Sterling Silver Building Bricks, Tiffany's
Tiffany & Co.

Wastes of Money Sold to You by Luxury Retailers

View Slideshow
Full Destroyed Paris High Top Sneaker | Balenciaga
Balenciaga

More Money Than Sense

Even a site called Cheapism isn't immune to the appeal of the finer things in life, whether it's a true extravagance or splurging a little on everyday items. Still, there are some head-scratching luxury goods we would never buy, even with billions in the bank. Chief among them: Balenciaga's latest sneakers, which ... well ... make an interesting statement. 


Related: 80 Things You Don't Need to Buy

Balenciaga PARIS HIGH TOP SNEAKER FULL DESTROYED
Balenciaga

Full Destroyed Paris High Top Sneaker | Balenciaga

Forget ripped jeans — the latest high-end fashion trend is "distressed" sneakers. Luxury fashion house Balenciaga just released a footwear line called Full Destroyed that boasts rips, tears, stains, and the distinct aura of something that was unearthed from the floor of a teenager's closet, if not the city dump. Perhaps more shockingly, the high tops sell for $1,850 — and raise questions about luxury brands selling poverty as an aesthetic for the rich.


RelatedWhere to Buy Shoes and Boots That Are Made in America

Gucci Xbox
Gucci

Designer Xbox | Gucci

Video-game consoles are a splurge even when they aren't designer-branded, but get a load of Gucci's contribution to the gaming world. Its special-edition Xbox is branded with Gucci's laser-cut logo and includes two customized controllers, a subscription to Xbox Game Pass Unlimited, and perhaps most obnoxiously, a suitcase-inspired Gucci carrying case for the whole setup. Only 100 of the numbered consoles were made available, and we regret to say it's game over for anyone who would consider a luxury Xbox: They're all sold out, despite costing $10,000.


Related: Brand Mashups You Never Saw Coming

Chanel Advent Calendar
Chanel

No. 5 Limited Edition Advent Calendar | Chanel

Luxury Advent calendars are nothing new, but in the age of TikTok and endless "unboxing" videos, they better be spectacular. Chanel found that out the hard way after its $825 calendar so underwhelmed influencers that it made headlines for being such a disappointment. While there were cosmetics and perfumes, there were also plenty of items deemed unworthy of the price tag, including stickers, keychains, a plastic snow globe, a flipbook, and a dust bag. The furor prompted Chanel to apologize, though it did note that the contents of the calendar were detailed on its website.

Nike Air Force One LXX x Swarovski
Nike

Nike Air Force One LXX | Swarovski

Want some sneakers that really have bling? These Nike Air Force 1 kicks for women will set you back $450. Covered in more than 228 individual unfaceted retroreflective Swarovski crystals created for Nike, these shoes come in black or white. If you're feeling crafty, the crystals are held in by a modular four-piece shroud that you can customize by using a mini screwdriver — studded with a Swarovski crystal — included in the box. 


Related: The Most Expensive Sneakers Ever Sold at Auction

The Complete Sistine Chapel | Bergdorf Goodman
Bergdorf Goodman

The Complete Sistine Chapel | Bergdorf Goodman

Can't make it to Vatican City for a glimpse of the Sistine Chapel, or maybe you're just too famous to wait in line to see it? For $22,000, this comprehensive book will make it feel like you're there, but without the annoying regular people around to bother you.

Luxury Garden Hose Kit | Goop
Goop

Luxury Garden Hose Kit | Goop

It isn't likely a member of the 1% has to water his or her lawn unless it's desired, but in case the call of the garden is heard, this hose kit makes watering just a little classier — for $307. But if any green hose will do (newsflash: it will), pick up something that will also keep your plants lush at Home Depot for $31. 


For more fun retail stories,
please sign up for our free newsletters.

Dog With Lollipop | Saks Fifth Avenue
Saks Fifth Avenue

Dog With Lollipop | Saks Fifth Avenue

Who doesn't love bulldogs? And who doesn't love lollipops? This 13-inch Lladro sculpture combines the two for more than $1,500. Sure, it looks like something you might pick up for under $30 at Marshall's, but no one has to know.

The All American Carousel | Hammacher Schlemmer
Hammacher Schlemmer

The All American Carousel | Hammacher Schlemmer

Want your kids to be the envy of the neighborhood while simultaneously saluting the red, white, and blue? This kiddie carousel will be outgrown in a flash, but it's just $10,000. Considering it plays five songs — Stars and Stripes Forever, Entry March of the Gladiators, William Tell Overture Finale, Waltz of the Flowers, and the Carousel Waltz — it's really a bargain at any price.

Theodent 300 Toothpaste, Theodent
Theodent

Theodent 300 Toothpaste | Theodent

If what comes to mind when someone says "expensive toothpaste" is Sensodyne or Tom's of Maine, these brands cost chump change compared with Theodent 300, which is $100 a tube. This whitening crystal mint flavor contains a high dose of Rennou, the company's proprietary blend of minerals and an extract derived from cocoa beans that aims to strengthen enamel. Of course, if the toothpaste savings account is running low, the company's classic toothpaste is just $16.

