While thumbing through the paper (which has become a munificent source for anecdotes lately), I saw this advertisement. The image is a bit odd because this is a scan of a newspaper, so you can see some of the very exciting specials from the Willows Market advertisement on the other side of the same page. Still, you can make it out pretty clearly:
There were two juxtaposing items that struck me about the ad:
- The Lilliputian-sized “home” illustrated in the ad, which appears to have all the architectural allure of a semi-skilled Kindergarten student. The prospective new living space for the target audience constituents of a “living area” the shape (and roughly the size) of a shoebox augmented with an equally tiny bathroom and closet for the three or four garments that you might want to squeeze in there.
- At the same time, there is the very non-Lilliputian monthly fee “starting at” $5,200 every blessed month. Keep in mind this doesn’t build equity. The money is just………gone.
Not content to let the illustrated living space rest of its own laurels, the advertisement details some of the luxurious benefits (bundled as a service called The VIP Club) which you acquire with your $62,400, which include:
- Daily delivery of the Los Altos Town Crier (this is a free newspaper mostly full of ads);
- Two guest meal vouchers per month (so sympathetic family members can dig into some bland chicken dish with creamed corn on the side from time to time);
- Complimentary California Closets consultation upon move-in (let me save you the time: “This closet is really, really small, sir.”)
- And, poignantly, a complimentary Consultation with a downsizing specialist (again, to save time: “Get rid of everything you own except for your bed and maybe a favorite pair of slippers.”)
Of course, if $5,200 a month is a slam-dunk for you, perhaps you’d like to blow past the confines of the above 261 square foot space and indulge in something more luxurious, up to and including a palatial 717 square feet at $9,200 a month, which of course puts you past the six figure market for annual rent. And you’re still going to score that chicken and creamed corn twice a month for your visitors.
I dunno, the whole thing strikes me as simultaneously sad and exploitative. Selling expensive “lifestyles” to the well-to-do elderly is a growing business, but even in the photo below, which was carefully selected by the same company for their website, I can’t help but think that going through the minds of each one of these occupants is something akin to: “Well. Now what?”