The millennial is a murderer. The generation killed Applebees and laundry detergent because they love their damn avocado toast too much. And they got away with it, too. Kinda.
So, who’s next? According to key economic indicators, it’s Costco. Dear sweet precious Costco.
Washington Post promulgates that the big box chain shall meet its demise if millennials don’t fork over their cash to save it. Similar chains, such as Sam’s Club, already blame the millennial for their fiscal woes. That chain famously shuttered several stores without warning a couple of weeks ago.
On top of that, the millennial stands accused of killing napkins, starter homes, cereal, diamonds, and golf. Actually, the list goes on HERE. Seriously, the poor motorcycle never stood a chance…
But, is the millennial really to blame for all this carnage?
For all intents and purposes, no. First and foremost, the younger generation reaping the blame for older activities losing popularity goes back to the 1800’s. Maybe further back.
Case in point, this photo from Reddit of a scholar bemoaning that his students depend too much on paper. Because, apparently, they will lose the fine art of clearing a slate.
Oh, the horror.
However, blaming millennials for retail chains failing in a changing economy just doesn’t sit right with me. For one, the economy drastically shifted since the great recession.
Families learned to prioritize spending, took on multiple jobs, and somehow that all translated to a rise in eCommerce.
Also, critics tend to overlook that wages remained somewhat stagnant since the end of the Great Recession. Actually, some wages shrank in the past year in some states… like Connecticut.
So, the millennials hit adulthood in a cash-strapped and overworked environment. That’s why they chose to delay buying homes, cars, and starting families. Because all those three require a hefty down payment and time they simply don’t have.
But, oh how they do love the small comfort of avocado toast to escape from their cold, empty lives.
Somehow, a millennial choosing to buy a small bath bomb equates to irresponsible spending in some economists’ eyes. Even though psychologists prove that spending all your cash on bills and necessities takes a toll on your health.
So, considering millennials do exhibit a higher frequency of anxiety and depression…
Look, that may be a stretch. But, millennials seemingly stepped into an economy in shambles. Millennials also started in the workforce with a lower average salary than that of their parents. Actually, the millennial earns 20 percent less than their parents did at the same age.
Considering the cost of living is much higher than that of their parents, along with utility bills spiking every year, you can’t help but notice a disparity in their spending habits.
Also, let’s not forget new bills came into existence since the dawn of the Baby Boomer: cable and cellphone bills say hi!
And still people express outrage when millennials increasingly move back home with mom and pop.
Somehow, that’s all the millennial’s fault. Smaller salaries, an inflated market, and longer working hours… it doesn’t add up. That’s why this generation is so choosy with its money.
So, they choose not to buy detergent, or napkins, or even engagement rings. Not when grocery prices continue to inflate at the speed of light.
Seriously, I bought the ingredients needed for lasagna along with a couple of breakfast necessities and it cost me $34. To me, $34 is a lot of money.
I have a full time job, own a car, a condo, and a cat. Apparently that makes me a rare millennial who has their aforementioned sh*t together. But I don’t.
Because despite talking about grocery prices and salaries, I failed to mention the dreaded STUDENT LOANS.
“But Meg,” You taunt, “If you couldn’t afford the $120,000 to do 2 years of grad school, why go at all?”
Well, bucko, that shiny Emerson College emblazoned on my resume got me out of the slush pile. That $120,000 Master’s degree got me my first full time job in radio. I owe my career to my Master’s Degree.
And my story, surprisingly, is not a rare occurrence.
For example, my sister is a lawyer. In order to become a lawyer, a person must pass the LSAT, go to law school, and take the BAR exam. While in my career I could have eventually found a job in radio without my Master’s degree, many professions require a degree in higher education. And expensive testing.
I mean, would you let a doctor practice on you if they didn’t go to med school? I encourage you to tease a young doctor or dentist for their student loan debt. Actually, I dare you if you happen to be their patient.
So, a good portion of the millennial struggle trickles down to not just entering an economy with salaries 20 percent smaller than their parents, they also enter a workforce about six digits in debt.
And, if they were “smart” and didn’t go to college, then they needed to reap 5 to 10 years of experience to score an entry-level job.
Employers increasingly demand experience in their “entry level” positions because it takes time, money, and resources to train new employees. It’s not a secret.
And with continual layoffs due to restructuring, positions shifted out to overseas, or people losing jobs to foreign workers imported on working visas as is the case with Disney, well trained employees with numerous years of experience will grab whatever position they can to keep themselves afloat. So, a business wins when they fill an entry level job with one of these displaced “experienced” workers.
So, it complicates the job market for the millennial. And, considering employers now require a bachelor’s degree instead of a GED or High School Diploma, that’s where the universities and colleges win. Oh, how they love raising tuition year-after-year with no one to stop them.
Anyways, time to recap.
- Most millennials start their careers in debt. Millennials have the highest level of debt out of any generation.
- Millennials earn 20 percent less than their parents’ generation.
- The cost of living increased tremendously since the Great Recession. Which explains why more millennials favor socialism. (Psst… it only works until you run out of other people’s money.)
- New bills came into existence over the past 15-10 years, which sucks up a good portion of a monthly paycheck.
- The 40 hour work week no longer exists. Forbes says millennials struggle to work less than 40 hours a week. So, they work more with less pay. Nice.
- This generation deals with more stress than any previous generation.
With all that said and done, now you see why this generation prioritizes what they spend their money on. They also will spend their hard-earned cash on small pleasures, like a bath bomb or candy bar, because that’s what humans do.
And before anyone accuses millennials of spending irresponsibly, researchers proved they are the most fiscally conservative and responsible generation.
So, they can’t buy diamonds or motorcycles, but they sure can buy that damn avocado toast.
Plus, add in the fact that they enjoy less free time than their working predecessors, they turn to online retailers. Why wait in lines when the product you desire shows up at your door in 2 days? AND has a guaranteed return policy?
Hence why Amazon Prime makes a killing on millennials. Then again, only one third of the nation says they do not have a Prime account. Dang.
So, other stores tried to emulate the same exact business model. Boxed is an online retailer similar to that of Costco. You buy items in bulk… online. It’s the very business cited for Costco’s inevitable downfall.
So, yes, the millennial may eventually add Costco’s corpse to their growing windmill of bodies consisting of other retailers and pastimes. Looks like the Baby Boomers, playing the role of Don Quixote, can’t defeat this particular giant.
Then again, as more and more stores fold, researchers say the blame seems to fall on anyone with a job. Since, you know, the salaries and long working hours seemingly affects everyone and not just the millennial.
But, only time will tell.
Do you think millennials are whiny and entitled or do you think the cards were unfairly stacked against them? Let me know in the comments below.