My wife and I traveled to Omaha last weekend. We went for some training and to visit their zoo, which would be my first time. Unfortunately, they close at 4 p.m., so the trip felt like a bit of a waste for that reason.
We woke up Monday morning to take advantage of the free continental breakfast provided by our hotel. The trip itself took quite a chunk of money (we knew it would), so we were limited on spending money on food let alone the gas, especially after our bank accounts were ravaged by our bills.
While we were eating breakfast, they had a local news station on in the background. I had my back to it, but was able to listen pretty clearly thanks to the silent atmosphere. There was one other group eating and they weren’t too far away from us either.
Shortly after sitting down with our food is when the story came on. I didn’t take the time to memorize what the story was about because I have absolutely zero respect for these types of stories. It was something like, “Why are millennials entitled?” They even had a few millennials there as “experts” about “our entitlement.”
This prompted the group next to me, primarily made up of an older generation with grandkids too young to care about the story, to comment about how “millennials are the worst” and “it’s true, they really are all just spoiled, entitled brats.”
We made sure to make indirect comments loud enough to let these people know that not all millennials are like that. Both my wife and I are clear examples proving this to be wrong. Excuse my outrage, but what the hell is the point of this story?
I don’t see local newspapers writing about stories like this, but I see it in bigger media outlets. I’m going to dedicate as much of this column to debunking these ridiculous stories as much as I can by using locals as an example.
I must admit that there are always bad apples in any group. This includes millennials, meaning that there are (of course) people within my generation who live up to the horrible stereotype that we ruin everything. I can name at least just as many (if not more) who stand against that ridiculous blame game.
Business Insider (BI) created a list of 19 things that my generation is apparently ruining, published on Halloween. Surprisingly, Halloween isn’t one of the 19 things my generation is ruining. However, the title to their article ('Psychologically scarred' millennials are killing countless industries from napkins to Applebee's — here are the businesses they like the least) is misleading.
We’re apparently killing restaurant chains, BI using Buffalo Wild Wings as an example, and “breastaurant chains” like Hooters. We’re killing the concept of starter homes, golf, cereal, beer, napkins, yogurt, bars of soap, diamonds, department stores, banks, fabric softener, designer handbags, gyms, home improvement stores, football, and oil … You might as well add Halloween to that list with some of the ridiculous claims. Some of them they are absolutely right on, like diamonds. They aren’t right on the reasons for why some of these things are dying, in my opinion.
The diamond industry is certainly dying, though it’s not because “fewer millennials are getting married” as they claim. I didn’t buy a diamond for my wife’s ring, nor did she want a diamond in her ring; and yet we’ve still married. We didn’t have a religious ceremony, but that doesn’t mean we didn’t get married. We understand how diamonds are produced and that’s why we don’t want to support the industry. If you don’t know how they’re produced, feel free to search “blood diamonds.” Africa has been ravaged by civil wars along with extreme violence, worker exploitation (extremely low wages, if at all and definitely zero benefits), and don’t get me started about the environmental devastation.
Restaurant chains dying because of us is somewhat true, mostly because we’d rather stay at home and cook a healthy meal instead of binging on pizza and wings every day. I’d estimate half of my diet is dedicated to pizza and my wife absolutely loves Buffalo Wild Wings. I’ll concede to restaurant chains dying because of millennials to be a half truth, but it’s not entirely true. We’re simply one factor to their deaths, but not the sole reason for it.
Homeownership is lower because of us, apparently. Wine and hard liquor sales were higher than beer from 2006 to 2016, apparently also because of us … The list just goes on. I’m constantly hearing that older generations “had to pull themselves up by their bootstraps” as if we aren’t.
We’re being blamed for what feels like literally everything that’s wrong. We’re forgetting a lot of things when we do this, though. For example … who do you think raised millennials? If we’re entitled, who was it that taught us our false sense of entitlement? If we’re killing industries, who was it that taught us to eat healthier? If we’re not involved in the political process, who taught us to not hold any value in politics at all?
Even if we set aside the fact that we were raised by the previous generation, some of the problems we see today were in fact caused by complacency from previous generations. Most of us weren’t even old enough to buy a home during the housing market crash throughout 2008, which at least that much wasn’t our fault and that crash is directly affecting our ability to buy houses today.
This isn’t about me complaining, though. I’m telling you to show you a fraction of what we’ve been left to deal with. I simply don’t agree with what the media is trying to feed me, especially as a millennial who has worked for everything he has. I don’t buy it because I’m not the only one in my generation who has worked for everything — may God forbid us even asking for help without being criticized for it.
The point of this is to show how ridiculous it is to blame these problems on one generation. Some of it might be true, like the diamond industry, but it’s for a good reason; while others are just someone to point a finger at because we’d rather blame someone else than accept responsibility for our own actions.
I’m a millennial and I’m saying not everything that’s happened is our fault. The fault belongs to everyone and it’s our responsibility as a society to be better than that. Millennials have their own faults, but not more or less than any other generation (that goes for our problems as well). As a millennial, we could learn what our ancestors have not by taking responsibility for where we are wrong and trying to fix it if it needs to be. My advice to generations before mine: realize that we’re struggling as much as you did, even if it isn’t the same problems. However, the blame doesn’t belong to just one generation, it belongs to all of us.