Rich people Living in Slum Neighborhoods? WTF?

Driving through the bad side of my town, I have noticed a strange phenomenon…expensive cars parked outside run-down houses, in poor neighborhoods. I drive one street frequently, and I noticed a new black Mercedes-Benz S500 sedan parked there. The car has been there for at least 8 months, so I assume it belongs to oneof the residents.
Anyway, are there rich people who PREFER low-rent digs? Perhaps somewayward Rockefeller gret-great grandson who prefers to live with REAL people (instead of those insufferable snobs in Beverly Hills)?
Or, does this car belong to the local crack dealer?
Any of you in the upperincome brackets who like to save money on housing? :smiley:

One of two explainations:

The Mercedes (or Lexis, or any other expensive vehicle) is a dealer’s vehicle, especially if it has excessive chrome, you can hear it coming before it hits the block, and the windows are tinted.

Or, the neighborhood is part of a “revitalization” of the city, although this is unlikely, since most of the revitialization projects are done by middle class America who are more into mini-vans than a Lexis.

Some people with jobs that require them to have a certain image may buy an expensive car even if it’s technically beyond their means. They’ll live in slightly crappier houses, eat nothing but Kraft Dinner, but they have that Lexus so they’ll look good.

I know two real-estate agents who drive expensive cars - one a Mercedes, the other an Audi - but who live in little nondescript apartments. They spend everything on their look (clothes, manicure, car) so that their clients see them as more successful. They tell me people are more comfortable dealing with an agent who looks like she makes millions.

Or it’s some CEO cheating on his wife. :smiley:

Sociologists have long studied the anomaly of lower-income people spending far too much on cars, clothes or other items in an attempt to “buy” status.

In this city, we’re having the problem now of rich people moving into poor, student/artist/hippie neighbourhoods, basically chasing cool. And then everything gets more expensive there, so the actual students/artists/hippies move out into another neighbourhood, where the whole thing starts again.

Having witnessed many persons exiting luxury vehicles in furs coats and heading into the local welfare office in my old inner city neighborhood, then seeing multitudes of beat up Toyotas parked in three-car-garage wide driveways attached to mansions in my current affluent suburban neighborhood, it is my purely ancedotal evidence driven experience that real money doesn’t buy flashy cars.
So there probably aren’t any real rich people in the ghetto.

I heard somewhere there’s a significant amount of people who can’t quite afford a house, so they buy a really nice car instead.

Being from a “ghetto” neighborhood myself, I can tell you that a lot of people are living in the slums to be able to afford to “chrome out and put shoes on 'em” :wink:
With a pricey car note, they end up moving into my $394/month apartments. Then the cops show up. Then I get a new neighbor.
The nicest car in the apartments was a 2004 BMW 4-door of some sort.
What drew my attention to it was MY tag sticker on their car.
Yup, stole it off the lot and put my decal on another stolen tag.
What a wonderful neighborhood.

Was kinda funny watching the po-pos jump up off of it when the ID number came back as stolen. Too late though, they had thoroughly pawed it. Any prints found would’ve been theirs. :smiley:

So IMHO, I second kunilou

Why does ‘Owning a Mercedes = Being Rich’?
Just because they have a nice car doesn’t make them rich.
Do you think that if someone lives in a ‘bad part’ of town then every aspect of their lives must be soul-crushing poverty?

Remember, Sam Walton (he of Wal*Mart fame) drove around in an old pickup.

I bet those studies would go better if they and the sociologists were not quite so judgmental.

Who the [wait a minute, where I am? Oh, mp] the heck gets to decide what is ‘too much’? If the car is still parked there, it hasn’t been repo’d, so what makes the price ‘too much’?

And if it is so common as to be a subject of study, how does the behavior qualify as ‘anomalous’?

Do sociologist study educated professional who drive eight year old four cylinder cars and have only five professional outfits [and out-dated at that]?

It’s the Rocky Mountain Bighorn Sheep all over again.

Isn’t this obvious? Because we would be rich if we could afford to buy a Mercedes.

Another possibility:

Military members. If they get stationed in Germany (and possibly other European countries, but I’ve only heard about Germany), they often buy a BMW or other car there, since they can be had cheaper. Then they take the car to the States and live off-base. Since they get a set amount of money for living off-base, some of them live in a place with cheaper rent and pocket the difference.

Also, American soldiers stationed in Germany who own Mercedes’ should be wary of the new base commander guy who is a real prick and will force you to blow your own car up with an M1A rifle after you make out with his hot daughter.

One plausible explanation is that they’re making payments on a nice vehicle instead of a nice house or apartment. Similar types of ‘trade-offs’ exist in all types of neighborhoods.

I’ve been toying with the idea of a thread to catalog all the old expressions using ethinic terms no longer used in polite society.

I’ll nudge this one in that direction.

The old expression was “N***** rich” - spending all one’s money on appearance - nice car, fine clothes, jewelry, etc., while living in a tar-paper shack and eating nothing but beans.

IOW: nuthing new, some people just prefer to look better than they live.

I don’t want to sound offensive but, some of your responses are a little naive. I’ve lived in or near poor sections all of my life and my experience and the experience of those who lived with me say that those cars belong to head dealers/mob bosses or their cronies. If that car belonged to anyone else it would disappear off the face of the earth in less than a day, usually bit by bit. Also, some of those “houses” are normally wearhouses where they keep some of their merchandise. I’ve been into them. They usually have someone living there when there’s merchandise to look after the stuff or take the fall if it’s found.

Of course this was in Mexico, so it might be different in The States. Maybe some people actually choose to be poor but have a nice SUV. Especially since they are so efficient with gasoline.

I work at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore. It is in the middle of East Baltimore - slum. Yeah, the number one hospital in the country is in the middle of a slum.

There are fancy cars all throughout the place. However, in about a two-block radius around the hospital, the places have been bought up and rehabbed by Johns Hopkins, and sold. “Safe” radius. And I don’t see any fancy cars around there, even though you’d expect it.

I don’t have a flash car, but I am middle class and live in a very insalubrious part of Dublin (gangland shooting just down the road a couple of weeks ago, joyriders in the street every few nights, etc.).

The reason is that it’s the only place I could afford to buy.

People spend their money as they wish, and it may not fit in with preconceived notions.

Me, for example. Based on our family income, we should be able to afford a nicer house, better clothes, and other trappings. However, we opt for a more modest house (although far from a slum), new (but not luxury) cars, and a boat. If we wanted a 5000 sq ft home, we could probably afford one just fine, but the boat would have to go. If I decided I wanted a high-end vehicle instead of my minivan, I would adjust my purchases elsewhere accordingly.

It’s all about the choices, isn’t it? Some people think we’re rich because we have a nice sailboat. Others look at our newer cars and make assumptions. The fact is, we spend our money as we wish and in our case, appearances aren’t an issue. Judge as you wish - we don’t much care.

So maybe these slum residents are engaged in illicit activities, or maybe they value a nice car over a nice address. In the grand scheme of things, does it really matter? <shrug>