Millennials Are Killing………..

Millennials Are Killing Pt 1

I’m not sure if I’m sick of these headlines and articles yet, or if I’m thriving off them. It seems like at least once a week, some older relative or former co-worker posts an article on Facebook about Millennials killing something followed by the usual rant.

This Generation is so spoiled! Thinking the world owes them everything on a silver platter, sitting around on their Facebooks and Twitters and burying their faces in their phones! Back in my day we woke up every day and ate our cereal, put on a suit to go to work, used bar soap to wash ourselves, golfed on the weekend, and wore whatever retailers told us to! These spoiled kids are killing [insert industry here]! Stupid younger generation with their 3 jobs and unpaid internships and beanie hats and avocados! If they just stopped buying avocado toast all the time, they’d be able to buy a house and live like we REAL grown-ups do!!!

Of course, if an entire generation DID stop buying avocado toast, then Millennials would probably get blamed for killing the avocado industry.

Basically, this younger generation, the Millenials, doesn’t like things and stuff. They’re turning their back on the tried and true pastimes and goals of the Baby Boomers, and are just ruining life as we know it for everyone. They’re sitting there in a Mr. Burns-esque pose, bent over their avocado toast, laughing maniacally as the world just falls to shit around them.

And people seriously seem to fucking believe this.

For anyone who doesn’t know, the Millennials is one freaking huge generation of people born in more than a 20-year span (anywhere from 1980 to 2004, depending on who you ask). We (yes, technically I fall somewhere in that massive span) were raised riding bikes and shooting at pixelated ducks while that annoying little doggy bastard laughed every time we missed.  We came in when the streetlights came on, or else our parents were blowing up our pagers, and later our massively huge cell phones. We spent our days at the mall and our nights in mIRC chats ASL-ing the night away. We were raised outside and in front of a screen at the same time.

Millennials Will Kill

Somehow, by learning how to fix a bike chain AND program the clock on a VCR, we’ve become Enemy #1 in the eyes of the older generations.  And it’s total bullshit.

Basically, from what article after article says, Millennials aren’t spending money on the same things their parents did. Between the housing market, low-wage jobs, increased tuition rates coupled with a demand for high education for entry-level positions, and stagnant minimum wage in the face of increasing inflation, Millennials have to be so much more careful with how and where they spend their money than generations before them. You hear and see story after story of people working 2 or 3 jobs, drowning in tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars in student loan debt, having to have multiple roommates well into their 30s just to keep a roof over their head without moving back in with their parents. We simply just don’t have the disposable income generations before us had. We can’t afford vacations or new cars or houses. Many of us are trying to find a way to afford to eat every day or afford to make their loan payments AND pay rent.

So, instead of industries adapting to the current market finding a way to appeal to the Millennials they are losing, we get article after article claiming that it’s the Millennials fault that these industries are starting to lose ground. We are somehow killing industries that refuse to adapt to survive. It’s not “survival of the fittest” in the business world anymore; it’s “we want your business, you spoiled whiney fucks, why won’t you just give it to us”.

What exactly have we been accused of killing so far?

  • golf
  • napkins
  • movie theaters
  • class
  • vacations
  • bar soap
  • relationships
  • Home Depot
  • Sears
  • cereal
  • the NFL
  • the 9-5 workday
  • suits
  • style
  • beer
  • diamonds
  • Applebee’s
  • Buffalo Wild Wings
  • Oklahoma
  • romance
  • stiletto shoes
  • America
  • patriotism

And that’s just the short list! Don’t believe me? Go use the Googles, as my mother would say. You’ll come up with pages and pages of articles, and articles of lists of articles (looking at you Buzzfeed). Somehow we’re killing sit-down restaurants by not wanting to dine in, while killing fast food restaurants by not wanting take-out, and also killing multiple food industries by not cooking at home. In short, we’re not eating and it’s killing everyone but us.

