She’s a rich girl, and she’s gone too far.

What happens is that someone writes a self-serving, socially oblivious blog post and almost everybody thinks, “Wow, what a load of vacuous crap,” but one person thinks, “Hey, that happened to me, too!” without a single moment of introspection, the top ten percent is crying to Thought Catalog that life is just so hard for rich people and why is everyone so meeeeeean to them?

I came straight from the Mulberry sample sale, big ass shopping bag in tow back to the Gristedes by my West Village Apartment. I get to the checkout and there’s this girl in front of me probably a little older than I am talking to the cashier. The girl says to the cashier “I went in-state to save my parents money for school”. The Cashier then replied “That’s smart”. They then both glare at me with my shopping bag and my Coco Lite snack cakes and Diet Coke as if to say here’s daddy’s little princess wasting money, that little piece of shit. They exchange words and then the girl leaves. I try to be chipper and ask the cashier how her day is and she doesn’t answer me. She just looks down and scans my items not saying a word or even glancing in my direction. I say have a great day, as happily as I can and walk out feeling like a turd.

What the fuck? Could they not be that obvious? I should have stopped at my apartment and put my bags down then if they were going to judge me like that. And I got my purse at a 70% discount so they can fuck off. I am sorry that I was born into great financial circumstances and my father likes to provide for me. I am sorry I don’t have to go to a state school to save my parents money. What do you want from me?

When you read the whole thing, do it dramatically and out loud, like a poetry slam. It’s hilarious.

I am so very, very sorry for poor Rachael Sacks that the grocery clerk was mean to her. If there’s one thing I know, it’s that most people can pick a Mulberry purse out of a police lineup and can ID a Soiffer Haskin shopping bag across a grocery store conveyor belt. And that Rachel Sacks’s power of telepathy lets her know precisely what the clerk and student were thinking and how they were judging her and for what reason. It couldn’t have been about anything going on in their inconsequential little poor-people lives; it had to have been about her. (“You wouldn’t worry so much about what others think of you if you realized how seldom they do,” opine various attributed sources going back to Eleanor Roosevelt, but what do they know?)

Rich people, stop saying stuff like this. Stop saying things like, “I’m not going to pretend that I’m poor to be accepted by you.” Stop saying things like, “It just seems really petty and makes you look bitter and unhappy with your own life … because you’re a cashier.” Stop saying, “[I]t’s as if you’re saying that you have to make yourself into something you think is beneath you to get others to like you.” Stop saying things like, “I’m tired of the looks my doorman gives me when he hands me my package (of work clothes) delivered from J.Crew.” (God, does Thought Catalog only accept posts from whiny rich people [who encounter ostensibly judgmental service professionals]?)

Don’t do that. Do better than that. Even if you positively can’t digest the concept of privilege, even if you can’t imagine that anyone as lowly as a grocery clerk or a doorman might have actual life concerns that don’t involve you or your accessories, even if you honestly think you’ve earned every cent your father has bestowed upon you throughout your life, at least have the presence of mind not to say stuff like that.

Should people judge each other for their wealth or perceived wealth? No. Can financial circumstances change as swiftly as the weather? Damn straight they can. Were the college student and the grocery store clerk judging you for your Mulberry bag? Probably not, frankly. But if they were, you’ll be okay. Go home, eat a snack cake, blot your tears with a fiver, and comfort yourself with the knowledge that you’ve never had to poke holes in your shirt with a retail name tag.

Now, don’t think I don’t recognize the concept of the Oppression Olympics and roll my eyes when I see the opening ceremonies cranking up. When you’re dealing with problems, they’re still important to you, even if Children Are Starving In Africa. My own ongoing medical issues are a major concern to me, even if they aren’t as serious as cancer.

That said, if I’m hanging out with a person I don’t know well who actually does have cancer, I’m probably not going to say, “Man, my medicine is making me gain weight, but I’m kind of worried about switching.” Because even if that person doesn’t say, “Wow, that sucks. My medicine makes me throw up for four uninterrupted hours,” they’d certainly be justified in doing so.

That said, if your biggest complaint in life is that your doorman is silently judging you for shopping at J.Crew, don’t ever talk about that. Seriously. Don’t even bother shifting into count-your-blessings mode, because doorman and shopping and J.Crew are right there on the label. Don’t bother trying to be ashamed about your privilege, because you’re right, it’s not something you can help. But also don’t whine about the terrible burden it places on you. Don’t develop a persecution complex, as if all of the peons of the world are taking valuable time out of their day to judge you for your handbag. It would be great if you could acknowledge your privilege and find a way to leverage it on behalf of people who don’t have any — volunteer work, advocacy, donations, something. But even if that is completely beyond you, stop whining. Because no one cares that your 1,500-thread-count sheets are too slippery, and if you keep moaning about how hard it is to be rich, people really are going to hate you.

This entry was posted in Class. Bookmark the permalink.

191 Responses to She’s a rich girl, and she’s gone too far.

  1. mk says:

    What’s frustrating to me is that I think there are interesting conversations to be had about how we navigate differences of privilege and income when it comes to our intersecting social spheres, but they get drowned out by the whining you so aptly detail. I clicked through to see if maybe there was any little redeeming part of Sacks’ piece, but no, it was just a big pile of one time somebody made me feel bad and it’s definitely because I’m so fabulously wealthy and ugh poor people are so tactless.

    • Willemina says:

      Don’t forget the bit where she’s not as rich as the people with ponies. I mean, she even ate at McDonalds when she was a kid!

      She and Phil Mickelson should write a joint column.

  2. Little Raven says:

    From the quality of the writing, I can only assume Rachel has not yet graduated from high school.

    Teenagers are, generally speaking, a silly and vain lot. It’s not really their fault…their brains are still developing, and they are literally hard-wired that way. Most of them grow out of it. I assume Ms. Sacks will too.

    Thank goodness the internet wasn’t around back when I was a teenager. Most of my angst-ridden idiocy exists only in the fading memories of my co-conspirators. Rachel is unlikely to be granted any similar grace.

    • mk says:

      As someone who works with teenagers for a living, I have to ask you not to generalize like this, and not to attribute Sacks’ idiocy to age. I know high schoolers who can write much better than this (and who demonstrate a vastly greater capacity for empathy), and I know older adults who cannot seem to write so much as a coherent email.

      Some teenagers are silly and vain, as are some children and some adults. Very minor research reveals that Sacks is 20.

      • Little Raven says:

        I’ve also spent years working with teenagers. Believe me, I have nothing but affection for them, and freely acknowledge that my observation is a generalization, and as such, does not apply to individuals. There are indeed exceptional teenagers, who possess comprehension and communication skills beyond what many will master in a lifetime. It’s been my pleasure to teach a few of them.

        But most of them are quite understandably overwhelmed by an unrelenting tide of hormones and social expectations, all of which change from day to day or even hour to hour. I’m old, but I remember those days clearly enough to recall that sometimes just keeping my head above water took everything I had at the time. I don’t blame anyone in that age group for the occasional fall into self-absorption. It’s natural enough, and (IMO) says very little about the adult they will eventually become.

        Hopefully, Sacks one day redeems my optimism.

    • miga says:

      I’ve seen articles and rants like these from people in my age bracket (20’s) as well as from folks in middle age and beyond (cough cough U.S. Republican Party leaders). You gotta nip that attitude in the bud while peoples’ attitudes are still maturing.
      Besides, it’s not like this was an email that got passed around or even a facebook rant. She purposefully sent this to an online publisher. If she’s my age or younger she’s practically grown up with the internet, so she really should know better.

      • Little Raven says:

        If she’s my age or younger she’s practically grown up with the internet, so she really should know better.

        Yeah, well, no doubt about that. I suspect (hope?) she’ll have many opportunities to regret this particular article over the course of her life. I know I would hate to have such indisputable evidence of my immature myopic worldviews just a google search away from anyone who cared to look for them.

  3. Librarygoose says:

    Ha ha ha. I read the one with the bit about the doorman judging her. It all reminds me of people I went to college with. I remember sitting in a group assignment and listening to one woman lament that she hadn’t had time to shop and obviously she needed a new wardrobe, it was spring. I was so thrown, by her and the other people agreeing with her. All I could do was share a “WTF??” look with one of the other women in the group.

    • VJBinCT says:

      If you had wanted to be a bit catty, you could have asked the complainer, ‘And your wardrobe from last spring? Have you grown out of them?’

    • EG says:

      My first year in college, I mentioned to my roommate that I needed to scope out the neighborhood to find a cobbler, because I’d worn the heels down on my boots and needed to get them re-heeled. She said “Oh, when that happens to me I just throw them out and buy a new pair.”

      I am not making one word of that up.

      • David S. says:

        I don’t know about your circumstances, but I’ve had the reverse conversation; that going to a cobbler would only cost me $50 to reheel my boots, when that’s more then they cost new.

      • EG says:

        Damn–where’re you getting your boots reheeled? These were my motorcycle boots–cost me around 15 bucks.

        Roommate was the daughter of the family that owns the factories that manufacture Disney clothing. She wasn’t buying cheap boots.

      • Medusa says:

        Lol. I don’t see anything particularly scandalous about that. But I don’t spend that much on shoes in the first place.

  4. Lolagirl says:

    “I am sorry that I was born into great financial circumstances and my father likes to provide for me. I am sorry I don’t have to go to a state school to save my parents money. What do you want from me?”

    I was sincerely hoping this was said with a heaping side of irony. Alas, it does not appear to be the case.

    I just can’t even with entitled, whiny whiners like Sacks who want cookies for their oppressed, well-off lot. Because girlfriend isn’t really sorry, not that she grew up wealthy, or that daddy still likes to take care of his little princess, or that she didn’t have to resort to, gasp, a state college. And I saw what she did there with all the name dropping and mentioning of her West Village digs. Go about your West Village life, Ms. Sacks, just stop looking down at all the plebes who don’t live lives parallel to yours. Let along aspire to live such a life.

    • Fat Steve says:

      I just can’t even with entitled, whiny whiners like Sacks who want cookies for their oppressed, well-off lot. Because girlfriend isn’t really sorry, not that she grew up wealthy, or that daddy still likes to take care of his little princess, or that she didn’t have to resort to, gasp, a state college. And I saw what she did there with all the name dropping and mentioning of her West Village digs. Go about your West Village life, Ms. Sacks, just stop looking down at all the plebes who don’t live lives parallel to yours. Let along aspire to live such a life.

      NYU is in the West Village. It would be faintly ludicrous for her to live anywhere else. When we lived in the West Village there were 4 female students living in a walkup on the 5th floor that was the same size as ours. It wasn’t the sort of doorman luxury apartment or fancy brownstone you see on TV.

      Still, I looked down my nose at them as ‘rich girls’ because they clearly didn’t spend 15+ years working to reach a point where they could afford that apartment, like my wife and I had. I looked down on the young banker types on the 3rd and 4th floor even more (ok, we lived on the second floor, so technically we had to look up to look down,) as they also didn’t spend a lot of time earning what they had either.

      Though it’s through work and luck, not family money, I understand that I have a lot of financial privilege, and I am grateful for that. That’s what Ms. Sacks should have said: “I am GRATEFUL that I was born into great financial circumstances and my father likes to provide for me. I am GRATEFUL I don’t have to go to a state school to save my parents money. ” As she doesn’t, she seems a bit, y’know, ungrateful…

      • Lolagirl says:

        Well, right, Steve, that’s kind of the point.

