If you have eyeballs, every few months you’ll see the same article: “Millennials Are Killing the (Fill in the Blank) Industry.”
The stories are always kissing cousins, and they’re everywhere. Right-wing sources, “fake news,” pop culture infotainment… they all like to talk about how Millennials are destroying society as we know it. They’re killing the auto industry, Olive Garden & Applebee’s, capitalism, the housing market…
Millennials are like Covid, only with chin beards, man buns, and microbrew beer.
(“Millennials are killing corporate beer!”)
I’ve never liked nor understood those stories. They’re cheap, and convenient. They point fingers and lay blame, and those actions never solve problems. They make older folk feel better about judging “the kids these days,” which has happened since the dawn of time. I’m GenX, which means technically I’m supposed to hate Millennials, but I don’t. I mean, I dislike the participation trophy everyone’s-a-winner and snowflake-like easily-triggered aspects Millennials have, but I don’t hate them for it. They were raised to be that way, which puts the onus of failure on their parents.
That said, I do enjoy sitting back and laughing at the Boomers and their incessant griping about Millennials. For the sake of fun, though, let’s examine some of the things Millennials have been accused of destroying.
Millennials are killing the auto industry.
How? Because they ride share and don’t buy cars? I lived on the East Side of Milwaukee for years. Finding parking blew goats, especially in winter when it snowed. Suddenly, half the street would be designated a no parking zone so the plows could do their thing. Car insurance is expensive, as is auto maintenance, as is the initial purchase price of any decent car. So, yeah. If I were a young’un today, especially one in an urban setting, I’d probably rideshare, too.
Millennials are killing fast casual dining.
Oh, those damned avocado toast eating hipsters. How dare they not want to eat overpriced, unhealthy food. I don’t eat at Olive Garden, Applebees, Buffalo Wild Wings, or any of those garbage restaurants, either. Why? Because I have functioning taste buds. Beyond that, I’m not sure people choosing better food for their bodies is a Millennial thing. Plus, that story hit two or three years ago. If Millennials were killing bad restaurants, why are they all still around?
(Shit, apparently not even a pandemic can keep dumb people from wanting Red Lobster.)
I could keep going, but you get the picture.
These industries may be going through a period of fluctuation, and that just happens to be occurring during the Millennials rise. Truth is, things change. Hairstyles change. Interest rates fluctuate… The auto industry might be in a jam, but they sure kicked the crap out of the horse and buggy industry, didn’t they? How many saddlemakers went under because of Henry Ford?
Shopping malls killed main street mom and pop stores, and now Amazon is decimating shopping malls. People with an IQ higher than that of a potato(e) are killing the diamond industry, and golf is losing popularity because it’s boring.
Life is survival of the fittest. You’d think humans would know that, but we somehow forget everything as we age. Instead of understanding change, we say, “Kids don’t understand how things worked back in MY day.” As if the past somehow has the apex of society contained within.
The truth is, as they grow older, most people become Assistant Principal Richard Vernon. They think, “Each year, these kids get more and more arrogant.”
The Janitor, Carl, knows better, though. He knows that, “The kids haven’t changed, you have.”
Problem is, introspection is difficult, and pointing fingers is easy.
Oh what a society we could have if people decided to reflect, examine, and grow every so often.