SMEG Dolce & Gabbana Toaster, Williams & Sonoma
Williams Sonoma

SMEG Dolce & Gabbana Toaster | Williams & Sonoma

A Sicilian-inspired collaboration between SMEG and Dolce & Gabbana produces a $650 toaster with two slots, six browning levels, knob controls, and a removable crumb tray — in other words, nothing missing from toasters that run less than $55 on Amazon. But if you're a fan of the style, check out the $10,000 ovens and equally ornate $10,000 fridges.


Amethyst Water Bottle, Goop
Goop

Amethyst Water Bottle | Goop

Gwyneth Paltrow's Goop has been mocked incessantly for its high-priced new-age products. Case in point: An $84 water bottle (marked down to $34) with an amethyst plunked in the middle "to infuse water with positive energy." 

Gold Dumbbells, Moda Operandi
Hock Design

Gold Dumbbells | Moda Operandi

These $125,000 gold dumbbells by Hock Design were "an opulent workout accessory, investment, and truly modern objet d'art for the home." It was important not to sweat on them too much: Each German-made dumbbell contains 2,000 grams of 18-karat gold and has handles made from rare Grenadilla wood. They're sold out, of course.

Balenciaga Shopper Tote Bag, Barney's
Barneys

Balenciaga Shopper Tote Bag | Barney’s

To some, this out-of-stock $2,000 Balenciaga bag may simply look like a luxe leather tote. To anyone with a passing familiarity with flat-packed furniture, it looks suspiciously similar to Ikea's iconic blue shopping bag, which is made from recyclable plastic and costs just over a buck. "Nothing beats the versatility of a great big blue bag," Ikea said in response.

Sterling Silver Ball of Yarn, Tiffany's
Tiffany & Co.

Sterling Silver Ball of Yarn | Tiffany’s

Haven't we all yearned for a sterling silver ball of yarn? Perhaps the most head-scratching item in Tiffany's "Everyday Objects" collection, which featured such things as a sterling silver coffee can and crazy straw, the textured silver yarn is handcrafted by store artisans in New York. Sadly, the $9,000 item is out of stock.

Gold-Plated Staples, Oooms
Oooms

Gold-Plated Staples | Oooms

If you're the boss (or just want to look like one, despite the eye rolls of coworkers) this set of 14-karat gold-plated staples is for you. "The overly bland corporate environment can use any type of excitement boost that it can get," the product description enthuses. Two dozen staples sets you back about $66, or a little less than $3 each.

Gold-Plated Slinky, Neiman Marcus
Neiman Marcus

Gold-Plated Slinky | Neiman Marcus

On the subject of things that have no business being gold, Neiman Marcus would have loved to sell you this 14-karat gold-plated brass Slinky for $150. Of course, it came with a collector's case, but good luck wedging it back inside after the kid twists and kinks it into oblivion. But no worries — it's completely sold out.

Leather-Wrapped Rock, Nordstrom
Nordstrom

Leather-Wrapped Rock | Nordstrom

Nordstrom was roundly panned in 2016 for selling a rock in a leather pouch for a cool $85. "A paperweight? A conversation piece? A work of art? It's up to you," the product description read. Predictably, it was mocked widely, but the joke is on us — it still sold out. And looks like a smoking bargain compared with Hermes' $840 rock paperweight.


Related: The Best Funny and Gag Gifts to Give Your Friends This Year

Gucci Sock Sandal, Nordstrom
Nordstrom

Gucci Sock Sandal | Nordstrom

The second-most ridiculous thing ever sold at Nordstrom, after the rock: Probably these Gucci sock sandals, perfect for anyone who dreams of looking like a Barbie doll. Despite selling for $1,200 and being lambasted online, the sock sandal did indeed sell out in 2017. Fashion faux pas just makes the rich look edgy.

Tranquility Pod, Hammacher Schlemmer
Hammacher

Tranquility Pod | Hammacher Schlemmer

Maybe Frank Costanza could have found a little more serenity if he'd used this $30,000 "tranquility pod," which uses soothing sounds, lights and vibration to force users to relax. The fiberglass exterior supposedly blocks most noise, a four-speaker sound system integrates with smartphones, and a pulse sensor adjusts 50 LEDs automatically. Sadly, the Serenity Cat Pod is no longer available after the collapse of SkyMall.

Luxury Wrapping Paper, Hermes
Hermes

Luxury Wrapping Paper | Hermes

If you think gift bags and tissue paper are expensive, you haven't seen anything. For $200, Hermes bestowed the gift of a dozen sheets of designer wrapping paper in a half-dozen colors and patterns in 2017. It could even be used to "cover books or upholster small furniture," the product page suggested. Hmmmmm.

Red Logo Brick, Supreme
Supreme

Red Logo Brick | Supreme

Supreme, a skate and fashion brand, pushed the envelope by selling a red clay brick stamped with its logo for $30. Incredibly, the bricks sold out quickly. As if that's not enough, eBay sellers snapped them up and started selling them for more than $1,000 (though some now go for a bargain $200 — still more than 300 times the cost of a plain, non-branded brick).

