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Is it a new phenomenon?

Thursday, February 16, 2012
Posted in: Azteclady Speaks, random musings

Personally, I don’t think humans as a species can change quickly enough to make the overwhelming sense of entitlement I see all the time a new thing, but I wonder if the degree (that overwhelming part) is encouraged by the sheer numbers of people, the immediacy of social media, and the relatively sudden change from prosperity to frugality in such a large percentage of the population.¹

Over at Dear Author, Jane talked about amazon reducing the benefits of a discount program for new mothers–and having said mothers mounting a protest.

Here’s the thing, though: this is a FREE program, offered voluntarily by amazon. No one is forced to take advantage of it, and amazon is definitely not obliged to offer it. Just like their free shipping on orders over $25.00.

Just like many franchises’ rewards programs.

Not too long ago, the franchise I work for instituted one of these. Customers get a card, they register it online, they swipe it when they buy something, every so often they get free stuff. Sounds like every other reward card out there, right?

This is what I hear from customers²:

I don’t get enough rewards (and I spend all of two dollars a week here, dammit!)

It’s a rip off card (even though it’s FREE) because I don’t get the rewards I want.

I don’t want to register the card online, give me the rewards all the same.

I let my rewards expire, but I want you to honor them anyway.

I only come here once every six months, why don’t I get rewards?

So, what do you think? Is such blatant sense of entitlement a new(ish) thing?

Or is it something that is latent, ready to manifest whenever a group of human beings experiences a prolonged period of prosperity? (think aristocracies–or the so-called 1%)

* * * * *

¹ Please bear in mind that here I’m mostly talking about the US because it’s where I live and, since I haven’t traveled for over two years, the only data I have actual access to–but please do feel free to edumacate me in the comments with your own experiences.
² I’ll spare you my mental responses, but I’m sure you can picture the teeth grinding behind the polite, meaningless smile.


  • That is very strange. i signed up for the program last spring. I was pregnant at 46 and on bedrest from hell. I had to lie down for six hours a day, plus drink two quarts of water, so for four months I was either in bed, or in the bathroom. Shopping was out of the question. So I bought all my baby stuff at Amazon. Was delighted with the Mom Program because I got heavy stuff like a car seat with no S&H. I also continued to get diapers and such there because it’s simply easier. I think it was only supposed to last for three months, but if you spent a monthly minimum they extended it. I never thought it would last forever, and assumed that it was a lure for their prime program which I probably will enroll in. I’ll have to price check, but I think the diapers are still a good deal. Maybe it’s my age, but in my experience most free things are a limited time only deal. I have no expectations beyond that. Free shipping and no sales tax was good enough for me, even if it had only lasted three months. I’m glad I had it for nearly a year, but to me, that was a bonus and totally unexpected.


  • LVLMLeah
    February 16
    4:51 pm

    Maybe it’s not so much a sense of entitlement as it is an expectation created by companies offering these discounts and deals.

    I’d be like no business offering any discounts before Christmas when for years, that’s the standard and what people come to expect.

    No one has forced companies to offer deals. But when they do and and build a business upon certain deals, like the free shipping, then it becomes an expectation based on what the company created to begin with.

    But I’ll admit that having expectations that deals will always be there is just dumb. No company offers deals without something in exchange, YOUR INFO. So bitching about that kind of thing is naive.


  • There is no free lunch. People need to accept that and move on. I can understand letting Amazon know, hey I really like this deal you should do it again. But that entitlement changes it to you better do this deal again or I’ll shop elsewhere. I don’t get it. I don’t think it’s new but it damn sure is annoying as hell.


  • I don’t have the studies at my fingertips, but I believe it’s been pretty conclusively proven that the smaller a price you put on something (and it doesn’t get smaller than free) the higher the expectations people will put on it, and the more they will complain. So that, I’m going to guess, is a huge contributing factor.

    You can see this phenomena in action, somewhat, if you look at, say, Craigslist postings looking for writers or editors. The ones that scream about wanting 500 keyword-optimized articles on the beauty benefits of buffalo sweat facials where every single word must be so original that no human or other animal capable of vocalization has ever uttered something resembling it before inevitably offer fifty cents and a can of expired Pepsi for the whole thing.

    So yeah, entitled personalities would certainly factor into it, but this particular phenomena is something we’re supposedly all fallible to.


  • Lori
    February 17
    5:27 am

    It’s getting crazy in a lot of ways. I mean look at the people who are saying they’d never pay more than $4.99 for an ebook. Doesn’t matter what the book is or the author, they just don’t think they should ever have to pay more.

    Then again… I wish I could refuse to pay the amounts for gas or cable or internet because I want it for less. Seems nobody cares about my misguided wish for entitlement.


  • It’s not a new thing. It’s a disturbing thing, people wanting something for nothing, and I can understand the need to make dollars stretch. I’ve been there and done that…but nobody is required to to GIVE me anything.


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