Stock markets are in turmoil all over the world,
I am queuing up with the Littleboys for our usual – a latte and two apple juice cartons - at one of the local park cafes, when the following scene occurs:
The middle-class looking woman in front of me in the queue is buying breakfast for her brood of children, when suddenly all hell breaks loose. “I’m sorry, but I can’t believe,” she thunders, “that you are charging FIVE POUNDS for scrambled egg and toast. I simply cannot believe it.” She puts down her tray, and storms out, leaving the Italian waiter blinking in astonishment.
Now, my friends and I have often moaned about the extortionate prices charged in this, and other, local cafes – those with a captive audience of mothers with hungry children in pushchairs seem particularly good at it. But NEVER before have I seen anyone actually complain.
Clearly, the tide is turning. Later, in the playground, I meet one of the mums from our erstwhile toddler music class, Rabbit Rhymes (from which we were ‘constructively dismissed’, as I described here) in the playground. The class we attended used to be so popular that it had a waiting list; according to her, it is now so empty that her son has had to be reassigned to another one.
So it got me thinking (apologies if I sound like Carrie Bradshaw here); perhaps we have been living through a rarefied age here in middle-class
And I’m not just talking about rich bankers’ families; wealth is infectious, and some of the least rich people I know have spent ludicrous money on luxurious but unnecessary items. We have all been living in a bubble of prosperity, fuelled by City salaries, ridiculous house prices and crazy mortgages. And the backlash begins here; five quid for scrambled egg on toast.
I don’t want to be flippant in any way about the credit crunch (who knows where it will end? and is anyone safe?) but I do wonder this; will we look back at this era in a decade’s time, and think, how mad was that?