        Sacks is neither sorry nor grateful for the biological accident that landed her in her privileged and wealthy position. Instead of being born into the lower classes that she so obviously looks down upon. Because you and I both know that she has done absolutely zero to earn the cash she throws around, or the social standing she takes for granted so easily, and the freedom from personal accountability that comes along with being an elite and wealthy college kid in Manhattan. All of that was conferred upon her by the parents that she was lucky enough to have had birth her into this world.

        And IDGAF about why she’s living in the stupid West Village, as opposed to its adjacent neighborhoods where I have known some NYU students to live. Pretty much all of them are still way spendier than what most the rest of the world can afford to pay in rent (or to mortgage? Ha! Forget it!)

        And as someone one who has had people like Sacks look down their noses at me in the past because of my blue collar roots and lack of social standing, I’m not giving her a free pass on what she wrote here. Not because she’s young, or allegedly clueless or for any other reason such as her sex. Maybe a decently sized internet backlash will actually help her realize why she’s so full of shit.

        One can only hope.

      • ldouglas@gmail.com says:

        And IDGAF about why she’s living in the stupid West Village

        …uh, what? We’re now just hating on people by zip code?

      • Lolagirl says:

        …uh, no?

        Steve tried to explain the West Village reference Sacks made in her article. I explained that I don’t care. I’m not hating on anybody according to either their neighborhood or their zip code. But you know what? Let’s not pretend that Sacks wasn’t judging the hell out of the checkout person and her fellow conversant for being the lowly folks below her in the socio-economic pecking order.

        Thus, I am disinclined to be at all sympathetic or kind to someone who is so utterly lacking in sympathy or kindness herself.

      • ldouglas says:

        Oh, I’m totally with you re: the author of the article. I just was curious what you had against the West Village/residents thereof, that’s all. Not a big deal :)

  5. Athenia says:

    “The girl says to the cashier “I went in-state to save my parents money for school”. The Cashier then replied “That’s smart”.

    This is not a conversation of people who are “poor” or who look “down” on “rich” people. Please.

    • TD says:

      Finally someone states the obvious. She’s complaining about middle-class people. But she thinks they’re poor because she can’t even tell the difference.

      • The Last Selina says:

        I’m not saying there isn’t a difference between the middle class and the working class but wealth inequality has gotten so bad in the US that middle class people really are poor compared to the rich. Here is a link to a youtube video that will depress the hell out of you but also illuminate just how bad things have gotten.

  6. BabyRaptor says:

    This is the first time I’ve ever seen an appropriate situation to apply the word martyrbate to a non-religious situation.

    Congratulations, Ms. Sacks.

  7. Little Raven says:

    I didn’t realize that Rachael revisited her post yesterday.

    Sadly, I doubt it will impress anyone.

    Well, hope springs eternal.

  8. Kate says:

    I am sorry that I was born into great financial circumstances and my father likes to provide for me. I am sorry I don’t have to go to a state school to save my parents money. What do you want from me?

    I’ve got a few ideas:

    1.) Pay the people who work for you a living wage. Do not patronize establishments which do not pay a living wage. Do not buy products made by people who are not paid a living wage.

    2.) If #1 is not possible (hint – if you live in NYC this will at minimum require a great deal of both research and sacrifice – and even then, it’s probably not possible) acknowledge that a lot of “your” money comes from not paying full price for the goods and services you are consuming.

    3.) Calculate how much you owe and research how that money can best be used to improve the lives of the people whose labor you have unfairly profited from. This includes listening to what these people themselves think will improve their lives.

    4.) Pay your taxes without complaint. Support a robust safety net and government programs which create jobs and build the middle class.

    5.) Encourage your friends and family to follow these steps as well.

  9. TimmyTwinkles says:

    People with real wealth who are secure in it don’t talk the way she does. She’s a joke all the way around.

  10. Tony says:

    I’m still not quite sure what this is all about. A woman checks out from a grocery store and the clerk doesn’t respond to her “How was your day?”

    This results in an article that gets 3.5K likes on Facebook, 1,500 comments, apparently a newspaper cover, and a series of derivative articles (including this one, which no doubt will continue to spawn more commentary). I would argue that this is what privilege looks like.

    • trees says:

      Touche.

    • Exactly! I’ve had plenty of shop assistants not respond when I’ve said something, and it’s not because I’m rich, ‘cos I’m not. So, they’re tired, they’re having a crap day, they just don’t want to talk, they didn’t hear me – what of it? They’re not obliged to respond.

  11. EG says:

    You know, every so often, something happens to confirm everything I was always taught about the ruling class. They are petty, vapid, incompetent, vindictive assholes.

    • TimmyTwinkles says:

      Please, don’t flatter her. Ruling class she ain’t. Though she is definitely everything else you said and then some.

  12. Computer Soldier Porygon says:

    When I worked at Union Market, a woman and her daughter once had a conversation in front of me about how it just wasn’t worth it for the daughter to accept a job for less than $20/hour, which I felt was tacky. Then they asked to have their stuff delivered, and I paused for a second to look for the delivery book, and the woman clapped in my face and said ‘well? chop, chop!’

    There. My cashier anecdote undoes her cashier anecdote. Anecdote canceled.

    • Matt says:

      I would have said something like:

      “Oh, I am SO sorry. They only pay me 10$ an hour for this job. I’m just not motivated to work hard to provide convenience to spoiled, entitled assholes.”

      Of course I would only say that because I am impulsive and lack social graces and self control. I would probably regret it later when I got fired.

      • Computer Soldier Porygon says:

        Haha, yeah. I wish I had been cool, but instead I just finished ringing it up in silence and then my manager was quietly like ‘if you need to take a moment… um… do that’

      • Matt says:

        Wow, nice manager. Its too bad all of them aren’t that classy.

    • Anna says:

      O_o

      That is amazing. I can’t believe people act like that and aren’t humiliated by their behavior. Once I was standing in line and a cashier was taking a long time on a return (or some such complicated situation). The woman in front of me was getting really impatient, and asked him what was taking so long, and if she could speak to the manager. The cashier answered that he was doing the best he could, and the manager wasn’t there right now, when the woman interrupted him and said, “Yeah, I’m not interested in your whole life story.” I was shocked speechless, but always regretted not saying something, because the cashier had to grin and bear it.

    • karak says:

      That would get my “cow face”. I have large, cowlike brown eyes, and when someone treats me like I am stupid, I look at them with my large, limpid eyes, and allow my entire face to relax in a confused, blank expression, and stare at them.

      Then I slowly go about doing whatever they ask me to do, with that blank, cowlike expression that I have cultivated to drive people absolutely up the wall, and the louder and angrier they get the slower, stupider, and more cowlike I become. Treat me like I am stupid and I will take the opportunity to act like I am stupid.

      I get paid the same no matter how smart I am. So eat it, jackass.

    • Not in the same level of horribleness at all, but once some jackass came into the museum where I worked and whine loudly about the entry fee to a special exhibition (dinosaurs from Russia) – it was all of $10. I was at the admissions desk and told him, loudly, that the fee covered the special exhibition AND the rest of the museum, that it was an all day pass, that the exhibition had come a very. long. way and that there were curators’ wages to be paid by that fee.

      He STFU and paid for his ticket.

  13. tinfoil hattie says:

    She’s no more obligated to apologize for her wealth than anyone is obligated to like her.

    • EG says:

      Indeed not. But if she’s going to go out of her way to publicize what a smug, self-righteous asshole she is about her wealth, then I’m going to go out of my way to express my contempt for her vapid, venal self.

    • TimmyTwinkles says:

      Noone has asked her to apologize. That’s what sickens me about her article. She created this strawman of the jealous peasantry resenting her great “wealth” so she could spew some of the tackiest, pseudo-sophisticated, nouveau bullshit i’ve ever read in my life. I almost pity her, because her article reeks of insecurity and self-esteem issues. But the way she refers to the doorman, and anyone else she deems below her “station”, is unforgivable. It’s wrong to judge someone’s worth on how much money they have. But i was taught that how one sees and treats others, no matter their net worth or vocation, is a pretty solid judge of character.And on that standard the author gets an F in Basic Humanity.

    • Donna L says:

      Why does she have to be Jewish? That’s what I really want to know. It’s a shonda for the goyim.

      • EG says:

        Right? Plus, I think my grandmother would’ve smacked her upside her empty little head. “Oh, sure, your belly’s full,” she would’ve said, “so you don’t care about anybody else?”

      • TimmyTwinkles says:

        I feel bad for her father, apparently he’s a pretty decent guy. A doctor, by the way. Not a Rockefeller, as one might assume from the article. I don’t think being wealthy in Manhattan means what she thinks it means.

      • Brennan says:

        Maybe this will motivate her father to take her credit card away. 20 year old Manhattan college students don’t need shopping sprees, and they definitely don’t need dope and underage clubbing (as this girl references in another Thought Catalog piece because oh my god, they’ve actually published her before). I have sympathy for the embarrassment her family must feel, but they’ve enabled her lifestyle. It’s time to either treat her like a kid and set some boundaries or treat her like an adult and make her start paying her own way.

      • EG says:

        they definitely don’t need dope and underage clubbing

        Eh, this I disagree with. I see dope and underage clubbing as far more essential and age-appropriate than name-brand shopping sprees. I have no problem with that.

        If I were her parents and I read this, though, I sure as hell would pull all her pocket money.

    • Fat Steve says:

      She’s no more obligated to apologize for her wealth than anyone is obligated to like her.

      *obliged.

    • tinfoil hattie says:

      She’s the one who sniffed, “I don’t apologize for not being poor,” which was my sarcastic point.

    • tinfoil hattie says:

      I was playing off her, “I’m sorry” b.s. Unsuccessfully, it aeems.

      She interpreted silence and looks from two strangers, and went off on a narcisstic rant about it. Everything Is About Her. And she’s “sorry”! that she is/isn’t whatever made-up thing she imagines people are rebuking her for.

  14. karak says:

    I’m having a hard time believing this is real.

    I’m also a little bit confused by a woman who apparently has zero social graces. When someone says they’re buried in student loan debt, and ask about you, you graciously say, “I was very lucky and my parents were able to help me pay it off.” And then stop the conversation there because it’s none of their business how much your parents paid and how much you did.

    When you have nice stuff and others don’t, you graciously acknowledge your luck, empathize with the other person who is unlucky, and don’t shove it in their face. You certainly don’t complain about how hard it is to pretend to care about other people’s misfortune or unluckiness. You don’t demand strangers cater to you and make you feel good about rich.

    Here’s the thing: when you’re privileged, sometimes other people are going to direct some negative feelings your way. Some of those feelings will be 100% legit. Some will be angry and hurtful and somewhat unfair, and some will be a little of column A, little of column B. But guess what? The cross the bear as a responsible privileged person is that you get it together and fucking take it. That’s the tradeoff, that’s what makes you a decent person.

    • Feminerd says:

      Yeah. This all the way.

      I got lucky. I got a full scholarship++ to school- it paid tuition, fees, and books, and also included a living stipend. I graduated with no debt. Most of my friends and people my age are not that lucky, and when people complain about their debts I’m either quiet, sympathetic (“man, yeah, that sucks”), or if people ask, just say I got a full scholarship.

      Same with social status in general. My parents are upper-middle-class and that’s how I grew up. I don’t apologize for it, but I’m lucky and I know it. I didn’t ask to be born into a family that never worried about food and shelter, that always had the money for a vacation in the summer and summer camps, that could send three children to Ivy League schools (didn’t wind up going to one, but could have). It certainly doesn’t make me “better” than someone who needed financial aid and a job to make it through school, whose family spent some time on food stamps, who shopped at thrift stores- that person has overcome significantly more difficulties than I have, after all!

