on entitlement

Maybe it’s my old age (har har), but lately I have become very aware of the sense of entitlement that so many people have these days. I think it’s where much of the rudeness and lack of kindness in our society (which is, unfortunately, not uncommon) stems from. It seems as if people are no longer grateful for what they have or the kind gestures that others extend to them. They expect to be able to get whatever they want and to be on the receiving end of kindness, but don’t think twice about not extending it to others or accepting it when things don’t always go their way.

Over the summer, Nick and I were at a Phillies game one night with my dad. Our seats were at the end of a row so anytime someone in our row needed to get up, we had to stand up to let them pass. Not a problem; that’s just what people do. But still, I couldn’t help but notice that not a single person in a group of college-age individuals uttered a single “thank you” as they left their seats and returned time and time again. I was pretty peeved. I mean, I didn’t have to get up; I could have just turned to the side a little bit and made them awkwardly squeeze past my knees because it would have been less of an inconvenience for me. I’m not trying to pat myself on the back for letting them through — I’m just thinking that maybe, just maybe, a “thank you” would have been nice to hear.

I get so frustrated when I see someone parking somewhere that is restricted or simply not meant for them. It drives me insane when someone doesn’t say “thank you” after I hold a door for them. I absolutely want to scream when I see a person talking on their cell phone and ignoring the checkout clerk while in line at a store. Since when have the rules of humanity not applied to these people? Since when is rudeness okay because it’s simply more convenient than being polite?

I probably let myself get more fired up than I should, and Nick doesn’t always understand why I take these kinds of thing to heart so much, but I guess it all boils down to people thinking that they can make their own rules for the sake of their own convenience and utter disregard for the people around them. It has certainly made me think about what I’ll teach my future kids, so for that I’m grateful…but the sense of entitlement that plagues our society still gets me pretty down sometimes.

Well. That was kind of ranty. Sorry.

Tell me I’m not the only one who gets worked up about this?


  1. You’re not wrong by any means. And, it happens to be a generational thing. I am right on the cusp of the generation that acts like they are entitled to everything – and sometimes get grouped into that category…irks me like no other.

    And, you definitely aren’t getting overly worked up – I feel this way, too!

  2. This is part of why I hate (some) people. I am eternally holding the door the extra second or two for the person behind me, only to have another door close in my face the next time I walk through. Never any thank you’s, kiss my ass, or otherwise.

    I also hate when people slither through barely open doorways rather than reach their arm out to catch it before it closes on them… I also hate when people sneeze without covering their mouths, and I can see their sneeze droplets float towards me.

    Now I feel ranty ;)

  3. Well-said. The lack of respect and appreciativeness really upsets me. I work in an assisted living facility, and I feel this really translates to how people treat their older family members. They rarely come to visit, call, etc, even though these people raised them. And when they do, they order us around with little regard to our jobs. (There are exceptions, of course.)

    Also, re: the parking spots. People who park in handicapped when they’re clearly not are the worst, but I am always tempted to write a note on the cars of those people who park in hybrid parking with their non-hybrid cars. I LIKE using those spots, dammit!

  4. Also, I just have to say (in response to another comment) that I don’t think it’s necessarily just a generational thing. I’m 20, and many of the people I see doing the things mentioned are middle aged.

  5. Preach it, sista! I am pretty tolerant of most things, but rudeness and inconsideration are unacceptable in my eyes! Whatever happened to “please” and “thank you?” Are people not teaching their children simple manners nowadays?

    Kind of related, but the only time I’ve ever yelled at a stranger was on an incredibly crowded train in DC years ago when a group of drunk 20-somethings boarded and this one jerk loudly mimicked a person with a mental disability. He (and his cohorts) thought it was hysterical, but I thought it was highly insensitive. After 15 minutes of it, I shouted at the top of my lungs, “SHUT….UP!!!!” I was furious! Did they NOT think about the other people on the train and how maybe someone might be offended by what they were doing? THINK, PEOPLE! You’re actions affect others! Ugh, I’m angry even thinking about it!