I think the thing on this list that really pushes my rant-basket off the cliff is Sears. We have a Sears here at our local mall, and I haven’t bought anything from there in more than 5 years. The last thing I got there was a dress for a fraternity formal back in University. I’ve gone in there, looked around at things, but there was never anything there for me.

Now, that place was THE SHIT in the 80’s! On our family outings to the mall, we’d spend half the day just in Sears. We actually have childhood stories from all of our time in Sears. Once when I was still in diapers, I decided I had to make the biggest poop any small child had ever made, so I squatted down in the middle of an aisle and filled my diaper. Another time my mum had to get me Christmas presents from Sears, so my grandparents took me off into the mall so I wouldn’t see them. When mum came looking for us where we were supposed to meet, she somehow missed me in the window of a maternity store trying to tear the clothes off a mannequin. Like, we were there a lot. Everyone was.

Sears used to be where you could buy your appliances, your suit and tie, toys for the kids, and maybe pick up some new perfume or have lunch at their tiny restaurant. But with more and more Millennials not being able to afford homes, we don’t have the need for appliances. With more people going into trades and service positions, we don’t need suits for our jobs. With more and more of us putting off having kids, there’s no need to shop for toys. There’s also more competition around. Why go to the Sears makeup counter when I can stop at Sephora? Why go to Sears when there are 7 other stores in our mall to buy a damn tie. And we don’t even have an overly big mall here!

And when it comes to clothes, there’s just nothing at Sears for me, or for anyone I know around my age for that matter. It’s almost like they stopped keeping up with current fashion somewhere around 1994. Every year I check the clothing section for their Christmas catalog just to see what they’re trying to pawn off as today’s newest trends. It always looked like a fashion spread for an article on how to dress like you’re 17 when you’re really 53, to be honest. They base their clothes on the old-time motto of “spend a bit more on something durable, it will last forever”, whereas today we’re more likely to shop thinking “I have $23 in the bank and need pants and grocery, I’m fucking screwed”.

This all leads to the biggest downfall for Sears, in my mind though. We all shop online. You go to the mall, and 99% of the stores ask for your email address when you check out. You get coupons in your email, browse the store’s website, buy crap on clearance that’s sold out at your location but available in the warehouse still. For people working multiple jobs, hopping on line and ordering your clothes for delivery is just easier a lot of the time. And most stores are all over this, pushing their website on you with more aggression than feral dog loose in a butcher’s shop. Sears never quite hit that level. I mean, they send out fucking catalogs! You can order over the phone or fill out a form to order through the mail!  They kept marketing to people the same way they marketed back when I was a kid. Instead of trying to grab the younger markets, reaching out to them, begging them to come spend money on their crap like any self-respecting business would do, they stayed with the tried-and-true method their aging consumer base was used to. Instead of reaching out to Millennials with online campaigns, social media, a Kardashian or two, or anything else a younger person may take consumer influence from, they stuck with what their now 60+ crowd was used to.

Did Millennials shop at Sears en masse? Nope. But was it the fault of the Millennials not needing their products or brick and mortar stores, or of Sears for not marketing to them? Sears got lazy. They had how many years as the Big Dog, the main store in small-town malls across North America. They turned into one of those chef’s you would see on Gordon Ramsay shows who won an award in 1984 for Best Pasta in Pasadena and decided they were the best chef EVER; they would never change a dish or menu no matter how bad their business or food was, and they scream at Ramsay for even hinting that their food is less than amazing. Sears was that asshole chef, serving 1984’s pasta to the 2017 gluten-free crowd. And this is the Millennials’ fault?

Millennials Are Killing Pt 3

Pretty much every dying industry that Millennials have been blamed for killing is just a victim of a changing economic landscape that can’t find a way to adapt. It doesn’t matter who the target market is; if something is failing, you can bet that Millennials are being blamed for it somehow. It’s not being framed as “the markets are changing: here’s the ones that can’t keep up with Millennials” though. Instead, it’s made to seem like Millennials are actively attacking industries, trying to bring about the demise of random things like napkins and beer. These articles make it seem like there is this giant Millennial conspiracy. We meet the first Thursday of every month to talk about our progress and decide what industry will be the next to crumble.