  15. I’m amused at her assumption that anyone knows or cares what brand her bag is. Bet it’s never occurred to her that people couldn’t care less, or might assume it’s a fake and not care anyway. Or just look and think “Ew, tacky,” which is generally my response to the few Big Name brands I do recognise.

  16. Kerplunk says:

    I actually feel for her. Yes, she’s clueless and insensitive, and appears to be gravely lacking in empathy and compassion. And, yes, she is extremely privileged in that she can buy whatever strikes her fancy and will never have to worry about meeting her material needs. But she doesn’t have any actual power, which I consider to be the truest measure of privilege. She didn’t create the conditions that perpetuate inequality, and is not a position to change them, at least not now. She’s a confused, very young woman who made the mistake of expressing her ignorance in a public forum.

    And since this is a feminist website, perhaps we could ask ourselves whether a young man who had written a similar piece be subjected to the same degree of backlash?

    • Librarygoose says:

      Yes, he would. With a much higher degree of “check your privilege” happening. Just because a person who puts their fucking foot in their mouth is young is no reason to let it go. If you’re old enough to post whiny shit on the internet about the poors judging you, you’re old enough to realize you’re an asshole.

      • Kerplunk says:

        I don’t mean the backlash she might receive here on Feminsite, or other similar forums in which commentators are familiar with the concept of privilege. I mean out in the mainstream, where women are routinely sneered at for their mistakes with greater vitriol than men are.

      • Librarygoose says:

        I’m not going to go easier on her because she is a woman, a grown-ass woman, who is an asshole. Do I think people will rip into her more because she is a woman? Probably. Does that mean she should be spared criticism when she so clearly needs it? No. Will I defend her against baseless claims used solely because of her gender? Sure as fuck, and I will be just as harsh to those assholes too. If you want to wrap yourself in your privilege and cry about your feels, you are going to be charged asshole tax.

    • TimmyTwinkles says:

      Your point on her being young and confused is well-taken.Obviously I can’t speak for anyone else on the commentariat, but if she had been a guy writing that tripe I would have reacted even more strongly. As a white man of privilege, I’m pretty sensitive to stuff like this because I’m very aware of this country’s massive wealth disparities and gradually decreasing economic mobility. So I’m not amused when a third-class snob gets her kicks mocking what are actually very legitimate frustrations felt by those further down the economic ladder.

    • EG says:

      Yes, she’s clueless and insensitive, and appears to be gravely lacking in empathy and compassion. And, yes, she is extremely privileged in that she can buy whatever strikes her fancy and will never have to worry about meeting her material needs. But she doesn’t have any actual power, which I consider to be the truest measure of privilege.

      You don’t think wealth is power? What world are you living in?

      She didn’t create the conditions that perpetuate inequality, and is not a position to change them, at least not now.

      Nope. But she’s in a position not to be a smug, whiney, raging asshole about them. She’s in a position to have a modicum of awareness about the injustices that allow her to enjoy wealth. She’s in a position to pause for a moment and think about what life is like for people who aren’t her.

      She’s a confused, very young woman who made the mistake of expressing her ignorance in a public forum.

      Where are you getting “confused” from? What is it, precisely, that she’s so confused about? And “very young”? She’s 20. At what age is it that people are expected to take responsibility for the crap that comes out of their mouths?

      And since this is a feminist website, perhaps we could ask ourselves whether a young man who had written a similar piece be subjected to the same degree of backlash?

      One can only hope. I loathe the spoiled rich of all genders.

      • Kerplunk says:

        You don’t think wealth is power? What world are you living in?

        Yes, of course wealth confers the power to live as one pleases, allows one to be protected from all sorts of oppression and marginalization, and assures material comfort. But she doesn’t have the power to dictate conditions. She doesn’t have the power to hire and fire, to influence policy, to shape public perception, and more. That kind of power is reserved for those who run the world — the ruling class. She may be a future member of that class, but isn’t at the moment.

        And, for the record, I’m very glad to see a discussion of class privilege.

      • Librarygoose says:

        She doesn’t have the power to hire and fire

        I would never doubt some stuck up asshole’s ability to get a low wage earner fired. I’ve seen it happen and had it happen.

      • Andie says:

        +1 to librarygoose’s comment.

        On the flip side, if she’s got the money for the fancy brand name shit she’s carrying around, she’s got he money to invest in helping improve the circumstances of some of those born to a “lower station” (ugh) than she.

      • EG says:

        She doesn’t have the power to hire and fire, to influence policy, to shape public perception, and more.

        Of course she has that power–she could, if she wished, get involved in doing all those things, and I’m sure put her wealth to some good use.

      • tinfoil hattie says:

        All of what EG said, plus: she MADE UP what two strangers thought about her. She had no factual basis for her whine.

    • Miranda says:

      And since this is a feminist website, perhaps we could ask ourselves whether a young man who had written a similar piece be subjected to the same degree of backlash?

      I am not trying to defend Ms. Sacks–God help me–, but for all those saying, “Nope, not gendered, I would be more angry at a guy”…isn’t the point that unconscious biases, with their origins in societal privilege, manifest unconsciously? You can say that you would be more angry at a dude writing something similar, but talk is cheap. I think there is a definite “rich, bratty girl with daddy’s credit card” trope that attracts, on average, far, far more vitriol than the “rich, bratty boy with daddy’s credit card” trope, which isn’t even a trope at all!

      Classism is a definite problem, and this girl is dripping in it. But I have found classism to be a definite problem in this space and one that it is often unreflected upon–and, even when it is reflected upon, it seems that a number of people who are very well off here like to go around seething about all the other people who have it better than them, with no acknowledgment of their very own economic privilege. So–though I find Ms. Sacks as odious as the rest of you–I am beyond irritated that one of the rare posts dealing with class is of the “Let’s all hate on the stupid rich girl” type. Not because the stupid rich girl doesn’t deserve hate…but because this is the only way class issues are being discussed in this space. When we have a target–who happens to be a young woman who is almost a parody of herself–who everyone can safely position themselves against. So no one has to reflect. So no serious real change can happen.

      Again, this is not to trivialize the anger and hurt people feel at her post. This is to ask why this is the way we always talk about class here.

      • Miranda says:

        Let me give a concrete example lest you think I am full of shit.

        EG has employed the word “vapid” twice. A quick google search revealed the following:
        “vapid girl” – 58,300 hits
        “vapid boy” – 4, 920
        “vapid woman” – 12, 000
        “vapid man” – 4, 320
        “vapid guy” -11,700

        “Vapid guy” and “vapid woman” may have a similar amounts of hits, but those of those are dwarfed by the number of hits for “vapid girl.”

        I have no background in stats, but this looks like a fairly gendered insult.

        Lolagirl referred to “daddy taking care of his little princess,” which shouldn’t need an explanation. Angie unduplicated, below, called her “sweetiepie.”

        The word “whining” has come up, and a quick google search also revealed:
        “whining girl” – 31,800
        “whining boy” – 8,740
        “whining guy” – 6,150
        “whining” + “rich girl” – 980,000
        “whining” + “rich boy” – 238,000
        “whining” + “rich guy” – 400,000

        Again, it looks like a gendered pattern.

        This is not to say that Ms. Sacks isn’t a whining, vapid little princess rich girl…I am just trying to push back against the notion that there is absolutely zero amount of gendered anything going on here.

        If someone wants to take issue with my methodology, please do.

      • EG says:

        “Vapid” is not a gendered insult. It is used more often for women because a misogynist society ascribes negative qualities to women more often than to men, not because the quality of vapidity is in itself gendered. I use “vapid” all the time, believe me, as well as “whining,” about individuals of all genders. Vapidity knows no bounds, unfortunately.

        “Gross” gets 63,000,000 more hits for “gross girl” than for “gross boy.” But I would say that grossness is far likelier to be associated with masculine attributes. Is “gross” gendered as well?

        As to unconscious biases, I don’t know what to tell you. I was raised to scorn and loathe rich people. My scorn and loathing for spoiled girls is as nothing compared to my scorn and loathing for Donald Trump.

      • Miranda says:

        You are coming painfully close to my brother’s, “Bitch is not a gendered insult. Men can be bitches just as much as women, but it’s just misogynistic society that ascribes bitchiness to women more of the time.” I have always heard “vapid” as a gendered insult, although I am oh so glad to know that you personally definitely are an equal opportunist about your usage.

        Even if you want to disregard the point about “whining rich girl” and “vapid,” we still have two examples of diminutives being used in pejorative aways against a woman. Yes, the woman in question is a terrible person, but I thought the point of feminism is that we are supposed to defend the Ann Coulters of the world as well?

        I disagree that “gross” is more readily masculinized. Women’s bodies are often discussed in terms of gross.

        EG, are you not a tenured university professor? You might have been raised to “scorn and loathe” rich people, but to many people in this country, to say nothing of the world, you ARE the rich person. This is the kind of unreflective class discussions that happen in this space.

      • Lolagirl says:

        Miranda, I was simply using Sacks’s own words. She specifically referred to herself as daddy’s little princess. To wit:

        “They then both glare at me with my shopping bag and my Coco Lite snack cakes and Diet Coke as if to say here’s daddy’s little princess wasting money, that little piece of shit.”

        I understand where it is you are coming from with your comment. However, I’m uncomfortable with even the inference that we should refrain from calling out and criticizing elitism when it comes from women sources. Elitism is a bad thing, and I’m perfectly comfortable with criticizing both women and men who engage in it. I also stand by the rest of my comment I made above to the effect that Sacks appears to have very little compassion or understanding for others.

        Overall, Ms. Sacks appears to be a not terribly kind person, but being a woman has nothing to do with that. It certainly should not raise her above criticism because she is a woman. Besides, she purposefully put her words out into the public sphere. That others would draw their own conclusions and possibly criticize and pick it apart should be a foregone conclusion.

      • Miranda says:

        I keep trying to reply, but I appear to be stuck in auto-mod.

        In that reply, I have tried to clarify my position in the way I see classism handled in this space. It is often only discussed as specific attacks on specific people “OVER THERE,” thereby allowing people in this space and this space itself to distance themselves from the perceived “elites” and “classisms.” I have found this space to be classist in the past, and i find “look at egregiously elitist/classist case, let’s talk about how terrible it is” to be not productive when there is so many other types of classism here. I DO NOT THINK she should be above criticism because she is a woman. I DO THINK we are more ready to pounce on a young spoiled bratty woman than we are to pounce on a young spoiled bratty man.

      • tigtog says:

        I keep trying to reply, but I appear to be stuck in auto-mod.

        Just FYI – it’s not *you* that is being stuck in auto-mod. You just happened to use words that trip the auto-mod filter in your two automoderated comments.

      • SkyTracer says:

        If someone wants to take issue with my methodology, please do.

        Really?

        Aside from the points EG brings up, you want to be careful with exact string searches.

        Searching for “vapid boy” vs “vapid girl” is a good way to measure the occurrence of those phrases on the web, but it’s hard to account for different usages. For example, some results for “vapid girl” are going to be feminist cultural critiques and women sarcastically deflecting hostile comments.

        Also, web pages tend to include a lot of content that shifts in context, so searching for two different exact strings at once probably doesn’t mean the two strings were closely related. For example, “bike” + “rich man” returns over 5 million results. “cupboard” + “rich girl” returns just over 400,000 results. I doubt there are that many stories about the bikes of rich men and the cupboards of rich girls. It’s just some common words that happen to end up on the same webpage.

