Johnny here have a homemade sundae and give $999 dollars to the family homeless shelter. Off with Mom’s head.

    • Thank you. All the 99% vs 1% stuff might be valid if the dessert sounded tasty, but caviar and ice cream sounds gross!

  • What an elegant way to solve the labor-consumer mismatch of our post-industrial epoch! Retrain the rotting-on-the-vine industrial middle class of America to construct shi shi desserts. Why waste time heaping scorn and abuse on the talented job creating class? Who here thinks that 12-year old DID NOT DESERVE a sundae that was 100-250 times more expensive than the average birthday sundae? The unseen hand of marketplace talent and competition decided that the boy and his parents are 100-250 times more talented and important than us and our children. Do we really need further evidence beyond what Serendipty has furnished? That same boy deserves 100-250 times better healthcare than other American children. He should survive cancer that most poor-man’s oncologists would consider inoperable/terminal.

    If you have the means to gratify yourself in a baroque and absurd manner, you must have had the talent to DESERVE such gratification (see William Burroughts “AJ the Billionaire’s Birthday Party” in Wild Boys).

  • long live internet judgement!

  • My boyfriend works at a 4-star restaurant and I have never been able to understand how/why people will spend hundreds of dollars (or more) on food and wine. Apparently it’s all about “the experience”, but I will never understand that.

    I don’t think I ever had a store-bought cake, much less a $1000 dollar sundae.

  • My boyfriend works at a 4-star restaurant and I have never been able to understand how/why people will spend hundreds of dollars (or more) on food and wine. Apparently it’s all about “the experience”. I just don’t GET IT!

    I don’t think I ever had a store-bought cake, much less a $1000 dollar sundae.

  • Consumerism is the answer if you want a roaring economy.

    I dont have a problem with rich people spending a ton of money. In fact, I encourage it. Beats the hell out of it hoarding so much that it couldnt be spent for generations. In fact, if every rich person bought a ton of really expensive things, preferably with lots of american made parts and a ton of american staffed services, and then all of those employees did the same thing, we’d have a pretty decent economy on our hands.

  • Kalorini

    You can’t take it with you? That’s what my mom says when she spends money on something. Still though.. this is absurd.

  • If the haterade was any thicker in here, you’d smell it coming off the monitor. Everybody buys crap, but people with more money buy more expensive crap. Get over it. And honestly, if I had the means and that I thought this would make my kid very happy, I’d probably buy it for him. The best thing about having is giving, and being able to indulge the ones you love kicks ass.

  • If you have $1000 to spend on dessert, go for it. But this doesn’t even sound enjoyable, much less enticing. It’s like they decided to take all the rich-sounding words they could find and put them on a plate without caring whether or not it tasted worthwhile, which seems silly because that would only appeal to people too shallow to care that they were eating junk so long as it sounded good…oh, hey, wait a second…

  • I think you guys totally missed the fact that he got free sprinkles.
    Seriously if somebody earned enough money to spend $1000 on a Sundae then who gives a hoot. Its their money they can spend it how they like. I myself wouldn’t spend $5.50 on a latte every morning but I don’t begrudge those who do.

  • pennyworth

    this has nothing on the lover’s delight

  • God forbid this person pays a little more in taxes to help pay for the infrastructure that GOT the gold to D.C…

  • Happy Birthday Kid! I have no problem with this. I don’t know the parents financial situation and I’m not going to brand this kid a little obnoxious jerk just because his parents bought an expensive sundae…. people spend insane amounts of money on ridiculous things ALL THE TIME. Everyone has a choice in what they do. Y’all can sit up here and judge them based on what you would do or wouldn’t do, but it doesn’t matter. not a bit. you’re just yapping to feel better about yourselves and flaunt the fact that you think you’re better/more responsible than this family. So again, HAPPY BIRTHDAY KID!

  • Absolutely absurd. What message does this teach a 12 year old kid? I guess he’s probably already used to extravagent abundance in his life if his parents can pay $1000 for an ice cream party. If the parents had any morals, they could have taken the kids to Baskin Robbins or Chuck-e-Cheese and spent $100 and donated the other $900 to charity. I hate rich people.

  • Also, XKCD:

    Golden Opulence sundae featured in the “thousands” section.

  • Do you have a link to this press release, PoP? A Google search for a few of the quoted phrases only turns up links back to this site…

  • So which is a worse waste of money – $1000 on ice cream for a kid, or $1000 worth of crack? or $1000 on a bike that you don’t lock up?

    And lay off the kid – at least we can be pretty sure he’s not the one stealing bikes or TAZERing people or the usual stuff we complain about.

  • You did read that he was there with several of his friends, correct? Perhaps it was a large group effort to pool the money in order to do something unique for the kid’s birthday party (as I’m sure that they all were able to partake in it).

    Seriously, get over yourselves.

  • 1% of the population has 80% of the stuff. That 1% didn’t do 80% of what was necessary to earn that portion of the stuff. Adjustments need made. Protections put in place. Fairness needs placed back into the system, so the needs of the many may be protected from the uncontrolled excess of the few. It’s true that unfairness does exist in the world. But humans have the mental capacity and moral obligation to smooth that unfairness out. That $1,000 could feed a family for a month!

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