Prada Paperclip, Barney's
Barneys

Prada Paperclip | Barney’s

To be fair, this $185 logo-embossed, sterling silver Prada paperclip was meant to function as a money clip when it first came out in 2017. But given that it's little bigger than a regular paperclip — and costs more than 100 times the price of a box — Twitter had a field day. 

Crystalline Stardust Memory Stick, Swarovski
Swarovski

Crystalline Stardust Memory Stick | Swarovski

USB flash drives aren't usually high on the bling list, but that didn't stop Swarovski from selling a 8GB memory stick with 550 crystals for $69 in 2017. That might not seem so bad, but you can still nab 10 flash drives of the same size from Walmart for $38.

Handbag Raincoat, Chanel
Courtesy of chanel.com

Handbag Raincoat | Chanel

A glaring sign a purse is too expensive: It needs a special raincoat. A glaring sign the purse's raincoat is too expensive: It was selling for $650 at Chanel in 2017. Made of PVC, grosgrain, calfskin, and silver studs, this handbag raincoat featured plenty of Chanel logos to signal there's something equally ridiculous underneath. Amazingly, they now sell for almost twice as much from resellers.

Barracuda Straight Leg Jeans, Nordstrom
Nordstrom

Barracuda Straight Leg Jeans | Nordstrom

Nordstrom struck again in 2017, taking distressed denim to a wholly unnecessary level. Barracuda's sold-out jeans had "seen some hard-working action with a crackled, caked-on muddy coating that shows you're not afraid to get down and dirty," the product description reads. Forbes called the $425 jeans a "let them eat cake" moment, with other critics saying they made a mockery of real working-class people.

Canine Passive Solar Condominium, Hammacher Schlemmer
Hammacher

Canine Passive Solar Condominium | Hammacher Schlemmer

Perfect for the dog-owning architecture buff with too much cash, this $3,700 doghouse (er, condominium) is designed to pamper a pup by staying cooler in the summer and warmer in the winter, all while "evoking the passive homes designed by Frank Lloyd Wright." It includes a memory foam pet pillow, stainless-steel food and water bowls, and a customized sign with the dog's name.

Christopher Kane Cable Tie Bracelets, Farfetch
Far Fetch

Christopher Kane Cable Tie Bracelets | Farfetch

Duct tape had its fashion moment, so why not zip ties? A few years ago, Scottish designer Christopher Kane plastered the runway with models wearing them looped around their wrists, through their hair, and on their clothes. Three of the "offbeat" ties went for $30. They're sold out, but the look is still available in packs of 20 from Home Depot for $3.

Jump Rope Christopher, Louis Vuitton
Louis Vuitton

Jump Rope Christopher | Louis Vuitton

The next time you feel the urge to trip over a jump rope, make it an insanely expensive one. Louis Vuitton would love to sell you its logo-embossed $800 version (named "Christopher" for some reason) as "a fashionable new spin on this workout essential." With a leather strand and handles "covered with dark, masculine Monogram Eclipse canvas, the new Christopher jump rope goes everywhere." 


Related: Overpriced Workout Gear: 16 Items That Are a Waste of Money

Sterling Silver Building Bricks, Tiffany's
Tiffany & Co.

Sterling Silver Building Bricks | Tiffany’s

Perhaps the experience of stepping on building brick toys is less painful when they're made of sterling silver and walnut and cost $1,700. Tiffany sells 10 whole pieces for that price, and it's a deal; a gold Lego brick sold at auction in 2012 for more than $11,000.

Vasari Clutch, Jil Sander
Jil Sander

Vasari Clutch | Jil Sander

In 2012, German designer Jil Sander turned heads by sending models down the runway with what looked suspiciously like brown paper lunch bags. The bags, made with coated paper and metal vents, went up for sale on the brand's website, where they were snapped up for nearly $300. A black leather version retailed for more than $600.

Vetements DHL Cut-up Tee, Nordstrom
Nordstrom

Vetements DHL Cut-Up Tee | Nordstrom

Oh, Nordstrom. The store's final entry on this list is a boxy, slightly deconstructed T-shirt by French design collective Vetements bearing the logo of shipping company DHL. Wearing the sold-out T meant spending $660 to look like the delivery guy ($730 for the polo). This is not Vetements' first DHL-inspired look; the designer sent a canary-yellow logo T-shirt down the runway in Paris in 2015, bringing "anti-fashion back to fashion," The Guardian said. 

Hippopotamus Sofa, Hammacher Schlemmer
Hammacher

Hippopotamus Sofa | Hammacher Schlemmer

You have to wonder how many giant, $95,000 hippopotamus-shaped sofas Hammacher Schlemmer sold. (No, really — please tell us.) Made of steel, full-grain leather, and polyurethane, the sofa required 400 hours to craft and "provides a reliable place to read or entertain guests while paying tribute to the animal ancient cultures revered for its intrepidity, tenacity, and bravery." While money can indeed buy a hippo sofa, it still can't buy good taste.