        Feel free to tell me if I’m being awkward.

      • Donna L says:

        EG, are you not a tenured university professor?

        No, she isn’t.

      • EG says:

        EG, are you not a tenured university professor? You might have been raised to “scorn and loathe” rich people, but to many people in this country, to say nothing of the world, you ARE the rich person. This is the kind of unreflective class discussions that happen in this space.

        I’m not tenured, but leaving that aside, what on earth makes you think I’m unreflective about this? First of all, forget “many”–to most people in the world, I’m the rich person. And, as I said in another comment, I have no problem with those people scorning and loathing me. Why would I? And why wouldn’t they?

        And, as I also said, the significant difference is that I don’t act like it’s some kind of heinous persecution every time somebody who has to interact with me to make a living doesn’t make small talk to my satisfaction, write up a long essay about how mean they are, and post it on the internet.

        You assume that my having contempt for somebody means that it’s never occurred to me that others might feel the same about me. But that’s your assumption, and it’s a reflection of your understanding of contempt and loathing, not mine.

      • SkyTracer says:

        This is to ask why this is the way we always talk about class here.

        I imagine that one motivation for this post was to provide a relatively constructive response to an article that’s almost certainly receiving a lot of sexist, threatening attention. Where most responses might be “you’re a parody of yourself; and I hate women”, this response was more “you’re a parody of yourself, but you don’t have to be.”

      • Miranda says:

        That’s not the way this was framed, though. This was framed as “Idiotic yuppie doing classist, narcissistic, yuppie things.”

        My point, if it wasn’t clear, are that discussion on classism in this space are often attacks leveraged against particular people–often, seemingly, clueless/narcissistic young female yuppies–instead of talking about more systematic classist issues in this space, in feminism, and in the Anglophone world. It let’s everyone “loathe and scorn,” to borrow a phrase “those mean richie rich people OVER THERE,” effectively distancing themselves from their own implication and this space’s implication in classism.

        I am especially annoyed, because if I remember correctly, this space is pretty bourgeois. We’ve got a lot of lawyers, professors, budding academics, and young professionals in this space, haven’t we?

      • SkyTracer says:

        OTOH, my comment didn’t actually address your question, so I don’t know what my aim was. Never mind.

      • EG says:

        effectively distancing themselves from their own implication and this space’s implication in classism.

        The phrase was “scorn and loathe.” But you have nothing to assume that that’s distancing me from my own implication in classism. On the contrary, I am quite aware with the likelihood of and have no problem with other people scorning and loathing me for me for my class status and the power and privilege it brings me. The only critical difference here is that I haven’t written an entire essay about how poor people are so MEAN to me because of my shopping and then posted it for all the world to see.

      • Caperton says:

        No, there isn’t a “rich, bratty boy with daddy’s credit card” trope, but I think the “douchebag trust-fund dudebro” is a comparable one. And yes, I do think if one of Sacks’s classmates wrote about how people need to stop being so hateful because he’s so rich, it would get a comparable response. It probably wouldn’t get an identical response, because it probably wouldn’t be an identical essay — a rich-asshole guy would probably write about cars and watches and collecting women at clubs, because those tend to be more guy-oriented status symbols. But yes, an essay by a man railing at the world because his dad earned every penny he spent on that Lexus and the doorman is a jealous asshole for not smiling at him would get a vehemently negative response.

      • Miranda says:

        All right, sure. In the interest of not derailing, I will drop my contention that there is anything gendered going on here. (Although I would like to point out that I know such essays, penned by men, exist because there is someone on my facebook feed who regularly–approvingly–links to them. And guys in the campus paper write this crap all the time. But that is not what we are discussing here.)

        Here is my point, though. This space has always seemed pretty bourgeois to me. Jill in particular, though well meaning, seems a big culprit of this time and again. (“I’m on a cruise!” “Where did you go for your fancy vacation?”) But the only time we ever talk about classism seems to be when we are tearing apart really obvious and terrible examples of classism that happen way over there. Other times, when I have seen people get called on classism, it is often, “That can’t be classist, because I’m not super dooper wealthy!”

        So, that’s all. Now I’m going to stop.

      • Kerplunk says:

        But the only time we ever talk about classism seems to be when we are tearing apart really obvious and terrible examples of classism that happen way over there.

        I think that’s true, and not just in this space.

        Class issues seem central to me in discussing any kind of oppression and inequality, yet they are rarely raised. Imbalance of power, much of which is down to class, is at the very heart of privilege, and affects all forms of oppression. (Which is why it’s obtuse to insist that a spoiled rich girl is comparable to barons of industry.)

        The example always given for someone who has privilege is Straight White Dude, but never SWRichD.

        As an aside, and sorry to be nitpicky, but “classism” is not the right term for this dynamic. The issue is not whether the wealthy harbor bias toward the poor. The issue is the actual difference in power that exists between them. How a rich person might feel about poor people is quite secondary.

      • EG says:

        Which is why it’s obtuse to insist that a spoiled rich girl is comparable to barons of industry.

        Ah, what a narrowly Marxist viewpoint of what “power” is.

        But the issue isn’t whether or not she is comparable to them. The issue is whether she is in their class.

      • Caperton says:

        And just to be clear — I don’t mean to imply that Feministe doesn’t have its own class issues, or that discussing them is out of line. I just wanted to make the point about gender in this context — that to say she’s being criticized because she’s a woman is accurate only in that, as a woman, she’s been socialized to express her attitude in this way, whereas a man would probably express the same attitude in a different venue. Same shitty attitude, just as worthy of condemnation, but this one is out on the Internet.

      • ldouglas says:

        I really don’t get that definition of class.

        What class is a person who grew up with no money and then wins the lottery?

        How about someone who grew up with the assumptions and attitudes of wealth, but lost their money?

        How about me- a young person who grew up with failing schools and almost no resources, with a community college degree, and no real assets, but with a job that pays a significantly higher than average salary?

        I’ve googled, but I’ve never seen a coherent definition of class. And it seems relevant- especially if you think this girl is in the ‘same class’ as someone like a ‘baron of industry,’ who is wealthier than her by much more than she’s wealthier than the cashier in this story.

        I’m hoping to reevaluate after hearing other perspectives, but right now I’m leaning away from finding ‘class’ a useful category, as opposed to simply having ‘financial privilege.’ There are situations where someone with a thousand bucks has privilege- because money is inherently relational/contextual, the way privilege is.

      • Miranda says:

        I really don’t get that definition of class.

        What class is a person who grew up with no money and then wins the lottery?

        How about someone who grew up with the assumptions and attitudes of wealth, but lost their money?

        Ehh, when I think of “class,” I think of a constellation of things, some of which have to do with income and assets, but not exclusively. In my experience, “class” has a number of markers, including life style, values, and upbringing. Things like regional accents come to mind. Or the kind of schooling one has had–failing public, good public, parochial, private, or elite boarding school.

        If two families are equally wealthy, but one always wears designer clothing and has fancy cars, and the other one always wears and has brand name everything…on the one hand, they both have a lot of disposable income and will never have to worry about things like health insurance or rent. On the other hand, I would guess that the family that wears and has designer and elite everything would probably get treated very differently and moves in the world a different way. I don’t know how to parse that in terms of what “class” they are. Just a thought.

      • Kerplunk says:

        I’m hoping to reevaluate after hearing other perspectives, but right now I’m leaning away from finding ‘class’ a useful category, as opposed to simply having ‘financial privilege.’

        Sorry to be repetitive, but to me the issue is power, which I consider to be the central issue in all forms of privilege.

        Too often privilege is treated as being about perception: someone who is perceived to have some form of privilege is treated better. That’s real, of course, but fooling someone into thinking I have privilege, and getting treated better as a result, doesn’t give me a whole lot of power, except in a very transitory way.

        It’s true that class privilege is not only conferred by wealth, but also by perceived social status (a college professor might be more highly thought of than a skilled blue collar worker who actually makes more money), but ultimately privilege is bestowed by the degree of power than one has, and those few who have huge wealth also have great power. They also may have social connections and a family history which also gives them power, which complicates the issue a bit, but not enough to toss it aside, in my view.

        I think class, in that sense, is an important category, and quite central, in my view. And I think it’s crucial to keep alive, as an issue, because so much effort has been expended by those who have wealth and power to discount it.

      • ldouglas says:

        Thanks to both of you for your perspectives.

        I guess part of my problem is admittedly self-centered; I have no idea what ‘class’ I’m in. I grew up with very little (by American standards- I think it’s important to note that when talking about wealth) and have sharply painful memories of realizing I didn’t fit into many places because of the way I talked, music I was interested in, and social knowledge I just didn’t have- let alone the things I couldn’t afford. To me, these are markers of class disadvantage.

        But I recently got a degree in a very in-demand field, and so suddenly I’m making more in a year than my mother did in five. I paid off my students loans easily (though tuition was low at my school). Of course, a lot of that money goes towards helping my family out- paying my mom’s medical bills, rent, and so on.

        Of course, I still flinch when I’m buying drinks with colleagues at expensive bars, even though I can afford it now. It actually makes me feel panicked when I get a bill, because on some level I genuinely believe it’ll bankrupt me.

        What the fuck do I do with that? (this isn’t rhetorical).

      • TimmyTwinkles says:

        Okay, let’s talk about class. I touched on this already upthread, but now i know what her article reminds me of and why her article is so offensive to me. She sounds exactly like a lot of other reactionary conservatives I’ve known who love the time-honored “why dont poor people just grab ahold of those bootstraps” argument. Part of being obtuse enough to buy into the bootstraps nonsense is convincing yourself that legitimate class grievances are just pretexts for being jealous of rich people. If not, you would have to acknowledge some very un-American realities, ie a tiny minority owns almost all wealth, rich get richer, economic/social mobility plummeting, etc. So her article is way more toxic than if it was just a case of an entitled twenty-something making an ass out of herself. She thinks she’s cutting-edge and sticking it to the progressive crowd when she’s really just carrying water for the Trickle-Down mafia. And please don’t assume that everyone who finds her views repugnant are railing about someone who “has it better than them”. From what i can tell my background is at least as privileged as hers and I found that article disgusting. Not to mention unbelievably tacky.

      • Lolagirl says:

        I agree with you completely, Timmy.

        I also got a whole lot of bootstrappy undertones from Sacks article. Especially the I’m sorry for being rich! thing, because using I’m sorry in that sort of context always signals that sorry is the last thing the person saying it actually feels. She still does not connect the reality of her situation to being anything more than the happy accident of circumstance it actually is. And that really is the cornerstone of bootstrapping, the assumption that one’s being born into relative privilege is somehow earned by that accident of birth. Conversely, not being born into privilege is seen as a moral and personal failing, and pointing out that disadvantage of birth is ascribed to not trying hard enough and poor work ethic.

        Does Sacks actually think these things? I’m not sure, but it’s a fairly easy couple of steps down the chain of logic to get to such a conclusion based on the things she wrote in her article. Her disdain for the check out clerk and the person with whom she was conversing, as well as her whole I’m Sorry! line does lead down that path.

      • tigtog says:

        I agree with Miranda that there does seem to be a gendered component to the widespread backlash against Ms Sacks. In particular, many generalisations are being drawn from the few facts she provides about herself to cast her as an amalgam of a bunch of tropes about rich spoiled “princesses” when these kinds of broad assumptions are exactly what she’s being criticised for herself. Why so predominantly the “princess” jibe? Why not more of a gender-neutral “brat” or “jerk” or “asshat” jibe that could also refer to rich spoiled young men?

