Should I Splurge on $40 Hand Wash to Impress Guests?

I’m hoping that those who know me would recognize that the question raised in the title to this post is one that would never even enter my mind.

But it was the title of an article in today’s Wall Street Journal.

The article offered opposing points of view on the question (you can guess which side of the issue I was on).

Here are some excerpts from the “Yes” perspective:

  • It’s easy to roll your eyes and mutter that you’re not the sort of person who’d ever blow $39 on hand wash, until you smell it.
  • It’s a thoughtful touch to have a luxurious hand wash when inviting company over. The scent will be a positive experience that lasts past the powder room door.
  • Luxury wash tends to have fewer ingredients such as sulfates and parabens, which natural beauty enthusiasts consider harsh and unnecessary.
  • You can buy Aesop soap, as long as you have your financial s–t together.

And here are some from the “No” point of view (i.e., the correct point of view):

  • Get real. “I was honestly not aware that hand soap could cost more than $15.” (I would have thought $5).
  • Are guests really going to leave my place saying, ‘I like hanging out with Nick—he has the best soap?’ or, ‘After seeing what excellent taste in soap Nick has, I can’t see why we shouldn’t promote him?’” (I like Nick.)
  • Although many luxury hand washes sell an air of hippie-ish simplicity (all-natural ingredients; packaging that conjures Shaker quietude), that image conflicts with their elitist price tags.
  • At what cost are we making our bathrooms beautiful?
  • Emily Post, the original arbiter of manners, advocated for the simple soap bar. (mic drop)

There were 22 comments to the article; not one supported the idea of buying such a soap, so for once I seem to be in agreement with the majority of WSJ readers.

Here are some of those comments:

  • The type of people that are impressed by $40 soap aren’t the type of people I want to be around, let alone have in my house.
  • Personally, I’m much more impressed by the quality of my host’s toilet paper. (couldn’t agree more – see my previous post about toilet paper).
  • A market for $39 hand soap shows that the old adage “a sucker is born every minute” is still alive and well in 2018
  • Given all that’s going on in the world, it’s somehow satisfying to know that there are people who still wrestle with such questions, and still other people who write about it.  It shows that we aren’t letting the problems of the world get to us.
  • Hmmm, let’s think about this for a nanosecond. Which would we rather do:
    a) Actively demonstrate that we have more money than brains, or
    b) Let the guests continue to wonder about that?So it appears the answer is a resounding no.

And while we’re talking about soap, let me offer this public service announcement on how to do it properly (no $39 soap required)

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