The Meaning of “Cheap” to the New York Times, Who’s $1B In Debt


Dude. Bro. BRAH: Did you know that in a recent Styles section piece, there’s an article about converting Bachelor Pads to Adult Homes? Protect the Beirut Table at all costs. But it’s time we snag some wifeys, yo. What’s this gonna run us?


Yup. Eight grand. Now, what’re we talkin’ here? A breakfast nook? Installing a new toilet that hasn’t been eaten away by stomach bile and pissed-out Rolling Rock? Curtains? A trip to Ikea?

Actually, yes, they do go to Ikea. And buy a fucking thousand dollar couch. Ikea sells couches that aren’t made of “renewable plywood.” Who knew? Okay, the Ikea maybe, possibly might be thrifty. Where else do they shop?

Well, one purchase is made at New York’s famous envy-inspiring (see?) ABC Carpet & Home. A $500 rug. An identical one’s available at Ikea for $100. They also hit up West Elm, an antiques store in Hudson, NY, spent $700 for Custom Wood Blinds, and also threw down $350 for a custom banner, among the other various purchases.

Okay, fine. $8,000. But wait a second: How much time and labor did it cost to get this done?

The aim of the piece is ostensibly to save you the cost of an interior decorator by teaching you how they work. But we all know that learning from a few hundred words of an article about people assisted by interior decorators – who’ll shop for you, buy and secure the transport of those things out for you, and do plenty of the other time-consuming tasks required of one to do when decorating an apartment – and actually working with an interior director, like the Times did, are two pretty different things. And what if we wanted something cheaper, or different?

Well, that’d run you a pretty penny. The Times got it for free.

Adam Rolston, Drew Stuart and Gabriel Benroth, the founding partners of Incorporated Architecture & Design in Manhattan, agreed to take on the project free, and scheduled an initial consultation in mid-August.

So the article’s gotta mention how must that cost, right? Think again. Nowhere in the Text of the piece is there any indication of how much the firm’s services ran them. But it did make its way into a linked info-graphic associated with the piece: $15,000. They also disclose that all the shopping prices were pre-tax. So really, the article could be theoretically called From Bachelor Pad to an Adult’s Home, for $23K, With Tax, and it wouldn’t be entirely inaccurate. Reminder: The New York Times is using a billionaire pawn broker to help dig themselves out of their $1B debt. It might help the Sunday Styles to take a look at their demographics. We did!

A 2009 NYT survey noted that the average Times reader’s household income is $74, 656. The median Times reader’s income is $58,898. When people fill out their incomes on a survey, they write down what their incomes are, not what they take home. Even so, $8,000 is 13.5% of the median NYT reader’s income before taxes, and a little over 10.7% of the average NYT reader’s income before taxes. Assuming you’ve only got to decorate your apartment once, without the expense of an interior decorator, and taking away the time and labor it took to do it. Even better is that on the survey, incomes below $75,000 a year weren’t offered as an option, or if they were, the numbers aren’t presented on the findings, entitled New York Times: 2009 Adult Demographic Profile.

Incidentally, Styles recently profiled a 25 year-old junior designer a few months back. He redecorated his apartment for $2,500. He pays $900 a month in rent. His redecoration efforts are way better. And nowhere in the article does the word “cheap” appear. “Thrifty,” however, made it in there.

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