The last time I looked up, it was August.  Now, I open my mailbox to holiday catalogues.  I have just received the Victoria’s Secret catalogue, which per tradition features a diamond-studded bra (cost, a very sparkly two million).  The “Bombshell Fantasy” bra isn’t decorating the cover of the catalogue, though.   It usually is, but this year it’s been sent back to page 13, as if it were a commonplace Miracle bra.  It must have something to do with the economy:  the annual Fantasy bra is already becoming more affordable, down from a high sticker of 6.5 million for the 2006 bra.  Removing it from the cover removes any offending holier-than-titty attitude from this most democratic of mall-borne lingerie stores. 

If you cannot afford the annual novelty bra, the catalogue suggests the cover bra, a $250.00 item that features Swarovski Elements instead of real gems.  The Elements are pink glass crystals that are dotted all over the bra, which, like the Fantasy bra, is guaranteed to add two full cup sizes to your measurements.

I think it is very responsible and, dare I say it, admirable, of Victoria’s Secret to feature a $250.00 bra on the cover of its famous Christmas catalogue when it might have thrown that two million dollar number out there to make us all feel poor and wretched this holiday season.  Is Neiman Marcus, another retailer famous for its outlandishly priced Christmas gifts, going to put a humble pair of $200.00 slippers on its Christmas book cover this year?  Of course not.  You may not know this, but sales of luxury items are somewhat strong.  While everything from snack crackers to American-made cars are taking a huge hit, women are spending fifty dollars on a French lipstick.  This is because there is still money somewhere in the world that is not America and because we are never quite able not to fall victim to the idea of exclusivity and prestige.

Since I suspect that most, if not all, of my readers are cash-conscious, I offer you some things you can get for nothing or for next-to-nothing in Florida and which may not be found in holiday catalogues. 

Never turn a blind eye in Florida.  The best things in life, and in this state, are free.