Editorial: Entitlement

1_sd9ZoKdV2l-jTilexJsSRQEvery so often I’ll see or hear of someone complaining about how entitled people are. Typically this is coming from someone of the older generation and is typically directed towards someone of the younger generation. Usually Millenials.

I will be 38 soon. So I’m right in that weird place between Gen X and Millenials. My real life has me working with the general public, and have for the last 20 years. I have worked in places that had me working with people with money. Not necessarily rich people, at least when we think of Rich and Famous type, but definitely people with plenty of money. People who show up in cars worth more then many of us make in a year and who live in areas filled with 1-2 million dollar homes. I have also worked in areas with people who have less money. The area I work in now is plagued with homelessness and much of the local population would be considered below the poverty line. (I am in California and in the Bay Area, we do have a slightly skewed version of the poverty line due to the cost of living.)

Getting back to the entitlements I have seen a general trend of where entitled people tend to reside. Or at the very least who seems to posses a sense of entitlement the most and who has it the least. I will point out I am about to use a lot of generalities. Not everyone in each “group” fits the description as groups are made up of individuals and individuals have the annoying but incredible habit of being different from each other. So please keep this in mind. If you don’t like what I am saying about your particular “group” I’m not saying you are necessarily like that, just that this is where I see it the most.

So lets start backwards, who has the least.

Young People:
I don’t see much with the young people I work with. Be they teenagers, 20 somethings or on up to my age in their 30’s. Which is not to say that I’ve never seen it, I’ve certainly worked with teenagers who were very demanding and would get upset to the point of throwing a tantrum if they didn’t get what they want. Its annoying for sure but hardly where I see the most entitlement. Most of the kids I deal with are happy to be getting something and seem pretty grateful. This is also a group who understands they will have to do things for themselves, and is typically very accepting of that. This is not a very entitled group, they’re still coming.

Poor/broke:

This group is likely one of the least entitled. These are people who frankly are used to not getting things. They have worked, and worked hard for what they have. If anything they are used to being told that they cannot have things and don’t come in expecting anything. If anything they’re prepared to do what needs to be done to get what they are coming in for, anything else is an unexpected bonus.

People/Person of Color:

Most of the time people of color are here to get things done. Much like the broke group they aren’t typically expecting a lot. Often they’re expecting to be treated poorly. I’ve worked with several POC who seemed to think they were being mistreated based on the color of their skin. This isn’t an entitlement or someone necessarily playing “the race card”. (I will admit that while I treated them all the same as anyone else. At least to the best of my ability, I found this annoying and frustrating. However it’s important to remember that in many cases POC are treated differently. See Starbucks)

White People:

All right, here’s where we enter the entitled group. Generally I see more entitlement with white people. Particularly when working with those older then myself. Say starting in the 40’s. This group is a bit more likely to expect things just because. Perhaps due to tenor with the business. Though in my experience it’s more of expecting that everything will be done for them and they really don’t need to do anything other than pay for it. And the fact that they pay should really mean everything. (Now obviously businesses only thrive based on their customers. But there are limits to what a business can or should be expected to do.) This is still not where I see the most entitlement.

People/Person with Money:

This is truly where I see the most. This one transcends all other groups. You can be a person of color, young, and have money and still be entitled. Even though 2 out of those 3 groups in my experience are less likely to act entitled. People with money will often expect discounts based on tenor, and additional discounts based on that they are spending money with us. I’ve had people show up in cars worth more then I make in a year, with an address in an area filled with multi-million dollar homes and act like a standard charge is too much and that they shouldn’t be charged it. Never mind that everyone is charged it. These are the people most likely to demand, not ask; demand that everything be done for them. And of course extra items should be thrown in for free. And the main product should be discounted for them, just because, even though its the same price for everyone.

Now most of the time PwM are older and white, which likely influences my observations of those two groups. But I have certainly had PwM who are also PoC. And yes they are often entitled.

What’s the point?

So what is the point of this whole post and talking about who is more entitled than others? Annoyance mostly. I see it all to often where person A believes person B to be entitled based on various factors. Often this seems to be directed from white people with money, or at least white towards younger or people of color or people without money. The thing I see the most often is they believe that the younger generation or those without money or of color believe they are entitled to benefits, to health care, to welfare, to whatever.

It’s been my experience that its really the opposite. These are the people the most used to having to work for things, to do something extra and who are not expecting something for nothing. In my experience it’s the group most often complaining about others getting entitlements or acting entitled who are themselves the most entitled.

I get tired of it. I wanted to say something. So there you have it. My observations. Last word, I use a great amount of generalities here, it’s impossible not to, you can be part of any one or more of these groups and act differently then I describe. People don’t live just in one group or act the same, we exist as a spectrum of individuals. Different not just from each other, but in the way we act based on our various situations from day to day and even hour to hour.

I just hope that maybe someone will read this and rethink how they see others and think about how we manage what we give to each other, and what we demand. Because frankly we should all be working to make things better, and help should be given to everyone who needs it.

Thank you.
Arthur David

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