Aspen real estate brokers ‘hangry’ as commissions evaporate

Soup Kitchen

Local real estate agents affected by the drastic change in commissions line up for their lunchtime serving of gruel supplied by billionaire philanthropist Osama bin Ashcroft. The soup kitchen is open daily in the alley behind St. Paddy’s Church from 1-1:20 p.m. on a first come, first served basis. 

Responding to the seismic shift in how real estate commissions will be paid, desperation among Aspen’s once-flamboyant property brokers has led them to steal from secondhand stores, seek protected-class status and stand in line for a free lunch at the St. Paddy’s Church soup kitchen.

On Sunday, real estate brokers received gruel into splintered wooden bowls they stole from the donation bin behind the Thrift Shop. Police considered tasering them for the thefts, but stood down out of pity, much to the chagrin of onlookers.

“If I even thought about swiping a soup bowl, they’d have me locked up faster than you can say ‘truffle-infused gazpacho,’” quipped socialite Eliza Pettiass.

Meanwhile, in a bid to rally support, the Ute City Realty Association launched a campaign under the slogan “Save Our Brokers, Save Our Slopes.” Their plea? Donate a ski pass, save a broker.

“We used to be the ones selling ski-in, ski-out dream homes. Now, we’re just praying for a lift ticket,” said longtime broker Craig McSaslovin. “I’m really ‘hangry’ — mad as hell and I’m not gonna take it anymore!”

Some of Aspen’s once-top realty agents have taken to busking on Aspen’s streetcorners, serenading passersby with ballads about square footage, granite countertops and snowmelt driveways. Others have embraced a more primal approach, attempting to barter their SUVs for survival essentials like canned soup and handwarmers.

Said another broker who declined to provide his name: “It’s a harsh reality when your net worth melts away faster than the snow in June. I used to dine with the elite; now, I’m watching pigeons crap Paradise Bakery leftovers outside my deed-restricted studio apartment at Truscott.”

The crisis has led Realtors to rally behind a bold proposition: to be granted protected-class status, affording them the same legal protections as marginalized groups.

“We are the unsung heroes of Aspen’s economic engine,” declared an associate at Aspen Elite Mountain Brokers, who declined to be identified but said he would be running for mayor in the next municipal election. “Yet, we are treated like mere mortals, subject to the whims of fickle buyers and capricious sellers.”

The commission changes resulted from rulings and settlements in connection with a series of lawsuits too boring to be detailed in this space. The long and short of the whole brouhaha is that the real estate community is now devastated and won’t be getting their usual bigtime payoffs. In addition, Stealer Opera House transfer taxes fell 2.1% in the last month and the local jobless rate rose from 2.7% in March 2023 to 2.9% last month.

“Looks like we’ll have to find a new way to make money and grow the economy,” said real estate columnist Slandrew Whitemel. “Maybe Aspen is overdue for a return to the Quiet Years.”

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