        What is supposedly being criticised is the lack of self-reflection displayed by someone with a life of relative ease getting butt-hurt over workers in service-positions apparently not liking xe very much, in interactions that only last a few minutes in the day for xe, while those workers have similar interactions over and over again all throughout the day with hundreds of other people and who have to be always looking out for the next customer, not just xe.

        There’s no doubt plenty of rich young men whose income depends only on pleasing the family moneybags-holder who are just as wilfuly obtuse regarding their daily interactions with service-workers and many who are far more obnoxious arseholes in person than Ms Sacks appears to be. They’re probably more acculturated to direct arrogance which they expect others to take on the chin, rather than holding it in until they get to vent about it online.

        I’ve got further murky thoughts related to which gender gets access to publishing spaces for pieces about everyday trivial annoyances versus which gender expects to gets access to publishing spaces for pieces on bigger-picture politics/policy matters, and how that plays into the gendered reaction each type of piece generates, but they’re not fully in place. I’m sure the commentariat can follow that line of thinking forward though.

      • tinfoil hattie says:

        Good points, Miranda and tigtog. Food for thought on my part. Thanks.

      • Kathy says:

        But I have found classism to be a definite problem in this space and one that it is often unreflected upon–and, even when it is reflected upon, it seems that a number of people who are very well off here like to go around seething about all the other people who have it better than them, with no acknowledgment of their very own economic privilege.

        This. Not to make this only about Feministe, or even feminist blogs in general, but a certain degree of classism is not only tolerated, but encouraged in liberal and progressive spaces (and I’m as far left as they come), where only the most egregious examples of class privilege, like Ms. Sacks’s essay, are examined. Maybe I’m more micro-tuned to see it because I don’t have it, but it’s a pretty big part of why I rarely comment — anywhere — anymore.

    • Athenia says:

      I am sorry that I was born into great financial circumstances and my father likes to provide for me. I

      I think it’s interesting that the young woman in question has no problem whipping out the fact that it’s her *father* who *provides* her with this lifestyle. She’s not vapid, she’s just living proof of patriarchy.

    • The Last Selina says:

      She didn’t create the conditions that perpetuate inequality, and is not a position to change them, at least not now.

      Why not? Plenty of 20 year olds support themselves. Plenty of 20 year olds support themselves AND attend school. And if she doesn’t want to support herself, she could use the time she doesn’t spend working volunteering, protesting or campaigning.

  17. TomSims says:

    Oh well

  18. Angie unduplicated says:

    She throws status symbols in everyone’s face and expects the working class to kowtow to her for having them. Bad news, sweetiepie: one of the few class privileges available to low-wage workers is the privilege of giving superior service to other workers instead of to rich parasites. Those very symbols are her way of disrespecting poorer people. The cashier and her customer recognized the implications of her consumerism and gave her the treatment she deserved.

  19. Whosagooddog? says:

    I agree that her decision to write an article about this obviously minor incident reflects poor judgment and likely a very sheltered life on her part. However, as to the incident itself (taking her description at face value), I think she was completely in the right and was perfectly justified in being offended and annoyed. She had done nothing wrong, and yet the cashier was rude to her for no good reason. The OP and various commenters seem to be missing that core point.

    Based on the reactions here, I’m left wondering: Does the mere fact of her relative wealth mean she “deserves” to be treated rudely? Does it obligate her to accept such rudeness as some kind of just punishment or karmic balancing of her otherwise privileged life? On the flip side, are the rest of us entitled to be rude and dismissive to random people who’ve done us no wrong simply because they appear to be richer than us? And if so, how far does that entitlement go? When I encounter some woman with fancier shoes than I could ever afford, am I only allowed to be brusque and unresponsive to her friendly overtures, or can I actively berate her?

    • tigtog says:

      She had done nothing wrong, and yet the cashier was rude to her for no good reason.

      How is the cashier doing her job quickly and efficiently being “rude”? Is she in a job where she gets tips for kowtowing to customers? Isn’t it likely that most customers in such a store tend to be in a rush and preoccupied and tend to prefer not to chat anyway? Or maybe the cashier’s store manager flashed her a warning look about a queue building that Rachael didn’t see?

      Rachael seems to have assumed that they glared at her *because she looked rich*, but does Rachael seem to you to be all that accurate a judge of how other people might feel about her, given her choice to write this article in the first place? How about if the cashier and that customer were friends outside the store, and were enjoying catching up, and they were just a bit miffed that their chat was interrupted, and it wouldn’t have mattered if the interrupter had been any other stranger? Or maybe just that a regular customer was having a chat while there were no other customers, and then Rachael and some more customers came in, meaning that there was no time for chatting any more? Or maybe Rachael’s done something arsehattish previously to that cashier and doesn’t even remember doing it?

      We don’t know the full story, and going purely by the writing in this column there could be lots of reasons why people in service positions who interact with Rachael regularly might not look forward to yet another encounter. It’s not rude to simply do one’s job in an efficient, neutral manner. Expecting people to be effusive while doing their job is what is rude.

      • EG says:

        Seconding everything here. The cashier isn’t being paid to be this woman’s friend. She’s being paid to ring her up. If Sacks wants a friendly chat, she can go hang out with an actual friend.

      • Leah says:

        THANK YOU. That’s basically a short, sweeter version of all I wanted to say… :/

      • Miriam says:

        Per Rachael’s article, she said that she asked the cashier how her day was and the cashier said nothing in response. That’s rude. Unless Rachael is just lying or misremembering, I don’t think there’s any explanation that can make that behavior okay. It may have had nothing to do with the shopping bags, but it was still rude behavior.

      • D’you know if the cashier even heard her?

      • EG says:

        Oh, nonsense. Sometimes people don’t want to talk to you. They have their own lives, and are distracted or thinking about something else, and responding to your meaningless pleasantry isn’t at the top of your list. Big deal. Get on with your life, Sacks. Christ, if that’s what counts as hurtful rudeness to her, I have no idea how she gets through a single day in this city.

      • shfree says:

        Hey, I’m a cashier from time to time. What you all are calling “rude” is actually less than stellar customer service, assuming that the cashier did indeed hear Sacks. And really, so what? It’s hard to be “on” all the damn time for every single customer, and it wasn’t as if she didn’t ring her up in a timely fashion, she failed to respond to a customer in a way that the customer thought was appropriate. And really, she probably wouldn’t consider herself opting not to respond to a query about her state of being from a stranger on the street to be pearl-clutchingly rude, so why is this such a fucking problem, to the point that it is such a MIND BLOWING OFFENSE that is worthy of an essay? For fuck’s sake, if I wrote an article every time some asshole annoyed me, I would be at my computer for hours after I got off of work. Care to guess why?

      • Miriam says:

        Kitteh’s Unpaid Help, obviously I don’t know if the cashier heard her. I can only take her story as written, which is why I explicitly caveated

        unless Rachael is lying or misremembering

        . And in the story as written, the cashier was rude without provocation.

      • tinfoil hattie says:

        The cashier was quite nice to the previous customer, according to Ms. Sacks. And I do believe being polite to customers is something service people are trained to do.

        But I think Ms. Sacks might not be in the best position to judge why she was treated rudely, if that’s what it was. Was her approach to the cash register hostile, impatient, or rude? Did her obvious feelings about “poors,” as she nastily refers to people with less wealth than her, come across?

        I think she wrote a whole article about how mean people are to her, “making” her feel bad, because she wants to point out how wealthy she is, over and over and over.

        I do believe there is a gendered slant to the critique of her piece.

        Also, like Whoseagooddog, above, I wonder if there is a belief that well-off people deserve our scorn, just because they’re well off? I’d love to talk about that in spillover.

      • trees says:

        Also, like Whoseagooddog, above, I wonder if there is a belief that well-off people deserve our scorn, just because they’re well off? I’d love to talk about that in spillover.

        Most people, me included, can only wish they had these kinds of problems.

      • Bagelsan says:

        …That looks like a “yes.” :p

    • Leah says:

      Ok, I know I’m late to the party but I can’t let this stand without a rant of my own: I have a hard time believing this lowly service worker was actually, genuinely, RUDE to her and I think it’s very telling that you’re assuming she’s reporting this interaction accurately rather than giving the cashier the benefit of the doubt instead. In my experience as a “service worker” – anecdotally though it may be – the word “rude” means something very, very different to wealthy assholes like this one. I’ve spent my whole life being told to smile by smarmy middle class douchebags who are upset that I wasn’t Pretty™ enough while serving them. I’ve gotten complaints to my managers because I refuse to flirt back, and 99% of the time these pricks basically wanted someone (female and smiley) to wipe their ass for them instead of hand them a damn sandwich or a receipt. And yes, I get this from men AND women. I’m tired of it, and damn right I’m bitter and disgusted with your fucking attitude when you waltz up to me and interrupt my day with your pathetic, needy demands to be pampered because you’re wearing a rolex in a dump that you normally wouldn’t be caught dead in.

      Seriously, customer service is mind-numbing and deadening enough before these fucks show up with a chip on their shoulder. I don’t give a shit how your day was any more than you give a shit how mine went… but I don’t run home and publish a rant about how wounded I was when you didn’t scratch my ass for me.

      This pathetic excuse for an article was so, so so enraging. People like the author have no idea what the hell ‘service workers’ have to deal with.

      Makes me love my normal, calm customers even more. Thank heavens for them, I swear…

      • Iamabanana says:

        Yeah, there are very different definitions of “rude” depending on who you talk to.

        I had a customer flip out at me once. I was working in a moderately expensive store where we generally had one manager, one cashier and one salesperson at any given time. The managers had a tendency to hang out at the register and chat with the cashier, so I was always running around the store. On one particular day I was helping three customers, and part of that was that I was locating an item for one customer who was kind of a notorious a-hole.

        She was a regular, so I knew she knew the drill. I gave her the usual spiel, took her information and went off to help the next customer. Which apparently she took offense to. A few minutes later she’s insisting she had NO idea what was going to happen next (we’ll call you if we find the item, like we always do) and that I had insulted her by walking away. She just kept repeating that. “You WALKED AWAY.”

        Yes, I gave you the information you needed, took your phone number, and was no longer of any use to you. I’m not sure what else I was supposed to do, but she was so angry that I had left her presence too quickly. My coworkers (manager included) all agreed that she was just being irrational and mean for no reason because she shops with us all the time and knows how we do things, so it’s not like she had no clue even if I hadn’t said the information I’m pretty sure I said.

        But apparently she found my behavior rude and felt she had to react how she reacted.

        And I found her yelling at me and repeating that over and over (YOU WALKED AWAY!) pretty damn rude as well.

        I like to think I had a much better case.

        As an aside note, I hate working in customer service most of the time.

  20. Miriam says:

    I feel like this is a mountain of a molehill, and personally, I think it’s beneath Feministe to join the pile on of such an easy target.

    After reading the entire article, I think that Rachael is aware of class privilege. She stated

    Thinking that other people are beneath you just because of the financial circumstances they were born into is just gross.

    and

    What I’m saying is that it should not be made into a spectacle that there are differences in income. It should not be made to define who people are, even though we do it all the time. And if we do judge people for displaying wealth or not we should attempt to show tact because fortune can change.

    Her main argument simply seems to be that just as wealthy people should not judge people’s worth negatively because they’re poor, less wealthy people should not judge people’s worth negatively because they’re wealthy. People should be judged based on their actions, choices, and personality rather than on an accident of birth that can change. I don’t think this is really a controversial claim or anything anyone here truly disagrees with.

