7 unusual status symbols from around the US

  • Luxury watches and private yachts are obvious status symbols, but there are so many other subtle, and in some cases, particularly odd, ways to flaunt wealth.
  • In some US cities, you may be able to decipher a person’s social position by the size of their family, the animals in their backyard, and even how many digits are on their licence plate.

People have found obscure ways to flaunt their social position for centuries.

Before sports cars and luxury gym memberships came along, Americans demonstrated their wealth by snapping selfies, although not the kind we take today. Shortly after the X-ray was invented in 1895, the rich couldn’t wait to snag a radiographic machine of their own. They would snap photos of their jewellery-clad bones with at-home X-ray machines they scored from the black market.

And while the days of smuggling X-ray machines are long gone, Americans now try to impress each other in different ways: by always having the newest iPhone, wearing the most expensive watch, or exclusively sporting Lululemon to spin class. But more unexpected status symbols abound in the US.

Here are seven ways Americans around the country show their social status:

Silicon Valley: Urban chickens

Not all status symbols are glamorous. Take, for instance, Silicon Valley’s latest hipster trend. According to The Washington Post, tech industry leaders have started housing chickens in their backyards.

While keeping livestock has historically been the thriftiest way of putting food on the table, these egg-laying hens are fed gourmet meals and sometimes even sport diapers around the house.

Chicago: Canada Goose coats

One fail-proof way to show people that you have money is to wear extreme, expedition-ready outerwear in the city. It’s a widespread phenomenon, but Chicagoans are partial to the notoriously expensive brand Canada Goose, according to the Chicago Tribune.

Sure, the Windy City can feel like the Arctic Tundra sometimes, but could its finicky climate possibly warrant wearing a $US1,000 parka suited for Antarctica? Probably not.

Los Angeles: The costs of Scientology courses

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If you’ve seen or heard of Leah Remini’s docuseries “Scientology and the Aftermath,” then you’re familiar with the controversies of the religion that Tom Cruise and John Travolta follow. According to Remini’s series, Scientology is not only a secretive religion, but also an expensive one.

The courses, books, and therapy required to join the church allegedly cost thousands, which only the rich and famous can afford, according to the series. It’s no surprise why Los Angeles, with its affluent stars, has been called the “Scientology Capital of the World.”

Washington DC: Waiting in line

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These days, you can get just about anything you want delivered to your door, from alcohol to IKEA meatballs and everything in-between. Delivery apps are at their peak of popularity, but some folks in the nation’s capital prefer the bygone tradition of standing in line.

According to The Washingtonian, the latest trend is for DC’s “cool kids” to wait hours in lines for expensive restaurants and or at bars serving craft cocktails.

New England: Low-numbered licence plates

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In New England, people will pay big money for a low-number licence plate. That’s partly because Massachusetts was the first state to manufacture a licence plate in 1903, according to The Washington Post, starting with No. 1. They have since become so rare that people in Massachusetts and Rhode Island will pay more than $US100,000 for one, The Post reported, and the coveted plates are passed down through generations.

Texas: Luxury versions of blue-collar pickup trucks

What used to be considered a blue-collar utility truck has somehow become a high-end automobile over the years. It isn’t all too rare for a Ford F-150 pickup truck to sell for up to $US100,000 these days.

And these so-called “cowboy Cadillacs” are particularly popular with Texans, of course, who account for 16% of America’s pickup truck purchases, according to The Washington Post.

New York City: Big families


High fertility rates have long been associated with poverty, according to the Center for Global Developement. But that isn’t necessarily the case for New York City.

Lately, affluent families on the Upper East Side have found the perfect way to demonstrate just how rich they are, and it’s by having a large family filled with kids, Business Insider reported. If you can afford to pay several private school tuitions in the city, then you’re surely well-off.

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