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.