    Yes, it’s poorly done and clumsy. She isn’t a sophisticated writer (although I don’t think she’s a particularly poor writer for her age). But it doesn’t seem to merit the response it’s getting, including saying she deserved to have a cashier not even bother with social pleasantries during a routine interaction.

    • EG says:

      Her main argument simply seems to be that just as wealthy people should not judge people’s worth negatively because they’re poor, less wealthy people should not judge people’s worth negatively because they’re wealthy….I don’t think this is really a controversial claim or anything anyone here truly disagrees with.

      I do. That’s a bullshit argument, as it ignores the differing valances of wealth and poverty, the social contexts, and the power differential. Wealthy people can suck it up and be judged; the non-wealthy don’t owe them the benefit of any doubt.

      What I’m saying is that it should not be made into a spectacle that there are differences in income.

      …says the young woman swanning around with loads of shopping bags and, apparently, a purse with a label that means something. Fuck her. Only the wealthy have the option of not talking about money, of not putting their wealth or lack thereof on display. When I’m tired at work, I can go buy a cappuccino from the campus Starbuck’s without thinking twice (well, these days; my rent expenses have recently dropped). Six months ago? I was counting every penny and an invitation to coffee was a social difficulty. There was no way for me to say yes, and no way for me to say no without explaining why.

      Let’s talk about money; let’s make a spectacle of wealth. Let’s make sure people in the middle and upper classes are perfectly clear on what life is like for everybody else.

    • EG says:

      But it doesn’t seem to merit the response it’s getting, including saying she deserved to have a cashier not even bother with social pleasantries during a routine interaction.

      Oh, horrors! Not having one of the poors greet you properly! And then to say she deserved such horrid treatment!

      Truly, the persecution being visited upon Sacks is great.

      • Librarygoose says:

        Right? Seriously, I got fired recently for not greeting a woman where I was a cashier. She complained about the store’s lack of people on the floor, the long-ass line, the ridiculous managers, but the only name they could put to it was mine (through the record of her transaction) so I got fired. Because one customer complaint meant being fired. Fuck this lady.

      • wanttobeanon says:

        Arrrrrrr, that’s the sort of anecdote that gets my panties in a bunch. I am sorry, Librarygoose. My old retail job was like that – you were required to pucker up and press lips to assholes all day long, no matter how obnoxious and nasty and entitled the ‘guests’ were.

        I hope you’ve been able to find something else if you needed to.

      • Miriam says:

        If you weren’t being disingenuous, I was referring to the general Internet response. I do think people seriously arguing that there is absolutely nothing problematic about a cashier being rude to a person simply because said person is displaying markers of wealth is ridiculous (and probably nothing people really believe). It is exactly the same as saying it’s okay for a plus size woman to be rude to a thin woman simply because the latter woman is thin with thin privilege or a woman to be rude to a man simply because the man has male privilege. A person who can’t handle faking social niceness at people in more privileged positions is a person who will not stay in a customer service oriented position for long because that is part of the job of customer service.

        Rachael also wasn’t “swanning” around with shopping bags; she was carrying shopping bags. And she was carrying them because she had just gone shopping. Perhaps I’m making an incorrect assumption, but given that she’s a 20 year old college student in NYC, I feel pretty safe believing she was traveling by foot and actually had no alternative other than to carry the shopping bags or do a special detour just to put them away before she could be expected to interact with a cashier.

      • EG says:

        I do think people seriously arguing that there is absolutely nothing problematic about a cashier being rude to a person simply because said person is displaying markers of wealth is ridiculous (and probably nothing people really believe).

        Ding dong, you’re wrong. I really do believe it. I don’t think not getting a response to a question about somebody else’s day is some kind of unthinkable rude insult; I don’t think a cashier owes customers anything but swiftness and accuracy. I find the notion that emotional caretaking is part of one’s job to be vile, unless one is actually a therapist or something.

        Perhaps I’m making an incorrect assumption, but given that she’s a 20 year old college student in NYC, I feel pretty safe believing she was traveling by foot and actually had no alternative other than to carry the shopping bags or do a special detour just to put them away before she could be expected to interact with a cashier.

        If she’s such a sensitive flower that she can’t handle a normal NYC interaction, then perhaps she should have made a detour to drop them off.

        She’s the one saying not to make a spectacle of wealth inequality; I must’ve missed the part where she says “or, make a spectacle of it if the alternative is mildly inconvenient.”

      • Miranda says:

        Rachael also wasn’t “swanning” around with shopping bags; she was carrying shopping bags.

        I’m next to clueless about brand names, but Lolagirl down thread pointed out that these bags are several thousand dollars at their full price. And she mentioned the Mulberry bag. Specifically. So it’s on her mind, and she wants other people to know she has it. My understanding is that people buy extravagant shit like this so people WILL notice how wealthy they are. If she were carrying a shopping bag from Target, I would feel more sympathetic for your position.

        (Although I am uncomfortable with the “swanning around” description. Men wear egregiously expensive suits and watches and have egregiously expensive cars. But I feel like, when people go out to attack awful status symbols, they are more likely to become fixated on women’s accessories, because they are already constructed as vain and superfluous. We might all still disdain the expensive suit, but there’s a kind of ambiguity to the expensive suit as well: we also understand that it carries a lot darker, weightier “power” overtones, whereas the expensive purse is often just seen as a “vapid” frill.)

      • Jackie says:

        EG, people, yes even rich people can have what are called invisible disabilities such as those on the Autism Spectrum, that make interacting with people difficult. I relate to Rachel, I find it difficult to “mind read” people who are sending mixed or no signals.

        It might have to do with Rachel being sheltered, having a mental disability, or being overprotected. What bothers me is we live in a society that regularly shames sensitive people. It seems as if it’s a crime to have feelings when dealing with others who regard feelings as inconsequential and burdensome. We end up with more broken souls who lash out because insensitivity is accepted more than sensitivity. This needs to change, perhaps people wouldn’t have to feel so sensitive if they lived in a world where they didn’t have to fear the insensitive.

      • Bruce From Missouri says:

        Ding dong, you’re wrong. I really do believe it. I don’t think not getting a response to a question about somebody else’s day is some kind of unthinkable rude insult; I don’t think a cashier owes customers anything but swiftness and accuracy.

        Well, you are just dead wrong. I am a cashier and part of my job is greeting every customer whether they are homeless or billionaires. Failing that, I am certainly obligated to respond if they direct a social pleasantry my way. Ignoring a customer who you are in the process of ringing up is:
        A) Rude as hell.
        B) Against the training that any cashier will have had.

        We don’t have to respond to rudeness, and if we experience rudeness we can always call a manager over and throw them out.

        She seems like she might be a bit of an ass, but she’s right. If you can’t perform the basic requirements of the job (of which politeness is one), then get a job where you don’t deal with the public.

      • Bagelsan says:

        Yeah, there are lots of jobs where a certain attitude is part of the job. Whether or not cashier is one of those I don’t know, but I sure wouldn’t want to hire (or work with) someone who wore their disdain/hangover/dickishness on their sleeve all day. It’s unprofessional, no matter what your job is.

      • EG says:

        That may be how it’s done in Missouri, but no, in NYC, not responding to a meaningless pleasantry while doing your job is not considered “rude as hell.” That’s just normal. I get on the bus and dunk my metrocard and ask the busdriver how he/she is, and sometimes he/she says “fine” and asks I am, and sometimes he/she nods, and sometimes he/she doesn’t bother to answer, and all of that is fine. It’s normal. I don’t think about it twice. “Rude as hell” would be rolling her eyes and telling Sacks to go fuck herself. If Sacks can’t handle a normal interaction in the city, she should go elsewhere.

        I don’t need to be made “welcome” while I’m paying for groceries. I just need to pay and leave without being held up. The idea that it’s somebody’s job to pretend to be happy to see me is patronizing and disgusting. Few people are getting paid enough for that.

      • EG says:

        I sure wouldn’t want to hire (or work with) someone who wore their disdain/hangover/dickishness on their sleeve all day.

        Fortunately, not bothering to say “fine” when somebody with no genuine interest in you asks how your day is isn’t a sign of all-day disdain, a hangover, or dickishness.

      • Bagelsan says:

        Well I don’t think it’s a sign of a hangover or disdain, no.

      • Whosagooddog? says:

        That may be how it’s done in Missouri, but no, in NYC, not responding to a meaningless pleasantry while doing your job is not considered “rude as hell.” That’s just normal.

        Totally disagree, EG. I’ve been in NYC for about 6 years now, and I honestly can’t recall a single occasion where I didn’t exchange a pleasantry or two with a cashier (except MTA people in the booths where you can barely hear each other anyway). Bus drivers, I suppose, don’t usually exchange pleasantries (maybe it’s an MTA thing?), but cashiers definitely do. I’m not talking a full-on conversation here, but something along the lines of: “Hey. How ya doing?”….”Good thanks.” or even just “Thanks. Take care.”….”Thanks, you too.”

        Honestly, I think the reason everyone believes New Yorkers are rude is because, for some reason, New Yorkers keep telling people (as you’ve done in this thread) that we’re more rude in our daily interactions than we really are. YMMV, I guess, but I have definitely not found New Yorkers to be any more curt than people in any other major city I’ve lived in.

      • EG says:

        It’s not that we never, or even that mostly, don’t have social interactions. It’s that not having them isn’t considered rude. I honestly have never met a single person in my lifetime of living here who would consider this cashier “rude as hell,” or even mildly offensive for not responding to a completely meaningless question.

        In my experience, we’re rude when the situation calls for it, but more importantly, we don’t equate briskness with rudeness.

    • Lolagirl says:

      A mountain out of a molehill? More like a mountain out of a Mulberry bag in the Gristedes check out line.

      Sacks is a hypocrite, pure and simple. Again, her protestations of being Sorry! is bullshit, pure and simple. She’s not sorry about her being wealthy of privileged or free from attending state school. Does nobody else see the inference there that state school is only for poor folks whose parents can’t afford a private university? Not only is that elitist, but it’s insulting to the entire premise of a public university system and the education it provides to its students.

      Sacks goes out of her way to drop names left and right, the Mulberry purse, shopping at Gristedes, living in the West Village, not attending a state university. All of these things are mentioned precisely so as to highlight her wealth and social prestige. And btw, even if she did get that handbag for 70% off, she’s still talking about 70% off a bag that costs upwards of $1,800. Which is far, far outside what most people can ever afford to spend on a handbag, even with the discount.

      I refuse to accept as a premise that the ignoring of wealth or prestige should be a two way street. Seriously? We need to pretend that this person does not have a huge advantage over the rest of us 99%ers, all because her family is well off? And I second EG’s observation that the less well off do not have the freedom to blithely pretend that they have no reason to take issue with the likes of Ms. Sacks and her name dropping, insulting, elitist nonsense.

      • shfree says:

        Those bags are $1800?? What the hell are they made out of, minks raised by albino orphans? Not that I would know what one of those bags even looks like if you hit me with it, but still.

        But really, her writing smacks of someone very, very young and very, very sheltered. I both pity and disdain for such people, even as I recognize the fact that at that age I had a certain amount of privilege and cluelessness about life as well. However, I didn’t go around assuming that every time someone didn’t treat me as I thought I deserved to be treated, it was because of X privilege I had, and that somehow made X privilege such a huge awful burdensome thing, so I’m not going to be sorry about it. So there! That is just an asshole thing.