Did any of these journalists think that maybe, just maybe, things like vacations and diamonds and houses are things most Millennials just can’t afford to buy right now? Or that breakfast cereal isn’t as popular because we don’t have time to sit down to eat breakfast before running off to our first job? Maybe we’re not spending money buying beer from major brewers like Budweiser because we’re supporting more local entrepreneurs and buy craft beers from small local breweries. To save money, maybe we use towels and dish rags instead of one-use napkins. We don’t have time for golf, our jobs don’t require suits, and as renters our landlords are required to do the major repairs on our apartments and homes that would necessitate a trip to Home Hardware.

This generation is trying to do more with less: less money, less free time, fewer jobs available that pay a living wage. All the while, they’re getting shit on by people for not spending money how their parents’ generation did. Instead of industries changing to fit the market, they’re shitting all over the market for changing. Sears was just the poster child for an entire economic structure built around everyone wanting and liking what the crazy 80-year-old woman in the apartment upstairs who lives with her cat Harold wants and likes. Instead of seeing what it is Millennials want and need and either changing to fit that, or finding an unfulfilled need and creating something for that, these industries are sitting in the corner crying, “Stupid Millennials, you’re supposed to like what WE tell you to like!”

Millennials Are Kill Request

I don’t know where this rant is going, Sunshine. I’m just really getting sick of people shitting on an entire generation that is just trying to live. We’re not hurting anyone by not golfing, or not taking vacations, or not drinking Coors Light. If anything, we’re just hurting ourselves by being overworked, underpaid, and lacking basics like affordable health care that would enable us to better care for ourselves. I don’t see why we’re are constantly being shit on just because we’re not the cookie cutter image of the generations that preceded us. Why are the generations that raised us, that made us the way we are, that engineered our economy and housing market and educational system, why are they turning on us?

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Roommates from Hell: Updates from This Semester

Well it’s the end of the semester, which means the students are all on the move. It’s been a wild semester, with the five of us sharing the house. Just to re-cap some of the strangest drama and experiences from the last few months:

  • I walked into the kitchen multiple times to find AC sitting on the floor with a giant knife that looked more like a small machette, chopping ridiculously large amounts of cabbage.
  • UG used a frying pan! We finally got him to stop just reheating leftovers in the fridge, and he started making his own food to go with the giant pots of rice he was always burning on the stove. Unfortunately, he never cleaned the damn frying pan, instead letting it sit there with leftover fat and oil in it for days at a time. I watched him try to clean it the other day: he put it under running (cold) water, pushed old food bits out with his fingers, and then put it back on the stove.
  • I randonly came home a few times to find my livingroom packed full of people, all guests of DG. I never really minded that he always had people coming over, but our neighbour (who is like the badass granny everyone needs in their life) got pretty damn pissed. His friends were throwing all their food wrappers and garbage on her lawn. She damn near charged into the house once to scream at all the roommates.
  • We finally got a second fridge!
  • The second fridge broke. No one bothered to clear out their rotting food from it. Jeff had to put on his Army-issued gas mask in order to clean it out without puking. After that, I went from getting half a shelf in the fridge (plus sharing the top shelf for large items, the door for all the condiments, and the vegetable crisper) to getting one third of a shelf if I was lucky, and barely enough room on the top shelf to put a carton of milk and bottle of wine.
  • Jeff and I got through out break-up ok. He’s dating a really sweet young girl who goes to the university here. She’s messaged me on Facebook a bunch of times, and we talk whenever she’s over (we actually have a lot of common interests). And I found the most amazingly wonderful man I could ever hope to meet, who I am ridiculously crazy about in a way I’ve never felt about anyone else before.
  • No one besides me mopped. Ever.
  • No one but me vacuumed the common areas. Ever.
  • No one but me cleaned the bathrooms. Ever.
  • No one but me cleaned the laundry room. Ever.
  • My new amazing boyfriend helped me clean up our kitchen quite a bit, since no one else ever helped. He was the only person to do any real deep cleaning around here besides me. And he doesn’t even live here.

