Luxury lederhosen
Wohlmuther via AP
This pair of diamond-studded  lederhosen recently sold for $114,195.
By Brian Tracey Associate editor
msnbc.com
COMMENTARY

Fancy a pair of luxury lederhosen? An Austrian designer is taking orders for personalized lederhosen — such as a diamond-studded pair he recently sold for over $114,000.

Christian Wohlmuther, who owns a clothing business that sells traditional attire based in Bad Mitterndorf in the Austrian state of Styria, said Friday the cost of his creations varies depending on the decoration.

Those interested can choose from an array of stones, including garnets, rubies, emeralds and diamonds, that are then mounted on buttons made either of sterling silver, gold or platinum.

"We generally focus on the client's budget and then show him what's possible," Wohlmuther said.

Wohlmuther, who works with a local jeweler, said his first pair of luxury lederhosen — decorated with 166 diamonds — went to a German buyer who lives in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, earlier this summer. He said he hopes to attract more interest from that region, as well as from Russia.

At these prices, we hope he throws in free suspenders.

BT, phone home
A customer attempting to call British telephone company BT Group was left on hold for a total of 20 hours, The London Times newspaper reported last week.

BT blamed the slow response times on a new customer service system which left a large number of customers hanging.

Hannah King, 51, called the helpline after a BT worker failed to turn up to install a telephone line at her new apartment, according to The Times.

For eight hours in a row, she endured the sound of piped music. She gave up and tried again the next day — only to wait another eight hours.

The following day, she spent another four hours on hold before hanging up, which took the total time wasted to almost a full day.

"I was so frustrated and angry I broke down in tears," she told The Times. "It is a helpline for goodness' sake, surely a company as big as BT can answer their phones."

BT said statement: “We sincerely apologize for any temporary problems customers may have experienced, and are working around the clock to improve the situation."

We expect they'll have the problem solved sometime later this century.

Dead money rising
Inflation in China is not just an earthly concern; it is also a problem in the afterlife, according to suppliers of goods used by Chinese worshippers.

In Malaysia, home to more than 6 million ethnic Chinese, the price of fake money that is burnt as offerings to the dead has jumped by up to 20 percent because the colourful bills are made in China where costs are rising, a local daily said on Monday.

The New Straits Times quoted the Malaysia Worship Items Dealers Association as saying a stronger yuan and a cut in state subsidies to Chinese manufacturers were driving up prices of a range of imported devotional items, including incense sticks.

Tan Lee Meng, a Malaysian dealer, told the newspaper that sales were down during the current "hungry ghost" festival, when ethnic Chinese burn paper money and paper effigies of houses, cars and servants for spirits to use in the afterlife.

At least the deceased don't have subprime mortgages to worry about.

Reuters contributed to this report.

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