      • pheenobarbidoll says:

        My uncle worked at a high end consignment store in San Diego. A bag(never been used) was brought in for him to price. The original tag price was 38,000 dollars. He was told to discount it to 17,000. He was floored by both prices.

      • Miranda says:

        And btw, even if she did get that handbag for 70% off, she’s still talking about 70% off a bag that costs upwards of $1,800.

        I had no idea what Mulberry was until I read this article. At first I thought you must have been mistaken, but I then went on their website, and you are correct. In fact, sadly, it seems $1,800 is cheap for Mulberry.

        I think my brain just exploded.

      • Seconding that, Miranda. If I saw such an article and knew what it was, I’d be thinking “Fuckwit with more money than sense,” and that’d be about as kind as it’d get.

      • Miriam says:

        No one, including Sacks, is saying to ignore wealth or prestige. What she’s saying boils down to not equating rich to evil or poor to lazy. It’s not very sophisticated, but also, not very controversial. And she’s 20… based on what I read when I taught and tutored undergraduates, the typical 20 year old doesn’t make sophisticated arguments about structural issues.

        Of course, she’s not sorry about her wealth. Why should she be? There’s nothing inherently wrong or evil about being born into privilege. It’s just luck. People should be sorry if they then turn around and use their advantage to reinforce or expand inequity. But otherwise, it’s like being sorry you won the lottery.

      • Lolagirl says:

        I…can not come anywhere close to the conclusion you are making about Sacks or her article. The title alone “I’m Not a Going To Pretend That I’m Poor To Be Accepted By You” is equally inflammatory and offensive. Who, other than Sacks, is saying she has to pretend to be poor to be accepted by anyone? Oh, that’s right, no one. Maybe, just maybe, if she wouldn’t be so judgmental and derisive of those she assumes to be poor, people might be inclined to accept her quite easily. Which leads me to my next point.

        This gem from her article is all the more offensive and insulting:

        “It just seems really petty and makes you look bitter and unhappy with your own life if you are casting nasty glares at college girls in Gristedes because you’re a cashier. What purpose does it serve if all you want to do is reflect your own misery on other people?”

        Again with the putting words into people’s mouths and imputing motives to them when she has zero evidence to support any of it. That is, other than the fact that she’s a college girl (her words, not mine) in line at the Gristedes and the people allegedly thinking shit about her are the check out clerk and her friend. Also offensive? Sacks assumption that of course the cashier at Gristedes is de facto miserable because of the job she holds.

        The only person being judgmental and shitty here is Sacks. And it is not misogynistic to point out how judgmental and shitty she is for thinking this stuff and then putting it into print for the whole world to see.

      • EG says:

        And she’s 20… based on what I read when I taught and tutored undergraduates, the typical 20 year old doesn’t make sophisticated arguments about structural issues.

        Then the typical twenty-year-old shouldn’t write essays about complex issues like class, wealth, and social interaction for a public readership.

        She wants to be published? She can take the criticism that goes along with that. Otherwise, she can write in a diary.

      • TimmyTwinkles says:

        Noone ever asked her to apologize!!!! This is where Team Sacks is jumping the shark. Saying noone should have to apologize for being wealthy isn’t incorrect, it’s just irrelevant because that wasn’t the point of her article. The imaginary slights she allegedly endured were an excuse for her to brag about her wealth and status, squeeze in a few mean-spirited generalizations about people in the service industry, and make sure the world knows she gets J Crew packages on the regular (first time I’ve heard anyone make that big a deal about j crew but whatever). So more people read her article than she anticipated, she got called out, and her response that pheeno linked to basically confirms everything i just said. And Miriam, I tried to talk about class upthread but you didn’t respond. Maybe that’s because I don’t use any gendered slurs you can pick out and wave around.

      • Miranda says:

        Timmy, I believe you are confusing Miriam and myself.

        And I would like to point out that I find your comments problematic on this thread not because of the “gendered slurs” (which I guess according to you are trivial as long as you don’t like the person) but of shit like this:

        From what i can tell my background is at least as privileged as hers and I found that article disgusting. Not to mention unbelievably tacky.

        My experience has been that “tackiness” is associated with the “new rich.” She’s not “old money,” which seems to be part of the reason you so deride her because you have pointed out to EG that one shouldn’t flatter her by calling her “ruling class.” She’s getting “too big for her britches,” because she’s actually just the daughter of a Jewish doctor, Paris Hilton is she not. If you’re just as well off as her, then you probably are at least tacitly aware of this “new money”/”old money” thing (which is only becoming apparent to me in university).

        I find “new money” AND “old money” gross, but I think it’s interesting that the “new money”–you know, the Italian Americans with the big lions in their front yard–always gets a lot more ire than “Old Money,” even though Old Money is FAR FAR more powerful and FAR FAR harder, if not impossible, to break into, even if you do win the lottery. And so I think it’s interesting that you call her specifically TACKY. Not “an insensitive asshole.” But TACKY.

        This is not me defending Sacks, who I have pointed out multiple times wrote an odious column (and I discussed the problem of the Mulberry bag upthread). This is me pointing out how bullshit it feels talking about class in this space.

      • The Last Selina says:

        People should be sorry if they then turn around and use their advantage to reinforce or expand inequity.

        Isn’t that what she is doing though? She is making an encounter she had with a cashier all about her instead of expecting a cashier to be a human being with thoughts, feelings and ideas of her own. She is projecting all her insecurities onto someone else rather using a little empathy and considering another viewpoint. That doesn’t sound like the cashier is on equal ground with Rachel. Rachel is a human with feelings of persecution but the cashier is not a human who is having a bad day or doesn’t feel like acting like Rachel’s friend and instead just wants to do her job and ring her up. She is just there to make Rachel feel bad about herself.

  21. Unree says:

    Miranda, your posts were awesome. You’ve been exactly as fair to Sacks as she deserved. I too wouldn’t know a Mulberry bag from the proverbial bag of hammers, but I sure can smell the misogyny wafting in her general direction.

  22. pheenobarbidoll says:

    Btw- every thing Sacks said about the cashier ( except not responding) was an assumption. Based on the cashier being poor. The cashier holding a grudge because she’s poor? Assumption. Cashier purposely judging her? Assumption. That judgement being based on wealth? Assumption. Sacks judged the cashiers motivation based on what Sacks believes poor people think. And, she assumed the cashier was poor. The cashier may have a relatively comfortable life, but work part time for extra cash or work experience. You don’t know. But Sacks assumed she was poor and assumed she held a stereotypical hatred or contempt for wealthy people.

    • Lolagirl says:

      This! All of this!

      See also, my observation up thread that in Sacks’ mind, state schools” aka public universities are the province of poor people whose parents can’t afford to send them to a private college/university. Also an assumption, based on nothing more than the uninformed, elitist, confabulations of Ms. Sacks.

      • shfree says:

        Yeah, a state school are not a poor person’s school. I am not poor at this juncture in my life, and I can’t afford to finish off a bachelor’s at the state school. Or at least I can’t afford to take on more debt unless I figure out what I want to do with myself.

      • TimmyTwinkles says:

        This is very true, and one of the more asinine generalizations Sacks makes. I know plenty of outrageously wealthy kids (who would find this article comical and bizarre for many reasons) who go to state schools.

      • Andie says:

        True story. Have a friend of mine, whom unbeknownst to me, worked her ass off at various part time jobs to get through college. Found out later that her family was quite well-off, but insisted she work her way through because they didn’t want her to feel she could coast on her family’s money.

        For all Sacks knew, the cashier could have a similar economic background, but just a different upbringing and attitude towards money.

      • Fat Steve says:

        For all Sacks knew, the cashier could have a similar economic background, but just a different upbringing and attitude towards money.

        Yeah, and for all Sacks knew the cashier could have not responded to her because she thought she was a vampire.

        This is not aimed solely at you Andie, but I’m sick of people claiming how presumptuous this woman is for creating this ‘fictional’ backstory, followed by them creating a fictional backstory of their own.

        The girl needs to be more appreciative of her good fortune and understand that most don’t share it. End of.

      • Lolagirl says:

        Steve, the reason people are coming up with alternative back stories for the cashier in question is precisely because Sacks was so nasty, presumptuous and downright prejudiced in the assumptions she made about said cashier. That Sacks put that together to say some really offensive and inflammatory things about that cashier as well, and then use that as a jumping off point to knock down the straw-poor girl is just the nasty icing on the prejudiced cake. All while trolling for cookies for the or little rich girl role in which Sacks had cast herself.

        So, yeah, no, it’s not the end of the story. Not even close.

      • Fat Steve says:

        Steve, the reason people are coming up with alternative back stories for the cashier in question is precisely because Sacks was so nasty, presumptuous and downright prejudiced in the assumptions she made about said cashier. That Sacks put that together to say some really offensive and inflammatory things about that cashier as well, and then use that as a jumping off point to knock down the straw-poor girl is just the nasty icing on the prejudiced cake. All while trolling for cookies for the or little rich girl role in which Sacks had cast herself.

        So, yeah, no, it’s not the end of the story. Not even close.

        Lola, do you honestly think the cashier’s actual thoughts have any relevance on whether or not Ms. Sacks is whining, nasty, spoiled and entitled?

        If the cashier were to come out and say ‘I didn’t answer her because I don’t converse with spoiled rich people’ would that make any difference to you? It wouldn’t to me.

      • Lolagirl says:

        No, Steve, but again that isn’t the point. At you actually mind understanding me, or just disregarding the point I’ve made, repeatedly?

        Bottom line, Sacks created a strawman/woman of the disgruntled, judgmental, poor cashier hating on her unfairly for her wealth and status. That Sacks is using flawed thinking based in prejudice and downright shittiness in my opinion only makes Sacks appear all the more nasty, spoiled and entitled.

      • Lolagirl says:

        Phththth, stupid autocorrect. I meant to type misunderstanding, not mind understanding.

      • Fat Steve says:

        Sacks created a strawman/woman of the disgruntled, judgmental, poor cashier hating on her unfairly for her wealth and status.

        No, what you’re not getting is I would describe it this way.

        Sacks created a strawman/woman of the disgruntled, judgmental, poor cashier hating on her fairly for her wealth and status

        As I believe it was fair for her to make that judgement. It doesn’t matter to me if it’s a strawman or not.

      • Lolagirl says:

        See, I do care. Not just because I’ve been on the receiving end of Sacks-esque judgement (and I’m still actually pretty privileged in the bigger picture) but because of the toxic way that sort of judgmental and prejudiced mindset seems to have seeped into the way class and wealth is addressed in is country.

        Because let’s not pretend that those perceived as being poor, of color, of the lower classes, and of lesser/no educational background are not regularly disrespected and looked down upon here in the U.S. Tune into Fox News, or read the Wall Street Journal, the National Review, Rush, Coulter, and plenty of other talking heads. They all regularly judge on those they perceive to fall into those ranks as lazy and shiftless, jealous of people with money, and even as flat out stupid, and leaches upon society expecting handouts.

        And yes, I think Sacks’ little diatribe and demand for poor little rich girl cookies all feeds back into that very same narrative. If not stemming directly from that narrative.

        Does that make any more sense for you, Steve?

      • Fat Steve says:

        Does that make any more sense for you, Steve?

        Everything you’ve said makes sense, I just don’t see how you’re disagreeing with me. so I’ll stop here.

      • Lolagirl says:

        To add to the irony, I actually ended up going to a private, small college because they gave me extensive financial aid such that it was a lot less expensive than my state’s universities.

