Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Postcards from Babylon...

A bad economy only slightly deterred Americans from flocking to cosmetic procedures last year.

The American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery released figures Tuesday: Almost 10 million cosmetic surgical and nonsurgical procedures were performed in the United States in 2009. Despite the recession, Americans shelled out almost $10.5 billion to get pretty.

Compared with the previous year, there was a 2 percent decrease in the total number of procedures.


Fleming said even the unemployed shell out the bucks to get cosmetic procedures.

Because when you're feeling all glum about owing $20k more than your gypsum-board tract home is worth and you're worried about whether Congress is going to extend your unemployment benefits again, what better for a little pick-me-up than raiding the retirement fund for a tummy tuck or some botox injections? I mean, it's important to have our priorities!

Of course, this is the land where television commercials tout all manner of medical alternatives to self-discipline, so I shouldn't act all surprised. "Hmmm... Should I skip dessert and go for a walk around the block, or should I get my guts tied in a sheepshank? Tough call..." Only in America do people spend their entire lives so far up Maslow's pyramid that they have time to ponder such dilemmas.


dave said...

Well, if you're about to declare bankruptcy, it's a fantastic investment--one of few things the bank can't take back! And it's not your fault you were born as uglier than a mule turn, so society owes you one!

Blackwing1 said...

On t'other hand, it's about the ONLY part of medicine that hasn't been totally distorted by the dot-gov's regulations, subsidies or other meddling. Cosmetic surgery is the only partially-free-market (leaving aside all of the other government intervention in the market) in medicine.

Look at how horrible the free market is. Why, the price of laser eye surgery is extortionate! It's been at double-digit increases...oops. Never mind. What started as multiple-thousands-of-$'s surgery is now, "ON ONLY...both eyes for only $499!!!"

So yeah, it can be considered a waste of resources in some regards, but it's still a whole lot closer to a free market than the stuff that Medicare covers.

And as a side benefit, some of the research and practice into cosmetic surgery has applications in things like reconstructive surgery, where soldiers who've been hit with nasty, sharp fast stuff can have faces rebuilt.

So just think of Big Star's last facelift as subsidizing the research on war wound reconstruction and it's not quite so bad.

Matt G said...

"Only in America do people spend their entire lives so far up Maslow's pyramid that they have time to ponder such dilemmas."

Well put.

I once successfully woo'd a psychology nurse with heady talk of how I would ascend to self-actualization. Looking back on it with 19 years of hindsight, I don't believe it was my ownself that I was trying so hard to actualize. ;)

BobG said...

Hey, a person has to look good while waiting in line for unemployment checks and the government cheese...

WV: cheoped
The act of being cheated by a pyramid scheme?

reflectoscope said...

If they earned the money, then it is theirs to spend as they see fit. (Welfare money, OTOH...)


w/v: faces. I kid you not.

Tam said...


"If they earned the money, then it is theirs to spend as they see fit."

There is a world of difference between "shouldn't" and "couldn't".

If they want to set their money on fire, hey, it's their money. I'll be pointing and laughing if they do, though. ;)

TJP said...

In other news, some are wondering why companies aren't hiring while said companies are getting cheoped out of funds that could pay workers.

None of it makes sense. It's like building a wall by taking bricks from the bottom and putting them on top. Gee....who was it who said that?

I guess I'm one of the lucky ones. No amount of cosmetic surgery can make me get pretty.

Anonymous said...

According to Delta Dental, dental implant surgery is cosmetic.

I suppose it's less cosmetic to grind down the two adjacent teeth to mere nubs just to have something to anchor their "not cosmetic" bridge to...