So it’s been an interesting semester here. AC finished her in-class work last week, and went home to be with her husband and son while she finished her final papers. She’s set to come back here in the fall though, and left her treadmill behind to claim her space.

UG just left this house for the last time a few minutes ago. He came to my room to say goodbye (and to see the cat, of course). He had a friend helping him move (a friend who would not stop singing loudly all afternoon while I tried to work), and somehow wound up with multiple bags of garbage needing to be taken out. I think that, of all the randoms we’ve had come through this house in the years I’ve been here, he’s been my favourite. He was mostly respectful, kept to himself, and never bothered me. True, he never did clean anything, and he left boogers on the shower walls. But he was a hell of a lot better than some of the trash I’ve seen come through here.

DG is leaving here by the end of this month. He’s already packed up his BBQ and moved it to a friend’s place.He has so much stuff, though, it’s been spilling out into the common areas since the day he moved in. I have no clue how he’s going to pack it all and move it out of here!

And then there’s Jeff. He’s agreed to become the house manager for a friend who had to move away for work, but didn’t want to sell his income property. So, at the end of this month, he’s moving out too. We made a run to the liquor store to pick up some boxes (I work there, so I know where all the best ones are hidden for moving), and he’s going to start packing up his stuff. Soon. He swears it. Problem is, between all his clothes, his books, his army gear, and the random stuff he’s collected over the years living here…….. well, he has a lot of freakin stuff!  It’s going to take some supreme organizational skills to pull this off…….. thankfully, he still has me here.

Yeppers Sunshine, it looks like I’m not going anywhere just yet. They’ve cut my hours quite a bit at work the last few months, so I’ve eaten through most of my savings just to keep a roof over my head (and those savings were meant for 1st and last on a new roof over my head). I’m trying to find a second job, and have had no luck there. So once again, everyone is moving on with their lives but me. While everyone moves forward, I’m stuck in limbo for god knows how long.  And it’s really starting to get to me.

I think the worst part of all this is, Jeff has been managing this house for years. The cable and internet are in his name, he’s always handled the lawn maintenance (I’m allergic to freshly cut grass and break out in hives), and he’s been in charge of getting new stuff when things break (like right now, we have to get new recycling bins). There are 8 days left in this month, and I have no clue what is happening with any of that.  I don’t know if I have to get internet for the entire house, or if I’m responsible for going out and buying things like recycling bins and garbage cans for the house. Luckily, my amazingly awesome boyfriend has offered to come over and cut the lawn for me. But the rest is just…… in limbo.

I hope none of you are in a state of limbo right now, Sunshine. If you are, drop me a line or leave a comment. We can be miserable together.

Losing Yourself

Ok, straight up, your life is going to constantly be changing, evolving, and messing itself up. This is not totally a bad thing. New people will come into your life, old people will fade away. Your job will change, even if you don’t change jobs. iPhones will keep getting bigger and bigger until they look like something Zack Morris would’ve used. And parts of you are going to change to keep up with all of this.

That being said, a lot of this change is good change. Changing job responsibilities means the chance to learn new shit (or learning new shit could lead to changing job responsibilities, either way). New phones mean new apps (which I am completely addicted to, btw.). We are constantly moving to new apartments, buying kittens and puppies, re-painting the livingroom walls for the 4th time, and picking up new hobbies.

All of these changes, that seem to come naturally in your life, pretty much are good things. They’re things that help you grow as a person, that help you evolve.

Then there are the changes that could go either way. That’s where all the new people in your life come into play.

You see, meeting someone new and amazing does something to us all. Our brains for from “Well, it’s Wednesday night, so I’d better grab my glass of wine and paint my nails while I watch Criminal Minds and read Cosmo” to “OMFG you are so freaking AWESOME!!!!!! Let’s hang out every fucking night!!! We can be besties!!!!! We can be together ALL THE FUCKING TIME!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!”