        How about that Sacks! I actually couldn’t afford to go to state school, and ended up attending a private college instead. Doing it wrong, ruining it for everyone!

      • Miranda says:

        To add to the irony, I actually ended up going to a private, small college because they gave me extensive financial aid such that it was a lot less expensive than my state’s universities.

        I was going to bring up the deep deep irony that the Ivies + Stanford offer such generous and continued financial aid that, if one is fortunate enough to be accepted, it almost always makes more sense to go there than to a State school. Almost always. The financial aid office occasionally screws people over; there have been some high-profile cases on campus in which kids are disowned by wealthy parents because they are gay, and the fin aid office won’t adjust the EFC, effectively forcing the kids to transfer or take out huge loans.

        (And while I know that class plays a HUGE role in who gets accepted-hahaha, don’t even get me started–these schools are getting better at achieving financial diversity.)

        But I assumed I would be called an asshole if I brought this up.

      • PrettyAmiable says:

        I actually had the same deal – tons of financial aid from a private university (did have to take out loans for the rest).

        I will say that the one private university that didn’t offer me or any of my classmates sufficient (needed) financial aid was NYU. Maybe it’s an NYC thing?

        Ugh. Notably, I was fine because I got into my top choice and the school helped me pay for it. One of my friends had always dreamed of NYU, got in, and then couldn’t afford it. My heart still breaks for her. The elation over the letter, and the tears over the harsh realities of the financial package. Sometimes I wonder if we had better college guidance, we would have been better prepared for that.

      • EG says:

        I will say that the one private university that didn’t offer me or any of my classmates sufficient (needed) financial aid was NYU. Maybe it’s an NYC thing?

        It’s an NYU thing. NYU is, I believe, the most expensive college in the country, and the major reason for that is that it’s trying to push itself into a class with the Ivies, but it doesn’t have an Ivy-level endowment. Hence, it tries to make up for that by extracting the difference from its undergrads and grinding extra labor out of its grad students.

    • pheenobarbidoll says:

      The entire article was a well excuuuuuuuse meee for having money, ur just jelus!!

  23. Fat Steve says:

    I think this whole non-story is ridiculous. Most all people occasionally have vindictive petty thoughts towards people who we think have slighted us.

    HOWEVER, most of us also have the good sense to immediately push these thoughts aside within seconds. That’s perfectly normal and nothing to criticize, but that’s not what happened. What happened was:

    A) Ms. Sacks thought it was important enough to write about it in the public domain.
    B) Someone at ‘Thought Catalog’ thought it was important enough to share with their readers
    C) A bunch of internet users thought it was important enough to castigate her to the point where she ends up looking vaguely sympathetic
    D) Newspapers think it’s important enough to print stories about the article and the backlash

    Leading to an article where the headline should have been:
    PRIVILEGED PERSON DOESN’T APPRECIATE HOW GOOD SHE HAS IT

    IT REALLY ISN’T THAT IMPORTANT A STORY!

    There are a lot of worse rich people out there, and there a lot nicer ones.
    She’s not making a martyr of herself about an not-particularly-friendly (I won’t use the word ‘rude’) cashier transaction anymore, now she is genuinely being treated shitty.
    I do find it humourous that the people who are calling her the worst names are the ones who refuse to believe that the cashier could be rude to her in the first place.

    • Fat Steve says:

      Just wanted to add, the shitty comments I was referring to were the ones tweeted to her, calling her ‘ugly’ ‘skinny-ass b**ch’, etc, not the critical comments on here.

  24. Whosagooddog? says:

    You know, it’s kind of amazing to me that, on a feminist blog, so many regular commenters are going out of their way to come up with hypothetical alternatives for why something a woman experienced as a microaggression wasn’t really a microaggression. Seriously, you could basically cut and paste some of these comments into an anti-feminist screed about how maybe that cashier wasn’t being rude because you’re black/Muslim/fat/gay/female/rich, maybe they were just having a bad day, or didn’t hear you, or were getting the stink-eye from their boss, or were reacting to your own bad attitude, or blah, blah, blah, fart.

    Come on, people! This is some 101 shit here!

    • TimmyTwinkles says:

      Baloney, she’s claiming that people resented her, not for being a woman or any other oppressed minority, but for a designer bag and the kind of shopping bags she was carrying. Water: your argument holds none.

    • PrettyAmiable says:

      An anti-men screed, maybe? Your analogy is terrible, since the supposedly rich chick who is apparently rich on sight is obviously privileged.

    • Lolagirl says:

      This is the point upon which you want to concentrate your laser-like focus? Really?

      Huh, so we all should stand down because Sacks was the victim of a micro aggression. At the hands of a grocery store cashier, of all things.

      I…don’t know whether to laugh or cry.

      Btw, Dog, the point you seem to be missing here (assuming for the sake of discussion that Sacks was treated rudely by the cashier as she claims) is that being rich is not a protected class like race, religion, sex, sexual orientation happen to be. These things have all been deemed to be protected classes by the Courts precisely because they are actually things for which people are discriminated against and persecuted in tangible and very damaging ways.

      And let’s be honest here, wealthy people are already well and truly within a protected class all their own. They don’t need special protection from discrimination or oppression. It’s laughable to insulting for you to even begin to suggest otherwise.

      • EG says:

        Life is hard for the monied classes. Sometimes they are subject to micro-aggressions on the part of the people whose labor they exploit. However can they be expected to carry on?

      • Lolagirl says:

        Thank you, EG, I just ugly-snort laughed.

        Stop micro-aggressing my sinus cavities!

      • Fat Steve says:

        Btw, Dog, the point you seem to be missing here (assuming for the sake of discussion that Sacks was treated rudely by the cashier as she claims) is that being rich is not a protected class like race, religion, sex, sexual orientation happen to be. These things have all been deemed to be protected classes by the Courts precisely because they are actually things for which people are discriminated against and persecuted in tangible and very damaging ways.

        And let’s be honest here, wealthy people are already well and truly within a protected class all their own. They don’t need special protection from discrimination or oppression. It’s laughable to insulting for you to even begin to suggest otherwise.

        This is exactly the point I was making earlier. I had a feeling we agreed on everything, but with defending my old neighborhood, and you saying you didn’t care it seemed like that was the crux of our argument to other commenters. I wasn’t defending her choice of neighborhood, I was merely pointing out that those of us who live there, who don’t come from rich families and subsequently had to work their ass off to afford those rents, DO look down on silver spoon students. I don’t mind admitting it. So if I say I believe the cashier probably was judging her.

        She’s privileged as fucking hell, she can take a bad thought or a dirty look. Why is it even being argued whether or not it happened? Like I said, I can believe the cashier was judging her. Possibly I was in the very same store judging her as some awful shallow rich person.

        I’d be happy to trade her daddy’s money for a few dirty looks…

    • pheenobarbidoll says:

      Did you really just fucking try to compare this with racism??? Here’s a tip- in this scenario the CASHIER would be the person of color and Sacks would be the white lady accusing the cashier of reverse racism.

      • Whosagooddog? says:

        Justfor the record, there’s no indication as to the racial background of the cashier. Nice assumption though, pheeno.

        And no, I don’t think the incident was comparable to racism; I think the rhetorical tactic of inventing hypotheticals in order to dismiss someone’s description of their own lived experience that’s being employed in this thread is the exact same bullshit tactic people use to deny racism.

      • pheenobarbidoll says:

        No shit genius. Go back and re read what I wrote and see if you can figure it out. Hint- if you’re trying to compare this to how people deny racism, THE CASHIER in this scenario would be the poc. Not Sacks. Sacks is the privileged person assuming the non privileged person ( cashier) is hating on her. And unless she possesses the ability to read minds, she has no fucking clue why the cashier was rude. She ASSUMES the cashier has a STEREOTYPICAL contempt for her. Yanno, because poor people hate the rich. And the cashier must be poor or she wouldn’t be a cashier. Your failure to understand my comment is staggering.

      • pheenobarbidoll says:

        Shorter version- the only person to invent hypotheticals is Sacks. Did she see the financial statements of said cashier? No? THEN HOW DOES SACKS KNOW SHE’S POOR? Hmmm? How do YOU know the cashier is poor for that matter? Have a hidden fucking talent for mind melding you’re not sharing? Or is the assumption that only poor people take such menial service jobs?

      • Donna L says:

        Nobody’s inventing anything. We’re using her own description. She does NOT get to characterize the surliness of her “servants” as a microaggression, for God’s sake. What a revolting perversion of the concept you’ve managed to concoct. “Oh, dear, the doorman of my building didn’t move fast enough and made me wait for 30 seconds before he opened the door for me; I think I need to go lie down.” If that’s how she feels? Let her tell her therapist, and not inflict those feelings on the public, because I experience reading her crap — and your, frankly — as a microaggression myself. Her rudeness far exceeds any complaint she can possibly have.

    • I know. Those microaggressions of (thinking that) people (might be) giving you looks for having several thousand dollars’ worth of merchandise. The horrible horrible refusal to engage in small chat with someone. How tragic. It’s just like experiencing racism or being profiled by the police or being flashed on the subway.

      I hope she goes home and blows her nose on fifty-dollar bills before removing her tear-smudged makeup with the sackcloth and ashes this situation definitely calls for.

      • pheenobarbidoll says:

        And rich people sooooo understand when someone is a hater, just exactly like people of color pick up on racism. And rich people are SO OFTEN gas lighted just like people of color that it’s exactly the same rhetoric. I can’t even…. this thread was sort of silly to begin with but now people have to try and compare racism denial with this crap. In fact, we need a giraffe here mods. Whosagooddog is treading really crappy lines here.

        [thank you for sending a giraffe alert ~ mods]

      • tigtog says:

        Moderator note: I’ve put this thread on full moderation. I’m in the middle of the overdue to-do list from hell, so I can’t take time out to read all the thread, but that should at least slow down the crappy lines.

  25. AMM says:

    Not too long ago there was a post or two on this site discussing mainstream (=white) feminism’s unexamined privilege vis-a-vis non-white women/feminists.

    I couldn’t help wondering if the way most of the commenters in this thread seem to see this “rich girl” is in any way similar to how, say, WOC are seeing mainstream feminism. (I’m not a POC, so I’m not a good judge.) If so, it might be a possible empathy moment.

  26. Ampersand says:

    I agree with the post, and with most of the criticisms of this woman.

    But I have to admit, I like her cheerful response to becoming famous for being an awful person, such as this photo: http://thenypost.files.wordpress.com/2013/10/sacks2.jpg

  27. Jackie says:

    What I got from this is, “You’re rich and privileged, so stop acting as if you have any right to feel upset about anything.”

    Telling people to repress their emotions or silence themselves because they have privileged is damaging. It causes people to feel isolated, depressed, and may lead to self harm. Telling people you have no right to be upset, that people have it worse, how is them hating themselves going to change that?

    This is my main issue with shunning people for being privileged. You’re only going to get a negative result. Either people will think non-privileged people are all mean, why should I care about mean people. Or they don’t deserve to live as they do when others suffer.

    So what does one dead rich girl and one upset rich girl add to the fight for equality? Nothing. Instead of going after privileged people like a pack of bullies, suggest to them ways they can help. Do something other than making them feel horrible for having been born privileged, as if they chose to be.

  28. Robert says:

    I think the criticism of the woman who told of her reaction to a sales clerk is way off base. The critic attempts to read in motives and “facts” that are not there. The woman who wrote about the sales clerk tells a story based on her observations and not her psychoanalysis of the clerk and customer. Not so with the critique.

Comments are closed.