    Oh, and you should hear me when I need to get out of a crowded row of seats. “Um, excuse me, so sorry, thank you, sorry, thanks, excuse me, thank you.” :)

  6. I work in politics, so I’ve experienced more than my fair share of rudeness. Right around Halloween every other year I vow that I’m going to give up my work and start a non-profit called “How to not be a jerk and treat other people like human beings.”
    I just don’t know when it became socially acceptable to act the way so many people do!

  7. I think it goes across all age groups. But definately it seems to be worse for the younger generation. I’m 25 and am ashamed to see so many people my age that are rude. I take public transporation daily and see it happen all the time. I hate it when people don’t get up to give their seats for the elderly or a pregnant lady. Next, the people who play their music on their headphones so loud everyone can hear it, or worse, those that won’t wear headphones. People who shove their way in or out of the train without saying excuse me, etc.

  8. You’re not the only one! One of my major manner pet peeves is when people let a door slam in front of you–when they walk through without holding it for someone who is obviously right behind them. I understand if you’re just in a huge hurry and you can’t check behind you… but these are generally people who are not exactly walking like they have anywhere to be. Maybe I’m expecting to much to think people should go ever so slightly out of their way to be polite (saying “thank you” isn’t even sort of inconvenient, but maybe holding a door open for three extra seconds is), but, dang it, they should!

  9. You’re definitely not! My own mother is a top offender, and repeatedly drives me into a blind rage with her attitude. Take, for instance, the fact that any skill I acquire becomes up for grabs for her to receive freebies. Now, it’s never considered a gift, but an expectation. I recently took up carpentry, and have been building a lot of furniture for my home.

    My mother calls, and begins her sentence with “You know what you can do for me, you can build me an armoire”. Right off the bat I’m peeved, because #1 I don’t just sit around thinking up things I can do for her, and #2 this is a significant (and expensive) undertaking I know she won’t appreciate in the slightest. And I was right. My husband and I go visit them for a long weekend. We work nonstop on this stupid piece of furniture, and have to buy a lot of her supplies. She constantly remarks that, “Well, it’s not what I was hoping for, but it’ll do I guess”. We don’t even have enough time to finish it up by the time we need to leave, so I left it in the hands of my father to finish up. Over the next 3 days I get several irritated texts, like “Did you only buy me that one can of paint? How did you even think that would be enough?” & “You bought the wrong hinges. You were supposed to get the 90 degree angle kind”. I just got off the phone with her, where she waxes poetic on how “I guess it’ll just have to look rustic, it’s not nearly big enough for all I was needing it to do. The doors don’t close and dad put the knobs on crooked.” Did I once, ONCE ever hear a “thank you” for building this massive, time-consuming, ruined-my-entire-week piece from her selfish lips? Yeah, no. Just complaints that it’s nowhere near her standards. Thanks, mom, for setting such a great example on gratitude!

  10. You are definitely not alone. I remember growing up my mom would drill the “thank yous” into me. I was sometimes embarrassed by it, like when we were skiing and she would thank the lift operators EVERY SINGLE TIME we went up the lift. I mean, we just saw the same guy like 5 minutes ago, isn’t once enough! But now that I’m an adult (ha!) I can see why she was constantly on me to thank people who did something nice for me, whether it was their job or not. And I always thank the lift operator!
    I also cannot stand when people don’t hold doors or slide through without touching it! I know you’re scared of contracting swine flu or whatever but goodness – carry some hand sanitizer and get over it! In fact, I recently (quietly) laid into my own husband for doing this to me at a store. In his defense, it was a quick-closing/heavy door and he didn’t realize that I wasn’t holding on to it. But, clearly, this is one of my biggest pet peeves.

  11. Oh man, I am right there with you!! Today I almost lost it over a Lexus SUV parked in a Compact Car space…since when is an SUV a compact car? Sure the space is right up front by the elevator so I get that its prime parking, but when you squeeze your SUV into that spot, it makes all the spots around it much harder to get in and out of!!