Don’t believe me? Just think back to any time ANY of your friends EVER got into a new relationship with someone. You guys used to spend Friday nights together, drinking beers and watching movies, until it became “date night”. Suddenly, you’re sitting alone at the bar, whining to the bartender about how you’re going to be single forever, while your BFF is out at a wine and cheese taster bar trying to match blue cheese with a Malbec (which is not a good idea, btw). It’s like your friend was abducted by love-aliens and replaced with this strange being who likes to go to Ikea and hold hands while looking at shit and saying “Oooh, if we got those throw pillows, and that bookcase over there, we could make a nook!”

Ok, now admit it: it’s not just your friends who have done that. We all have. I once dated a guy in university who was into bluegrass music and curling. I now know way too much about curling and Norweigan curling pants, and can actually sing along to some Flying Burrito Brothers songs. I also had stopped hanging out with my BFF and our frat-house friends most nights, started marathoning TV shows online (and this was before Netflix made it so damn easy to do. We had to work for our Drew Carey Show!). I was like this person that wasn’t totally me, but that I wouldn’t exactly throw shit at if I met them in public. I was like this shell, totally empty of the things that used to be me, and not filling up with any new awesome things to replace them. Instead of evolving, learning new things, picking up a new hobby that really interested me, I was just like this extension of the dude I was seeing.

And that’s when I lost myself.

There is a big difference between “changing bit by bit, bettering or evolving your tastes and yourself, in order to keep up with the times and not get into a rut that will bore you to tears” and “changing everything about you to match up with the person you’re spending all your time with”.

This is something that has been on my mind quite a bit lately, too.

You see, I just started seeing someone. Beginning of last month, I went out on a limb and flirted with this really really cute customer I’d see at work every day. He came back in later and left his phone number for me. We went out that weekend, and it turns out we have so much in common, it’s almost mind-blowing. Recently, we’ve been spending more and more time together (he was there for me quite a bit while I was going through that huge health scare and surgery thing with mum), and just this week decided to become an official couple.

But no matter how much alike we are, we are still different in a lot of ways. There are a lot of things we’d each like to try that the other likes, just to know each other better. He is willing to watch my favourite movies with me (which, with my odd taste, is something none of my exes ever did), and I’m willing to give Trailer Park Boys a chance if he’ll watch it with me. At the same time, though, I’m careful not to let this become some all-consuming quest to do all the things he does.

Case in point: Criminal Minds. He hates that show, refuses to watch it. That show gives me life. So if he’s over on a Wednesday night, we skip it and I stream the episode the next day online. If he’s not here, then I get a night with wine and Dr. Spencer Reid. While things are new and fresh, we’re taking time to learn more about each other and each other’s interests. But at the same time, we’re encouraging each other to just be ourselves.

Right now, we’re both at weird places in our lives. I’m working VERY part time, wishing I had put more effort into my writing over the years. He’s working full-time, but not in a position in his company that he can stay in much longer. On top of our regular everyday personal issues we deal with, we’re both contemplating our financial futures while trying not to let our present fall to shit. While we have that in common, our actual jobs (or possible jobs) couldn’t be more different. So, we encourage each other. He is constantly telling me that I need to write, that I’m a storyteller, that I need to get stuff down on paper or computer. He knows that I want to write, but just have had less than zero encouragement over the last decade or so. I know that he loves his company, but not the position he’s in. I try to help him look at other positions to look into there, things he can train into, in order to move to a completely different job there.

Do you see the differences there? Instead of giving up my favourite show, or making our current situation all about his need for a new job, we compromise. We help each other to grow, to learn. Any sort of healthy relationship, whether it be romantic or not, helps you grow into the best you that you can be. In my past relationship I mentioned, I gave up on growing “me” and instead grew to be “an appendage of him”. I totally lost myself.

It happens to the best of us, Sunshine. But we learn from it, grow from it, and move on with our lives.

So, with all this encouragement to write, expect to hear from me a bit more. Things at my current place have become……. interesting. I may have some new Roommates From Hell posts coming VERY soon!