  12. This kind of stuff gets to me too! J and I talk about it occasionally and always agree to make an effort to raise our children not to act this way.
    Along with the things you listed I cannot stand it when someone doesn’t signal on the road. I think it’s so rude not to let your fellow drivers know your intentions grrrr

  13. I try and make an effort to be polite and treat people like they’re a worthwhile human being. Smiling at people generally helps as well.
    What really peeves me is when two lanes of traffic are merging into one and someone decides they are too good to wait their turn and drive to the very front and expect to be let in. Argh.

  14. Not alone. I’m a NICU nurse … you’d be amazed at the parents who never utter a single thank you or show any appreciation whatsoever the entire time their baby is with us. In fact, it is so rare that we get SO excited and tend to really adore parents who are, in fact, grateful that we’re taking care of their child.
    (And I hate to say it … this is so uncharacteristically stereotypical of me … but the worst ones tend to be on Medicaid…. not that there’s anything wrong with Medicaid in and of itself, or being on it, but I guess it’s just the typical demographic…)

  15. Obviously, you’re not alone here. I could rant for days, but I’ll share the one thing that makes me blind with rage: when non-disabled people park in the disable parking spots. I have made it a practice to leave any crowbars or baseball bats at home because I can’t even see straight with anger. It’s the epitome of “me first”, in my opinion.

  16. I FEEL YA! One of my biggest pet peeves is when other drivers don’t wave after you’ve let them cut in front of you. Twice yesterday during traffic on a busy street, I allowed 2 different cars to sneak in ahead of me– had I not done that, they probably would’ve been waiting for a long time to turn. And I totally pissed off the people behind me by doing that. Both times, the driver took the turn and didn’t even look back. So annoying!

  17. I am totally with you. I am shocked at how young children really don’t say “thank you” anymore. I was walking with some friends and and adult man and little girl were playing with the ball. The ball bounced past her and came my way. I picked it up for her and handed it to her with a smile. She said nothing and turned back to the adult man. I look at the adult man, and he said nothing either. HELLO! I kept walking and said, “You’re welcome.” If that was my mother she would have stopped and made me say thank you if she did not hear me say anything. I like to see when parents correct their children to say please and thank you to strangers. Sadly, this is not common anymore.

  18. You read my mind with this post – I was literally *just* saying how much stuff like this bugs me. We were at CVS earlier, and *three* different people decided that they were too important to park in parking spots like the rest of us. Instead, they all parked on the curb in the fire lane in front of the store. Soo frustrating.

  19. Oh man, I completely feel you on this one! Obviously, you aren’t alone based on the responses you’ve already received…but I wanted to chime in as well! I can think of so many instances that make my blood boil. I am constantly saying “please” or “thank you” to others…thank goodness my parents brought me up well!

    You know what I really hate too? People with poor driving etiquette. It has happened multiple times to me. Either 1 – I’m following someone to their car in a busy parking lot, and then they take FOREVER to pack up their car/pull out (seriously??? when I see someone waiting for me, I try to pick up the pace)…or even to stir the pot more, they turn the car on and then sit there without moving/decide to make a cell phone call/etc. as I sit there. Or…2 – I am waiting on a spot with my turn signal on and as soon as a car pulls out, another car coming from the opposite direction just whips into the spot! WHAT?! Even when I had my turn signal on and was clearly waiting for it…people are total butt holes.

  20. I’m the same way as you are. I can really get myself all worked up over the rudeness and total carelessness of people at times. And from the looks of these comments we aren’t the only ones. I can’t really imagine too many people would outright say “Oh I don’t have a problem with being rude” or admit that they are and I THINK most people were probably taught manners and want people to use manners towards them. So I’m kind of curious what goes wrong in the equation that there are in fact so many rude people out there.

  21. I feel the same way. I hate when I’m on the bus full of teenagers and then an elderly person gets on and none of the kids give up their seat.

  22. I am not friendly, I am frequently unpleasant to people I know and love…but when it comes to the general public – I’m consistently polite! ‘Please, thank you, you’re welcome, hello, no problem.’ These words take little effort.

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